On a lush summer day last year, Nancy Sands of Petaluma, California, took a tour of Mt. Barnabe Farm in nearby West Marin. There, she saw deep magenta raspberries and midnight purple black-berries bursting forth from their thorny vines.
The tour did more than whet her appetite—it ignited a sense of gratitude toward food. "After learning what it takes to grow organic crops, I saw food in a different way. I appreciated it more," she says.
Taking a farm tour not only introduces you to people who grow food but also teaches you what grows in your region and when it's in season. From Golden Earthworm Organic Farm on Long Island, New York, to Marin Organic in Marin County, California, tour guides explain how small farms operate, how crops are cultivated, and, in the case of a dairy, how cows are milked and cheese is made.
You might even discover surprising parallels between yoga and the farm you visit. Just as yoga teaches you to become aware of how your body changes on a moment-to-moment basis, so visiting a farm shows you how nature does the same. "You get to observe the cycle of life, death, and everything in between," says Helge Hellberg, Marin Organic's executive director. "By the end of a tour," Hellberg says, people learn to make wiser food choices "because they know more about where and how it's grown. They understand that food really matters."
To find a farm tour in your area, visit growingformarket.com.