Long weekend in Harrisburg, PA – Fun at Paulus Farm Market

For our long weekend trip while Chris’s parents are in town, he chose Harrisburg, PA. Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania, but it’s also close to two major tourist sites — Hersey’s Chocolate World and Gettysburg, which is where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous speech called the Gettysburg address during the Civil War. In addition, given it’s an area in the middle of Pennsylvania, I knew there would be a lot of farms and markets to potentially visit, which would be a good opportunity get Kaia out of her usual concrete jungle and be “one” with nature and the animals.

We spent some time this afternoon at Paulus Farm Market, which is part produce/flowers/fresh food market, and part animal farm. There’s a small admission fee to enter the animal and play area, so we paid an extra $2 to get a bag of vegetables to help Kaia feed the animals. There were a good number of animals at the farm, including different species of goats, chickens, cows, ducks, and pigs. Kaia was a little scared initially to feed the chickens, but when we got to the smaller pygmy goats, she finally warmed up to them, likely because they were smaller, and was happy to feed them lettuce. The farm also had this huge tractor that was converted into a tractor/tunnel slide that Kaia was very fascinated with. She loved sitting on the tractor seat and turning the steering wheel over and over.

I love watching Kaia with the animals. Her little sweet giggles after a goat snatches her offered piece of lettuce or her little jumps and squeals while feeding really warmed my heart. I especially loved it when the goat would take her food, and she’d immediately turn to me and ask, “More? More?!” Of course, a big reason we want to take her to places like Paulus Farm Market is so that she will have different experiences that are outdoors, but another reason is that I want her to be comfortable with animals and know where food really comes from. When you grow up in a city like San Francisco or New York where people mostly buy their food from the local grocery store, you are so far removed from the food production process that you don’t realize that real people actually have to work the land and feed the animals that ultimately contribute to what’s on your plate. I still remember when my cousin got mad once (as an adult) when he bought some green vegetable and found a dead bug in it. He was extremely angry and talked about how “dirty” the food was; he ended up throwing this produce away! I told him he was being insane: it should actually be a good sign when you see dead insects in your fresh produce because it probably means the produce was worth eating (for them), and perhaps even had less or no pesticides!

Kaia is already a relatively good little eater, but the more she understands about food, the more she will hopefully appreciate the world’s variety of food and be open to trying and eating even more things.

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