As their bright yellow school bus turns onto the lane to our farm, the children are abuzz with anticipation for the day’s field trip. Giggling and smiling, the first-graders climb up the wooden steps onto the wagon and set off for a tour of the fields. Standing the fields, a gentle breeze rustling the tall, drying corn stalks, they learn about the harvest of corn and soybeans. After the combines take the corn and stalks, row by row, off the field, winter wheat is planted and will be green all winter long—even under the snow! The tour wagon returns to the barn, and the kids pat the cow statue as they head upstairs. Sitting criss-cross applesauce on a large blue rug, the kids guess the main ingredient in various household items – all the way from toothpaste to ranch dressing. The adults in the room chuckle when one child shouts out “SOYBEANS!” as the main ingredient in corn flakes.
We then act out the story of the little red hen while mixing the ingredients for corn bread. To keep them involved, each kid gets a beanie baby animal that is to say the sound each farm animal makes. Cows, pigs, horses, and also giraffes, tigers, and sea lions find their way into the children’s small hands. There are more than enough beanie babies for everyone from my youngest daughter’s beloved collection. A bewildered look crosses the face of the kid that gets the fish, as he’s not sure what sound to make. “Dove, dove” says a girl when handed a dove beanie baby, as she seems to think this is what a dove says. After each child is holding an animal, we proceed with the story of the little red hen. The room fills with a happy cacophony with the kids all making the sound of their animals refusing to help the little red hen.
At Cinnamon Ridge Farm, the little red hen story takes a different twist. While the beanie baby animals have to learn a lesson, each kid gets a piece of warm, fresh golden corn bread and a glass of ice cold milk at the conclusion of the story. After finishing this delicious snack, the children race out to the hayfield where each child gets to pick his or her own pumpkin to take home.
If your mouth is watering for fresh cornbread, but you’re too old for a school tour, don’t worry! Cinnamon Ridge offers customized tours to all ages. Book a tour today at www.tourmyfarm.com. If you don’t have time for a tour, stop by our self-serve country store at Cinnamon Ridge, stocked with fall goodies, along with our award-winning meats and cheeses. You can also check out our products at the Freight House Farmers Market, the I-80 Truckstop, and North Scott Foods.