The GGA Project -- Day #254 "Better, Sweeter, Cheaper Than Plan A"

Half the reason I was excited for Monkey and I to spend the weekend at Nicole's was that we'd already be more than halfway to Gilroy and well-positioned to make a day out of what we planned for to do, which was to go to Gilroy Gardens (an amusement park that is supposed to be very good for toddler-aged kids).  And it did work out perfectly--we were down in Gilroy and at the gates to Gilroy Gardens by 12:30 in the afternoon--they open at 11 so we didn't lose much time.  Well, they open in theory anyway.  Unfortunately they were actually closed today, so we never got past the gates.  Five seconds' worth of research on the internet would have told us that ahead of time, but unfortunately I'm made the assumption that the good-for-weekdays coupons I'd printed out online were actually good for weekdays.  Go figure.

Anyway, Nicole was armed with a wonderful back-up plan, which to was revisit a little farm she'd taken the kids to a few weeks ago and which we'd wanted to come along the next time for anyway.  It was down in Watsonville, which--at that point--was only 20 minutes further on.

Today's New Activity: Berry Picking at Gizdich Ranch

Strawberries are in full bloom, so for the bargain price of the $1 carton to take them home in and $1.55/lb, you can pick them to your heart's and belly's content.  We grabbed a bucket each for Maya, Sureya, and Monkey, and got down to business.

First, however, an encounter with a freaky ass bug:

and some beautiful flowers

It was a perfect day for the outing--warm with a nice ocean breeze.

Nicole and I worked very hard at trying to direct the kiddos on which strawberries to pick (no!  NO!  Only the really red ones), and they got the hang of that part pretty quickly.

The only thing that kept the outing from being totally relaxing was a little sign at the entrance to the field that read "Sampling is okay.  NO GRAZING."  My son likes but doesn't unequivocally looooove strawberries when we have them at home, but I'm telling you every single berry he picked from those vines went straight into his mouth before I could even grab it from him.  I don't know if it was the warmth and softness to them after they'd been in the sun, or just the thrill of picking food and eating it fresh, but less than 2 minutes into it he already had a giant red ring around the entire bottom half of his face.  There was no way I could call this "sampling," but I relaxed once I stopped trying to keep the strawberries out of his mouth and resolved to just pay a buck more (thank you Nicole!) at the end to cover the grazing costs.

After the picking we visited the ranch's deli, which smelled strongly and yummily of all the 9 varieties of pie they were making and where we ate what was by far the best boxed lunch I've ever encountered (complete with soft and delicious chocolate chip cookies and freshly squeezed lemonade and apple juice--Nicole bought some cookies and apple juice to go...once was just not enough!)).

And finally, we let the kids run loose in a little grassy courtyard, where they could creep through a tunnel cut through some bales of hay (except that Monkey was too scared to actually go through) and pretend to drive an old, out-of-commission tractor.

An apple fell from a tree they were playing under and almost hit Sureya in the head.  What was there to do but pick it up and eat it?  Which is what they did together.  I LOVED watching the kids have the experience of seeing where their food comes from and grabbing it straight from the source.  It made me want to grow a bit garden and let Monkey care for it.  He's already got the watering down from helping his Nana, and obviously the eating part is not a problem.

Super fun day!!  I can't wait to go back in October for apple picking!  :D