Go beyond Old MacDonald’s catchy tune to learn more about farms in real life! Get down to the root of things by visiting a local, family-friendly farm. Dig your hands into the earth to plant and harvest food and to taste the fruits of our farmer friends’ labor. Meet and greet animals ranging from camels to alpacas. Make hay while the sun shines (which is year-round in San Diego!) and read on for where to have some good, wholesome fun as a family down on the farm.

Coastal Roots Farm

Coastal Roots Farm

This Encinitas farm offers so many wonderful ways to engage kids in farm life! Sign your little farmhands up for Coastal Roots Farm's After-School Farm Camp where they'll learn where food comes from and how they can make an impact on changing the world. Designed for kids in K-5th grade, young "Farmers-in-Training" will also explore nature, delve into science, get their hands dirty and prepare their own vibrant snacks. Sign up for Farm Camp here.

Additional ways to enjoy the farm: don't miss a visit to Coastal Roots Farm's Pay-what-you-can Farm Stand which is open Thursdays from noon-3 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Here you can buy freshly-harvested organic veggies, herbs, fruit, flowers and eggs. This generous Farm offers those in need up to $30 at no cost through their private check out system, no questions asked. They accept cash, credit, Apple Pay, and CalFresh EBT. Learn more about the Farm Stand here.

Want to visit the Farm virtually or in-person as a group? You can transport your K-6th grade virtual or in-person class to Coastal Roots Farm. Click here for more details.

441 Saxony Rd.
Encinitas, CA
Online: coastalrootsfarm.org

Sugar Sweet Farm

Sugar Sweet Farm

Book an interactive farm tour at Sugar Sweet Farm with up to 8 people. The experience can be tailored to the meet the interests of your unique group and will teach you about the Farm while allowing you to meet the wonderful animals who call it home: miniature sheep and donkeys, goats, llamas, geese, chickens, turkeys, a potbellied pig, and beautiful horses.

Watch this video to learn more about Sugar Sweet Farm and then plan your visit!

Private address in Encinitas; visits by appointment only.
Online: sugarsweetfarm.com

Wild Willow Farm

Wild Willow Farm

Wild Willow Farm is blooming with activities to get the entire family involved in farm life. They offer volunteer days Mondays and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for all ages, as well as educational field trips and tours (must be booked two weeks in advance).

Consider visiting Wild Willow Farm for a field trip to teach kids farming lessons and introduce them to concepts including composting and farm insects. The Farm is also currently working on a series of virtual field trips.

Check their website in Jan. 2021 for information on returning classes such as beekeeping, how to make soap using farm fresh herbs and goat's milk, home vegetable gardening and more.

2550 Sunset Ave.
San Diego, CA
Online: wildwillowfarm.org

Tanaka Farms

Amanda Canton

A trip to Tanaka Farms is well worth the drive to Irvine. We highlighted this locale as one of our 'berry' favorite places to pick strawberries, but the fruitful fun goes way beyond that. The landscape of this Farm's offerings has changed quite a bit due to Covid restrictions, but Tanaka Farms still offers plenty of family-friendly, farm related activities. Check out their website and plan a visit to their drive-thru produce stand, or enjoy visiting their goats on a U-pick veggie wagon ride.

Mark your calendars for Tanaka Farms' Festival of Lights, which begins on Nov. 27.

5380 3/4 University Dr.
Irvine, Ca
Online: tanakafarms.com

Oasis Camel Dairy

Oasis Camel Dairy

A camel dairy? Yes indeed. A visit to Oasis Camel Dairy is well worth the short trip to Ramona––and then you can even head on to Julian to grab some lunch and apple pie. Kids will love going on the Dairy's family and mini-pod private tour where they can canoodle with and learn more about camels. You can add camel rides and feeding the camels to your experience for an additional fee.

Check their website for upcoming details on their Hands-On Camel Camp coming soon.

26757 Old Julian Hwy.
Ramona, CA
Online: cameldairy.com

Summers Past Farms

F.B. via Yelp

A visit to Summers Past Farm is akin to walking into the pages of a story book. From a maze of sweet pea flowers to towering sunflowers, the farm is in bloom and ripe for photo ops year-round. You'll find French hens, kitties, chickens and dogs roaming about the idyllic setting, where herbs, plants and flowers of so many varieties grow. Treat your nose and skin to a visit to their Herbal Soap Shoppe where they sell their own collection of handmade herbal soaps, lavender sprays and hand salves, herbal salves and a full line of essential oils and fragrance oils. 

Mark your calendar for their upcoming Antique & Craft Fair where you can start your holiday shopping on Dec. 5 & 6. from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

15602 Olde Hwy. 80
Flinn Springs, CA 92021
Online: summerspastfarms.com

Bates Nut Farm

Murissa M. via Yelp

Established in 1921 by Gilbert and Beatrice Bates, the 4th and 5th generations of the family-owned Bates Nut Farm still currently run the Farm. A community treasure, this feel good farm hosts festive events for nearly every holiday. Their awesome, sprawling pumpkin patch is the largest in San Diego and their Christmas in the Valley event is a time-honored tradition. Treat yourself to any one of their educational tours to learn more about agriculture, harvesting and about the Farm itself. They also have a farm zoo that's open daily, where kids can meet and feed mini-donkeys, goats, sheep, alpacas and more. Don't leave without buying the amazing homemade fudge and other delights from the Farm's shop.

15954 Woods Valley Rd.
Valley Center, CA
Online: batesnutfarm.biz


––Beth Shea


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