By Stephanie Bolmer
As the new year approaches, you may be looking forward to the sweet taste of apples and honey. Strawberry Acres in Coplay has you covered, and for extra fun, you get to pick the apples yourself. Families across the Lehigh Valley enjoy this fall tradition each year, choosing from eight different varieties of apples grown by the orchard. This year, PJ Library will be making the trip out to the farm to learn about Rosh Hashanah.
A working farm since 1820, Strawberry Acres’ farmers work year-round to prepare for the harvest of the different fruits grown there. Apples come into season in September, but sweet cherries, peaches, pears and pumpkins are also available in turn throughout the summer. Marilyn Bair, a manager at Strawberry Acres for over 20 years, explained part of the process. “We have to rent bees [when the apple trees bud],” she said, “because there are not enough bees in nature, there haven’t been in years.”
She also revealed a little secret about how the farmers “trick” the bees into working for them. “In the apple orchard, every sixth tree in every other row is a crabapple. They have the most gorgeous blossoms in the spring, so the bees are attracted to them.” Once a bee has pollinated a crabapple, he’ll fly over to the other less attractive trees nearby. The bees have come and gone for this year, however, and during the summer, the farmers have waited patiently, watching the apples grow bigger and bigger.
Now, the apples are ready and waiting for you and your family to ride the open-air wagon out into the beautiful rows of trees to experience the simple pleasure of picking them with your own hands to take home for your Rosh Hashanah celebration. In addition to the pick-your-own fruit, there are also farm animals to visit, ponies to ride and a “playland” to explore.
And on Sunday, Sept. 18, before discovering all that the farm has to offer, you can join PJ Library in the Johnny Appleseed House, an adorable old-fashioned schoolhouse on the Strawberry Acres property, for a special book-based family program. Rabbi Seth Phillips of Congregation Keneseth Israel will read “Today Is the Birthday of the World” by Linda Heller and blow the shofar. Judy Krazner, the events manager at Strawberry Acres, will teach the children about how the apples and honey sold at the farm are produced. Then, there will be a number of crafts and activities offered at different stations corresponding to the story, which is about remembering Rosh Hashanah as a celebration of the creation of the world and resolving to help the earth and its inhabitants in the upcoming year. The event is free to families, so bring the kids for a day filled with fall fun.
To RSVP for PJ Goes to the Farm, call 610-821-5500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.