Farm fresh: Can you dig it? Yes, you can!

Fresh berries in Herzogenaurach, Germany

It’s a cliché that one of the best parts of summer is the fresh produce, but it also happens to be true. We had planned to visit a nearby village to get some post-dinner ice cream, but decided to kill some time and amble down a different road.

Dairy cows in Herzogenaurach, Germany

We should have known we were headed for something special when we passed this scene, just a few feet from the car.

As we passed through a small string of tiny villages, we got the sense that we might be in for a treat. And there it was: Rising out of the corn and wheat fields, a clearing with picnic tables, play tractors, hay bales, a small store and acres of produce. The Neidermann farm of pick-your-own produce!

The store was our first stop and it was sensory overload in the most wonderful way. Literally bursting with fresh produce and baked goods, the smell of fresh strawberries permeated the air. Customers were lined up with buckets and containers full of their just-picked choices. We bought some ice cream and sorbet and scouted the area.

strawberry sorbet in Germany

Sorbet made with fresh-picked strawberries? Yes please!

 

Bread and jams at German farm store

Fresh bread and home-made goodness. So hard to choose….

Around back were signs directing you to all the fruits and vegetables that were ready to be picked. The evening we were there the strawberries, lettuces, garlic, mini-cucumbers, radishes, and rhubarb were ready. They even had a chicken coop so you could gather your own fresh eggs!

Pick your own produce in Herzogenaurach Germany

Grab a wheelbarrow and head out to the field!

I expect a mid-summer dance-off between these vegetable divas.

I expect a mid-summer dance-off between these vegetable divas.

Next to the farm store was a park-like area filled with families enjoying picnics and playing games. There was a petting zoo, a fort of stacked hay bales to climb on, a corn crib to play in and open space for soccer and general running around.

playing at the farm stand in Germany

King of the hay-bale castle.

As expected we needed a large box to bring home everything we bought. But in this case, our eyes were not bigger than our stomachs. When it comes to fresh berries and cherries, gluttony is the only option.

Produce from farm store in Herzogenaurach Germany

Our take-home box included berries, cherries, honey, walnut bread, tomatoes and fresh milk.

 

 

 

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A grey day in Zurich

Zurich clock tower

There is no excuse for being late in Switzerland!

When the weather won’t cooperate for another hiking day, that just means it’s time to take in the city sights. Ken has a former colleague who is living in Zurich, so we jumped on the train and headed over to meet him for the afternoon. Though we visited Switzerland last year, we never made it to Zurich, since we spent the majority of our time in the French-speaking western section of the country. In my mind, Zurich was a bit intimidating and imposing. As the epicenter of so much international business and finance, I imagined the entire city like a large bank: cold, shiny and austere. I was completely wrong.

boys in Zurich park

Don’t let the sweet faces fool you. Those boys are filling up the city-provided dog-poo bags with water and whipping them at each other in a make-shift water balloon fight.

Of course, in one afternoon, we only saw a small glimpse of the city, but what we were able to take in was full of charm, history and friendly faces. Our friend David met us at the train station and took us on a short walk through an older section of the city toward one of his favorite restaurants. walking through Zurich The pizza place seemed like a hub of expats, full of young families and groups of friends. Everyone was chatting in various languages, but the wait staff addressed each table in English first, then switched to any number of languages, depending on the response. The pizza was amazing. A crust that was almost phyllo-dough like, topped with all sorts of ingredients, but without a tomato sauce base. Mine was feta, ricotta, honey and rosemary. So delicious! We finished our meal with cafe creme, just right for a drizzly day.

pizza in Zurich

Honey, rosemary and feta pizza. Accompanied by croissants, of course.

But no afternoon out is complete without ice cream, so we walked over to a fro-yo shop. Tangy frozen yogurt with your choice of toppings and a sofa to sit on to watch the world go by–a great way to spend the day. Big thanks to David for being a wonderful Zurich host!

frozen yogurt from I Love Leo in Zurich

Some people like candied nuts, some people like chocolate cookies, and some people like fresh berries.

 

Super scoops: The Neighborhood Ice Cream Shoppe

sample of ice cream flavors at Edina ice cream parlor

Choices for both the old-school and the adventurous.

“Eat it like you stole it, dude!”

That’s what the Husband told a kid sitting on a bench outside the ice cream parlor as we made our way inside. The kid was already covered from nose to chin in blue drips (the Superman flavor, would be my guess). They came inside later and his mom told us that clearly we had given their family a new catch-phrase, since she had now heard it about 20 times in the last 10 minutes.

Spreading joy, that’s what we do. 😉

Always on the lookout for easy, jump-on-the-bike-and-go outings, we ventured away from the Dairy Queen just a few blocks from our house and headed to a quiet corner of Edina, Minnesota to grab a cone at The Neighborhood Ice Cream Shoppe. Any place that spells “shop” with two p’s and an e is suspect, but when ice cream is involved, I’m willing to overlook it.

While the Twin Cities is full of amazing ice cream places (and Izzy’s will always be my go-to for when I want the exceptional) sometimes you just need the basics, with prices to match.

Sandwiched between a Pappagallo store (?) and a dry cleaner, this ice cream shop has a surprisingly large selection of Cedar Crest ice cream, a few frozen yogurts and sorbets and sherbets. They also have pint-size tables and chairs, benches outside and a fast-moving line—perfect for the neighborhood families who stop in after dinner or on their way home from sports practices. Oddly and yet kid of awesomely, you can also get Heggie’s pizza here, so really, a cheaper date night could not be had anywhere else.

photo 4

You’d be hard-pressed to spend more than $3 for a cone, as the single scoop is quite generous. I got a single kiddie cone for $2 and it was plenty. I LOVE places that allow adults to order the kid size. It’s also located on a road that has a dedicated bike lane, so you can off-set the calories with your travel. Perfect combination, in my book.

ice cream cone

The secret to toddler-ice-cream-cone success? The sample spoon!