17Nurture your child’s green thumb and put them in the capable hands of Louise Hassen who’s been designing garden plots for tots with the Children’s Garden Company since 2002. This season she’s trying something new: a gardening club. With a membership, kids get a 4′ x 8′ patch of dirt on a historic farm near downtown Sonoma. During two-hour weekend visits throughout the summer, Lassen will guide the kids in composting, planting, and harvesting as well as caring for chickens and rabbits on the farm. Parents are welcome to stay and garden with their kids, or go and enjoy some free time in wine country. Besides know-how and fresh veggies, kids will go home with farm-fresh eggs and honey from the farm’s hives. And they can donate any extra food they grow to local food shelters, or sell it at the farm’s roadside stand. Besides the obvious pluses of tiring out the kids and saving a few bucks in fresh, organic vegetables, giving your kid a productive summer on the farm makes for a pretty wonderful gift.

P.S. Here’s something to get you off the fence: the first five families to
sign up this year will have their membership fee waived.

Children’s Garden Company
900 Petaluma Blvd., Sonoma
annual membership: $250, plus $40 per two-hour weekend visit.