They saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them…so we’ve all decided to go a bit nuts around here! We purchased a nut cracker last year, which never made it out of the box. This year, we had a big crop of walnuts as well as some pecans and heartnuts we purchased from a nut farm we visited recently that were sold in their shell. The children have been having a great time cracking nuts on the back deck. Makes for a reasonably mess free snack…a quick sweep and we’re done!
The nutcracker we purchased, called “Grandpa’s Goody Getter” is very easy for them to use. It automatically sizes the nut and requires very little force on the lever to crack the shells. Even my three year old is able to load the nuts and crack them himself. The black walnuts are a bit more difficult, since the shells are harder and thicker. My five year old cracks the walnuts, with everyone else standing well back to help prevent shards of nutshell hitting someone! The children feel so good about participating in the process. There is something about mining the nut themselves that definitely adds to the allure.
Bringing children as close as possible to food production has wonderful results. My children eat more healthy food directly from our property than they ever would from their dinner plate. Participating in the harvest has an amazing way of making food taste better! It has been amazing to see how trusting them with a bit of responsibility has allowed them to blossom. I am able to step back and watch them help each other. When children feel valued and respected, they are able to value and respect others.