Kids’ Almanac (Nov. 29 - Dec. 6)

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.
– Joseph Chilton Pearce


Winter Sun Farms provides fresh-frozen local produce all winter

With the Hudson Valley growing season behind us, I can’t turn to my local farm for tomatoes or corn anymore. But I need something to balance out the fact that my kids’ mandarin oranges come all the way from China. The solution? Winter Sun Farms!

Winter Sun Farms is everything that I appreciate about eating locally, supporting local farms, saving money and providing delicious, healthful food to my family. But I’ll be honest: The part that I love the most is the ready-to-use frozen convenience. The produce is packaged just like the bags of frozen fruits and veggies that I buy at the supermarket, except that this stuff all grew here! Winter Sun Farms collects harvests from area farms during the growing season, then freezes it for distribution to members in five monthly shares, from December to April. To join in, you just select a pickup location and purchase your share.

I asked Winter Sun Farms founder Jim Hyland about this year’s highlights: “The new jarred local tomato purée, I think, will be a favorite this season. The tomatoes have been wonderful this year. Corn and green beans look great, and we have lots of blueberries!”

How much does all this cost? “We lowered the price this year in order to really grow the share and have more members join us for great local veggies.” This year, the five-month share price for our area is $132, which breaks down to $26.40 per month.

Whether you are new to Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), or you are looking to extend your summer’s CSA membership, Winter Sun Farms is a fantastic experience for kids and families. The food waits patiently in your freezer, so there’s no pressure to finish it before the next installment. And it’s fun to read the labels on the produce packaging, getting to see the name of the farm on which the vegetables and fruits were grown.

Jump right in, though, if you want a share: Pickups for our area begin this week, starting with Kingston on December 1. Local pickup spots include Beacon, New Paltz and Poughkeepsie, and there are even student shares at SUNY-New Paltz and Vassar College. To join or to learn more about Winter Sun Farms, call (845) 255-1699 or visit


Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck revives White Christmas

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is the best-selling single of all time. What are your first memories of this Irving Berlin song? Introduce your kids to this nostalgic tune and more at the White Christmas musical, opening this weekend at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck. White Christmas runs from November 30 through December 16 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets cost $26 and $24.


Rip Van Winkle this Saturday at Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck

If you, like Rip Van Winkle, happen to be waking up from a 20-year nap to read this, here’s what you last remember: Aladdin was the highest-grossing movie; Whitney Houston topped the charts with “I Will Always Love You”; the World Wide Web began its emergence into mainstream culture; and Miley Cyrus was born. You haven’t heard of DVDs or the Hudson Valley Renegades.

Washington Irving wrote about Rip Van Winkle and his 20-year-long nap in the Catskill Mountains, and now you can give your children a chance to delight in this classic tale performed by Center Players on Tour. Part of the Saturday Morning Family Series, this performance takes place on Saturday, December 1 at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $7 for children, $9 for adults. The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck is located at 661 Route 308. For tickets or more information, call (845) 876-3080 or visit

If you’re looking for full-on, pull-out-all-the-stops types of holiday festivities, hold onto your candy canes; this is your weekend! I’m looking at you, Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck and Ellenville!


Celebration of Lights in Poughkeepsie this Friday

On Friday, November 30, it’s Poughkeepsie’s 19th annual Celebration of Lights Festival. The evening begins with a parade at 6:30 p.m. at Main and Garden Streets, ending at the first tree-lighting near Market Street. The parade includes performances by Arm-of-the-Sea Theatre, a large-scale mask and puppet troupe, and Iabas, a traditional Brazilian band. The parade continues down Main Street to Clover Street for the second tree-lighting at Dongan Square Park.

Then, at 7:15 p.m., the area’s only winter fireworks display can be viewed at the Poughkeepsie waterfront, and the third tree-lighting will take place on the Walkway over the Hudson. If you want to watch the event from the Walkway itself, the eastern gate will be open, with a $5 entrance donation required, free for Walkway members.

Then, at 8 p.m., the Bardavon shows the 1985 family film classic Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. Tickets cost $6, but bring a few extra dollars for the collection being taken up for two area food pantries. The movie is preceded by a Mighty Wurlitzer organ concert at 7:30 p.m. The Bardavon is located at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie.

On Saturday, December 1, you’re invited to participate in the free second annual Family Holiday Scavenger Hunt. Registration begins at 1:30 p.m. at Caffe Aurora, located at 145 Mill Street in Poughkeepsie, where you will receive your item card and area map. Prizes will be awarded for completed cards, along with drawings and complimentary refreshments at 4 p.m. at the Derby, located at 96 Main Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, visit


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