Juicy Fruit

Blackberries grow on vines? Fig is more than a snack flavoring? In the grocery-store culture of a big city like Houston, lots of kids have no idea where their food comes from.At Matt's Family Orchard in Tomball, both children and adults can pick fruit straight from the source. The orchard's 22 acres are filled with blackberries, jujubes (Asian dates), Asian pears, Asian persimmons and figs. The Matt family also offers hay rides, outdoor games, picnic facilities, campfires and the chance to see wildlife where it's supposed to be: in the wild.

Before fleeing the corporate world, Rick Matt's only agricultural experience was with plants of the household variety. In 1996 he and his family bought 83 acres northwest of Houston and started planting Asian fruits, a not-so-common choice. "Nobody in Houston or in the surrounding area grows for that particular market," says Matt. "I thought this was the way to go, and it appears that's true."

With over 2,000 trees, and more on the way, the orchard is thriving, and it's a perfect place to get in touch with Mother Nature. 21110 Bauer Hockley Road in Tomball. For reservations (which are required for group tours), fruit availability and other information, call 281-351-7676 or visit www.mattfamilyorchard.com. $7 per person (minimum of 15 people per group). The fruit is pick-your-own and priced by the pound. -- Mary Specht


MON 5/12
Fear Factor

If you want your little one to develop a taste for opera, you'd better get started early. Houston Grand Opera's "Opera To Go!" is presenting Daniel and the Dreamcatcher, by composer Sterling Tinsley and Houston librettist Kate Pogue, at Miller Outdoor Theatre. In the work, Daniel lives in fear of the giant he believes has set up residence in his closet. Of course, the little boy would rather be brave than wimpy, and he gets his chance to confront Ogram, the giant, in his dreams. The opera features performances by both real people and puppets, which should keep kids interested. But if they get really bored, they can always run up and down the hill. 11 a.m. Monday, May 12, though Friday, May 16. 100 Concert Drive. For information, call 713-546-0200 or visit www.houstongrandopera.org. Free. -- Cathy Matusow

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