“Nearly eleven o’clock”, said Pooh happily. “You’re just in time for a little smackerel of something.”
Food is very important at Iron Horse Country. The motorbikes aren’t the only things we need to fuel up throughout the day, after all. And, we’ve come a long way over the last decade in what we offer to our campers and how we do meals. We know we’re scoring big whenever parents tell us that their child “raves” about the lunches or brags that they get to eat as much as they want all day long.
We learned a long time ago how long a child could last on a dirt bike before he or she needed a break (20 minutes) and that the break needed to include not only hydration (a given in Texas) but also a healthy smackerel of something. Simply put, FOOD = SAFETY.
Even during the morning ride time when presumably everyone’s stomachs were still full of an at-home breakfast. Yes, we learned quickly in the early days that not only were there children who actually skipped the morning meals so lovingly prepared by their parents; there were also those who ate at home but burned it all up on the adventure ride to camp. This is how our traditional morning breakfast taco stop at Smokey Mo’s BBQ in Liberty Hill came about. A fun way to feed the younger ones who didn’t eat enough at home and the older ones who can’t ever eat enough. “Fuel ’em up for riding” should be our unofficial motto because we really do this throughout the entire day – from morning until the return home and into the night during Overnight Camp weeks. This is why we provide snacks during ride times. It’s why we evolved from our humble sandwich-making days in the Tank House to full-blown buffet-style hot & cold lunches in our air-conditioned Cafe. It’s why we serve even more food at swim time and after. Our menu gets improvements and changes as we go, but at this moment in time here is how we feed our campers throughout the day, so their energy level stays as constant as possible:
MORNING & AFTERNOON RIDE TIME – Snacks & Hydration
During each group’s 20 minute break from riding, campers can drink chilled water or gatorade, and eat a variety of crackers with and without peanut butter or cheese, with apple slices. And not just any ole apple- cold, Braeburn or Fuji apples! They have just the right mix of sweet and tart and are very crisp, not mealy. Kids love them and actually forget they’re eating, dare we say, something healthy. Sliced by our Coaches right on-site, so no one has to eat yucky brown pieces. Gluten and nut-free crackers provided as requested for those who need these options.
Those who purchase the Meal Plan have a plethora of choices – any or all of it. Still hungry? Come back for more! Really. There is always more available. Brought your own lunch instead? You still get the dessert that everyone gets, and we always tell campers who did not buy the Meal Plan that they are totally welcome to eat our food if they’re still hungry after their lunch, or to try it if they want to see what it’s like. We want everyone to be fed and satisfied. It makes for better, safer riding in the afternoon and a happier camper overall. Sample Menu items:
Hamburgers * Cheeseburgers *Made to Order Sandwiches * Hot Dogs * Corn Dogs * Digiorno Pizzas *Fresh Fruit & Fixin’s * French Fries * Tater Tots * Salads * Chicken Nuggets * Mac & Cheese * Boiled Eggs * Daily Dessert * Lemonade * Water * Condiments
All of our hot foods are cooked or oven-baked fresh on a daily basis. Our sandwiches are handmade and include deli-style meats and cheeses, PB&J or Nutella choices. Sample fruits and veggies include grapes, bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, baby carrots, snap peas, sliced pickles & kosher dill pickle spears. Dessert changes daily, from oversized cookies to ice cream treats, brownies and cupcakes. Condiments include staples such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, ranch dressing and picante sauce.
After riding is done for the day, our campers cool off at the Pool where we serve them chilled watermelon slices & frozen ice pops. We go through one whole watermelon a day and lots of ice pops, in every imaginable color and flavor. Very popular!
SPECIAL SNACK TIME
Swimmers can come on over to the Cafe before the daily video review to get additional snacks that vary by the day and that differ from all else that is offered earlier. Sample options: Gold Fish, Animal Crackers, handmade cheese Quesadillas, fruit, Moon Pies, Rice Krispies, Knutty Buddies, Cheese Balls. There are always at least two choices plus a small cup of soda as a treat, Coke or Dr. Pepper.
FOR THE TRIP HOME
Mr. Turner likes to call this, “In-flight Service”. Campers are offered a snack for eating on the ride home. It could be one of the items listed above or something new. By the time they get home at the end of the day, the kids are tired but very happy.
Of course, Overnight Camp provides two more meals and an additional evening snack a day. Breakfasts are full with choices including eggs & bacon, cereal, fruit, OJ & milk, breakfast sandwiches and sometimes on the last morning, Smokey Mo Breakfast Tacos. We consider dinners to be “Kid Gourmet”, meaning home-cooked favorites with all the trimmings and a different dessert each night. Sample: Pasta Night with choices of spaghetti or penne pasta, choices of red or alfredo sauce, oven-baked garlic breadsticks, fresh tossed salad with choice of dressing and ice cream floats for dessert. Finally, there’s Evening Treat, such as S’more’s made campfire-side.
That’s it in a nut shell. Our campers get well taken care of – feed the body, feed the soul! Or, as Pooh says:
“What could be more important than a little something to eat?”
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