With fall around the corner I still continue to take my kids once a week to the farmers market until the season is over. I live in Denver and plan our destination by checking this website for all the local farmers markets in our area. To find out about farmers markets in your area visit Local Harvest.
Taking yours kids to the farmers market can be a fun outing, but that’s not all. It’s a great place for kids to learn about wholesome foods and what things look like straight from the ground. Markets can teach kids about healthy food, nutrition, math, sustainability, and seasonal eating. It can be a wonderful chance for children to learn about where their food comes from and the people who grow it.
Make it fun
We purchased a beautiful handcrafted basket from our farmers market a couple of years ago and now every time we go to the farmers market the kids take turns sharing and holding the basket. Teach your children that by carrying a basket rather than using plastic bags you are reducing waste and being kind to the environment.
Have a shopping list
Just as you would at the grocery store have a basic list of produce and products you need to buy. Keep in mind you need to be prepared for the unexpected temptations like freshly baked breads, fresh salsa, locally made wine, freshly popped kettle corn, and beautiful arts and crafts.
Before getting out of the car have rules in place. What’s the budget and can kids buy a treat? More than likely you will need cash so be prepared. I allow my kids to take $5 of their own allowance and teach them to make their own choices. “Would you rather buy kettle corn or would you rather buy a necklace?” The choice is theirs — they learn how to compare the items and their prices to find the best value for their money.
Engage the shopping experience
As you visit each stall, point to each fruit and veggie and let your kids take turns naming them. Also have your kids check off items from the list and have them place goodies in the basket. Have your kids talk to the farmers and ask them about their produce and where their farm is located.
Farm to table
It’s surprising to know that many kids don’t really know where food comes from. Helping kids understand where food comes from helps them appreciate fresh healthy foods. Turn your farmers market purchases into a cooking or baking lesson and design a meal and get children involved in the kitchen.
A weekly trip to the farmers market does not have to be a chore. An hour or two is a great shopping adventure that guarantees worn-out, satisfied kids, a well-stocked fridge, and a delicious healthy meal at the end of the day. What’s not to love?
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack is the writer at the award winning blog, MuyBuenoCookbook.com. She also is a professional recipe developer and food writer, and is the co-author of Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor. You can watch a trailer for the book here.