5 Tips for Shopping the Farmer’s Market with Your Kids
Visiting a farmer’s market with your tiny chef is a great way to teach them valuable lessons about food, cooking, and community. Luckily more and more markets are popping up each season, which makes it even easier for families to get fresh, seasonal food on the table every week.
Use these tips to make the most of your family’s next market visit. Check the Local Harvest site to find the market nearest you.
1. Get there early
By arriving pre-10 a.m. you will not only get your pick of the best fruits and veggies, you also beat the mid-day heat and crowds. Our kids get cranky in the heat, so an early morning trip makes for a much more pleasurable outing for the family.
2. Come prepared
A few items to check off your list to ensure a less stressful trip: cash and sturdy bags. Some vendors accept cards, but cash transactions are the norm at most markets. Sturdy bags come in handy after you’ve picked up a few items and are still making your way through the stalls — not only are flimsy plastic bags bad for the environment, they’re harder to tote without the fear of breaking (one less thing to worry about!).
3. Use your senses
If you have some recipes in mind, bring a short list, but let the sights and smells be your primary buying guide. Allow your kids to taste the samples the farmers offer, and select a few favorite to bring home. Once you decide on an item, let them select the best ones of the bunch by smelling and feeling. The farmers can tell you how to pick the best of the bunch!
4. Be adventurous
We all have our favorites (summer tomatoes are a MUST in our house), but be sure to keep an eye out for new or unusual finds. Try to get your kids to try at least one new item each time you go to the market to help expand their palate and knowledge about the wonders of local, seasonal food.
5. Have fun!
There are lots of ways to have fun at the market in addition to sampling all the delicious produce. Many markets offer live music, arts and crafts, and cooking demonstrations to keep the kids engaged during their visit. Let the explore and enjoy!