It’s Spring in the Midwest and that means the Farmers Markets are open. Browsing the Farmers Market stalls on a lazy Saturday morning is one of my absolute favorite summer traditions. There is something about locally grown produce that just seems to make everything taste better – fresher, more colorful, healthier. Whether I’m looking for fresh tomatoes and basil to create a caprese salad or fresh fruit for my homemade peach cobbler, I’m sure to find the best quality ingredients at a Farmers Market. But often the best finds are the items you weren’t specifically looking for. An unusual chili, for example, might inspire me to try out a new taco recipe. Or I might come across some yummy looking artisan cheeses that would be perfect for that Mom’s Night Off party I’ve been meaning to organize. (Note to self: Get those invitations out!)
Another reason why I love Farmers Markets is that they’re a fun, relaxing way to spend some quality time with my kids. We have a great Farmers Market in our town that is kid and pet friendly. Each stall has water put out for dogs and many provide samples for the kids. They even provide music! On Saturday mornings, our family has a fun routine where we first walk to the local coffee shop, because to quote Ralph’s World – “M-O-M-M-Y Needs C-O-F-F-E-E.” Then we walk the dog to the Farmers Market where we get fresh ingredients to try out a new recipe we’ve found. We’re together, outside in the sunshine, discovering new foods, promoting local farmers, and exercising. That’s almost an overload of family goodness, but we deal.
The trip becomes an adventure since each week there is usually something new to see. A new artisan bread, homemade pasta sauce, herbs, fresh flowers, produce, and we even have a guy who sells Buffalo Steaks. My kids look forward to this adventure so much (especially my son who loves the Pickle Guy.) So, to get my kids even more involved in our fresh food shopping, we got them each their own
It was designed by a Mom to encourage children of all ages to become more involved in their food decisions, and it includes everything you need to buy, clean, prepare, and eat your Farmers Market produce with your family. The included booklet shows kids where our food comes from on a beautifully illustrated map of North America. It even shows kids how to clean fresh produce.
What the kids like the most though, is that they get their own reusable shopping bag to carry home the items that they pick out. That way my son can keep his pickle juice in his bag and not mine. Somehow they eat their vegetables a little more enthusiastically when they picked them out themselves.
Have an adventure this weekend and take your kids to the local Farmers Market. Come back and tell us what they liked the best. Happy Shopping!
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