A grocery store with no carts! Try the Farmer’s Market with your kids!
Trying something new is only one of the benefits of taking your child to the local Farmer’s Market!
Looking for something to do this coming weekend? One of my favorite Saturday activities will begin again this week. The local Farmer’s Market will open and I will be there with my cup of coffee in hand exploring the spring vegetables, tasting some great food, looking for my favorite homemade pasta, and probably picking up some baked goods. They have to be healthier there right? Going to the market just makes me feel healthier!
The Farmer’s Market is a great place to introduce your children to fresh fruits and vegetables and local eating. Developing healthy eating habits for your children is much easier when they are exposed to new and different fruits and vegetables and can actually talk with the people who grow them! There is something about the bright colored booths and the baskets of produce that just makes kids want to try something new. Striking up a conversation about the produce with the farmers and asking questions about their farm helps kids to understand what farm fresh is, especially for those of us that really are “city folk”. You would be surprised how many children really do not know what a fresh peach looks like, or that carrots actually grow in the ground and don’t come out of a bag all washed and trimmed!
Kids are so much more likely to try those sugar snap peas, the tender new asparagus, or radishes if they learn a bit about them, shop with you at the Farmer’s Market, take them home and help prepare them and then try them together!
Activities for kids at the Farmer’s Market
- Create a little hunt….ask your children to find a purple vegetable, a vegetable that grows in the ground, a fruit or vegetable that they have never tried. Make it fun! Talk about the different fruits and vegetables that you see and how they are grown.
- Purchase one new fruit or vegetable. Take it home and prepare it for dinner that night. Your child is much more likely to try that veggie after helping to pick it out at the market and learning a bit about it than just plopping those vegetables down and saying “Eat your veges!”
- Give your older children a little money and let them buy a food of their choice. Nothing is more fun than picking out your own treat….
- Help your child make a list of questions to ask the farmers. What kind of chores would a child do on a farm? Do they have animals? How long does it take to grow the fruit or vegetable you are buying? Introducing your child to local farmers brings a connection to where their food comes from….and it isn’t the frozen food section at the grocery!
- Many Farmer’s Markets have kids’ activities, music, and food items that groups are cooking. Plan to have breakfast or lunch there.
There are many local Farmer’s Markets in the area.
http://aroundindy.com/farmersmarkets.php This website will help you find one that is closest to you in the Indianapolis area. http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets will help your find a market if you live outside of the Indianapolis area.
So, what will I be shopping for when I head to the Farmer’s Market this next week?
- My favorite spring vegetable is asparagus. It contains a mere 44 calories per cup and is full of Vitamin K and Vitamin A. It even packs 4 grams of protein. I love to roast it in the oven with a little olive oil and seasoning.
- My newest favorite spring vegetable is brussel sprouts! Cut them in half, toss them in a little olive oil salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven at about 400 for 30 minutes. (sprinkle a little bacon bits on them too before roasting, not real healthy but real good!)
- I will look for sugar snap peas. Kids love these and they are one of the earliest spring vegetables. Let your little one eat them raw. They are a great source of Vitamin C and are an easy snack.
- Leafy lettuce just tastes better when bought in season and fresh. All lettuce except the traditional iceberg head lettuce is full of antioxidants and is a good source of Vitamin A.
- Spring is the perfect time of year to find fresh spinach. It is a cool weather vegetable and I think tastes so much better when it young and tender. Besides it is Popeye’s favorite!
- Scallions or young green onions. Add a little flavor to your life!
- Radishes are great on salads and I love them with just a little salt.
- Rhubarb and strawberries are my favorite spring fruits. I guess rhubarb is a fruit?! Rhubarb is tart and wonderful in a crunch or this muffin recipe courtesy of my sister, and of course strawberries are wonderful any way you like!
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup oil
1 beaten egg
2 tsp vanilla
In a separate bowl, mix. Stir in dry ingredients until moistened.
1 ½ cups diced rhubarb
½ cup nuts toasted and chopped (optional)
Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full
¼ cup sugar
1 T butter melted
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp flour
Combine and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Taken from the Simply in Season Lind and Hockman-Wert
Head to your nearest market, grab a cup of coffee, and enjoy the sights and tastes of spring. Connect with your community and go home with some tasty and healthy food for the week ahead. Farmer’s Markets are a wonderful experience for you and your kids and you will be encouraging healthier, seasonal eating for your family!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.