One of our favorite things to do as a family is to visit our local farmers market. The farmers market is not only a feast for the eyes, but it’s also a learning opportunity for children to get acquainted with local farmers and to find out more about where their food comes from.
Visiting the market together not only gets my kids outside (and away from the screens), but it also has been a great way for us to bond. We look forward to the bountiful summer produce and the chance to learn new things.
Here are a few valuable lessons I have taught my kids at the farmers market over the years.
Learn About Food Varieties
There are many different varieties of fruits and vegetables out there, and it can be hard to choose what you need. I plan with my children what dishes we’ll prepare with our purchases, then ask vendors for recommendations about which variety we should pick.
For example, is there a difference in taste if we eat a purple potato versus eating a red one? If we are baking, should we use brown or white eggs? These questions help us learn more about the tastes and textures of the food as well as why these items come in such different hues. It’s also a great way for kids to practice talking to grown-ups and learning about the give and take of conversations.
Learn How to Manage Money
The farmers market is a great place to teach kids about money and how to manage it. My family sets a budget to see how many delicious items we can purchase for the week. You can let the kids pay for the food. Give them a calculator to help them manage their money and transactions, or give each child a budgeted amount of money to spend on an item of their choice. This is a great place to practice budgeting skills which is something they will definitely need as they get older and begin to set out to the market on their own.
Step Outside of Comfort Zones
For us, the farmers market is all about trying foods that we wouldn’t have ever tried before. Where else can you get such delicious options all in one place? Have each of your children pick one new fruit or vegetable to try, and taste test as a family to share new food options.
Make it fun and have kids vote on their favorites, then let them research how to incorporate new favorites into a meal. We have found that YouTube can be a great resource for finding new cooking techniques and learning more about how to use unusual fruits and vegetables in recipes.
Discover the Community
Supporting local farmers and local businesses is a passion of mine, and I’ve found that the farmers market is a wonderful place to teach kids about community. It’s a great place to demonstrate how important it is to support our local friends and how our purchases can have such a positive effect on our community.
Conversations with vendors and farmers show the beauty in connecting with real people through real food. These types of experiences really showcase the importance of these bonds and also show how dollars can benefit your town. What could be better than that?
Try New Recipes
Once you select fresh ingredients at the farmers market, there is more fun to be had. Try a few of these simple recipes that will get your family to try new things and enjoy time together cooking.