If you’re not the biggest fan of gardening, but your kids love the idea of having their own garden, then a good compromise between the two perspectives is a trip down to your local farmers’ market.
A farmers’ market is a good choice for urban families who may not have any space for indoor or outdoor gardening as well.
Instead of just going down there to explore (which can be fun), planning your trip will help you be able to locate the products you want, set a budget, and visit with specific vendors. Here is how you can get started.
#1. Search for your local farmers’ market.
Most farmers’ markets will advertise on social media. If you search your hometown online with a farmers’ market listing, there’s a good chance you’ll find it. Many advertise on television and radio. If you’re struggling to find something local, talk to the local health services agency, WIC providers, SNAP providers, and other food-based government benefit distribution centers. You can also check the local food directory listings provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a similar institution outside the United States.
#2. Check the weather forecast before you go.
Most markets begin early in the morning when it is still cool outside, even during the summer. As you approach lunchtime, the day warms up. That means your best strategy is to dress in layers for your visit. Checking the weather forecast will help you know if you should expect rain or storms during your visit too.
#3. Ask questions at each vendor, table, or booth.
Many farmers come to these markets as a way to supplement their farm cash income. They’re often busy and don’t have a lot of time for questions. If you arrive a few minutes before the market officially opens, however, you can encourage your kids to ask questions about how the fruits and vegetables are grown. That will also help you be first in line to purchase something. You might need to ask the first question to overcome the instinct to be shy.
#4. Have the kids weigh the fruit, if possible.
Some farmers’ markets have the vendors weighing your produce – make sure the price they give you is correct! If you are weighing your produce, then have your children do it. Then let them know what the price per pound happens to be, so they can do the math about what the final cost will be. If they get the price right, then let them have the change as an incentive.
#5. Cook up something tasty at home.
Once you get home with your purchases from the farmers’ market, prepare a favorite recipe with what you’ve purchased. By using the produce right away, you’ll be encouraging farm-to-table concepts and reducing the risk that some of your purchases may go bad while waiting in the crisper.
Going to the farmers’ market can be an all-day event in some communities, with crafts, artwork, and food vendors all providing something of interest. Plan out your trip today and you’ll be able to create a fun day with your family.