Tips For Including Your Kids at The Farmer’s Market
The Farmer’s Market has always been one of my favorite places. Maybe it’s because I come from a family of farmers, but there’s something special about the chance to admire the hard work and talk to growers in person. In fact, a trip to the Farmer’s Market was pretty much the only thing that got me out of bed early on Saturday mornings before I had kids! That’s true love, right?
I tried my hand at growing my own vegetables this year and let’s just say that unlike the growers in my family, I still very much need to frequent the Market. In hopes that my boys will share my passion for all things fresh, I bring them along with me from time to time. My goal is to expose them to new fruits and vegetables through touch and taste so that they can actually see the process of how food gets from a market onto our dinner plates.
They love eating, so the promise of breakfast gets them motivated for our morning adventure. Strolling through the booths, the produce is right at their eye level. It is not unusual for curiosity to get the best of my toddler and he “has to try” something. When it is his idea, he’s much more likely to enjoy, so we both win!
Tips For Including Your Kids At The Farmer’s Market
As you’re browsing, encourage your kids to interact with the vendors and examine the goods. Comment on the texture and the color of the crops and have them gently feel it and use their own words to describe what they think. Toddlers have a way of phrasing things that never gets old. Be sure to ask questions to determine the best pick and if they offer, definitely have a sample.
I love for my boys to spend time with me in the kitchen, so I read a lot about involving them in meal planning or prepping. In putting some of this advice to work, I have discovered that in our house if a kid wants to taste something, I let him do it. If he wants to dump a tablespoon of salt on his eggs (yuck!) or tries to eat raw zucchini, he can try it. If it is his idea, he usually follows through with it. What is really important to me is that he develops a curiosity about food and the way it tastes. This has been such a fun journey to watch!
I also love including them in as much of the actual cooking process as possible.For example, my three year old can make scrambled eggs from start to finish with only my supervision. Exposing kids to a variety of foods, letting them taste things and make their own selections helps them to be familiar with all parts of cooking. At the very least, they will be able to feed themselves when they are on their own. One less thing to worry about in the future!
Having your kids help in the kitchen makes them feel involved in the process and can help familiarize them with fruits and vegetables they may not otherwise try. Take it step further and get them involved in the picking of the ingredients! This might mean a small amount of homework for you; you might have to research how to cook eggplant or figure out what the heck to do with swiss chard, or whatever your little one decides to grab.
It's totally worth it in the long run to help develop an adventurous eater who doesn't balk at colorful foods.
So this weekend, hit one of our fabulous local farmer’s markets and let your kid pick out one or two things that you guys can make together.
This article was a great resource for me on how to involve your kids in the kitchen by age. Pull up a stool to your countertop and see what kind of kitchen magic you can make together!
Photography by Emily Steward for My Stir Crazy Kitchen
The mind behind My Stir Crazy Kitchen, Daisi Owens is an accounting whiz by day and a cooking enthusiast by night. As the mother of two boys, Daisi uses her blog to share easy family meals, sustainable lifestyle tips, and the occasional cocktail recipe for after the kids go to bed. Learn more about what’s cookin’ at mystircrazykitchen.com!