Tulsa Farmers Make it Fresh: Tips for Taking Kids to Farmers Markets and Three Fresh Recipes!

Caribbean Salsa, Blueberry Crisp and Herb Roasted Potatoes

My kids have been going to the farmers’ markets since they were babies.

When my twins were little, a trip to the market was just as much a chance to show off the babies as it was a place to buy eggplant and tomatoes. By the time my son came along, I still managed to make it to the market, sometimes wheeling around a cumbersome triple stroller. Dog watching kept them busy while I worked my way through the crowd.

The Saturday Cherry Street Farmers’ Market is our first choice, but we also love the Brookside Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays. The exciting thing is the number of options around town when it comes to farmers’ markets. It wasn’t that long ago when there was only one game in town – the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market, which remains the queen of local produce and freshly made food.

My kids know the difference between a radish and a beet because of the time we’ve spent at the markets. I’m hoping this early initiation will culminate not only a love for food, but an appreciation of what it takes to get the food on the plate.

A lot of parents I know strongly believe in passing their appreciation for the farm-to-table concept to their children. Sure, many of us also lean on bags of frozen mixed vegetables for weeknight dinners, but we want our kids to know that the carrots in that plastic bag were once in the ground covered with dirt.

For young minds, this is a profound – and really cool – concept. Take it a step further, and introduce them to the farmers at the market. This is something my friend Catherine deCamp has done with her daughter, 11-year-old Caroline.

Caroline is a Cherry Street Farmers’ Market regular who has true friendships with the vendors and farmers at Cherry Street. When they see her coming, they chat about food and life. Catherine and Caroline spend an hour or two nearly every week at the market, talking to friends and doing their primary grocery shopping.

Catherine’s advice to parents: Make it fun.

“Make the farmers’ market an adventure and an outing instead of just food shopping. The food at the farmers’ market is beautiful. Teach your children about real food. Try new things. They’ll be anxious to go back and get something else the next Saturday,” she said.

Caroline knows exactly where her food comes from, and she seeks out the freshest and best produce from her farmer friends. Not surprisingly, this is a child who doesn’t have to be asked twice to eat her peas.

If you’re not into cooking and farm-fresh food just isn’t your thing, there are still plenty of reasons to make it to one of the markets. Gardening vendors, crafts, soaps and other odds and ends are aplenty.

Pick up the ingredients at the market, and then come home to make this kid-friendly salsa. It’s great with chips or pita.

Caribbean Salsa

• 1 large ripe banana, peeled and chopped
• 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
• 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 roasted jalapeno pepper
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Few grinds of black pepper
Combine all ingredients. Cover and chill for 2 hours before serving.

Blueberry Crisp

Farm-fresh blueberries are delicious in this basic crisp.
• 9 cups fresh blueberries
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup light brown sugar
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Stir together sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, then toss with berries until coated.
Spoon mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Streusel Topping:
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups uncooked regular oats
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1/2 cup butter, melted
Combine flour, oats and brown sugar. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Spoon streusel mixture over berries.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden.

Herb Roasted Potatoes

Pick up the potatoes and herbs at the market for this simple side dish.
• 2 pounds red new potatoes, halved
• 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
• Coarse salt and pepper, to taste
• 1/4 cup onion, diced
• 1/2 onion, sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
  1. Combine all ingredients except garnish into a large bowl. Mix well to coat potatoes.
  2. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden and tender when pierced.
  3. Garnish with rosemary and thyme sprigs.
Categories: Food