My family really enjoy our Sunday trips to the Rhinebeck Farmers Market, upstate NY, where we spend every weekend. Miles Storm especially loves the experience, having visited the market with us since he was born, it is something he gets very excited about. This past weekend he particularly enjoyed tasting some of the produce. First he tried zucchini, then he tried apples and lastly he tried carrots. It was hilarious to watch, people were in stitches laughing at his antics.
Children can learn a lot from a Farmers Market, it is abound with endless knowledge, it is also a super-fun outing and a wonderful learning opportunity. Here’s why.
Identifying Different Foods
Attending a fun outdoor market and pointing out different foods to your children can lead to further discussion about all kinds of wonderful things like what meals you can make with that food, what color the food is, how to spell the name of the food, what time of the year the food grows, the health benefits of eating the food etc. Knowledge is power, and a child being familiar with the natural foods around them can only encourage healthy eating habits.
Different Seasons Produce Different Foods
Tomatoes in April, Blueberries in November – I do not think so. Different seasons and weather patterns produce different foods, and a Farmers Market is an exact reflection of this. Children who make regular visits will learn about the natural availability of foods, compared to what is purchasable in the supermarket all year around. Learning about this at a young age can help to establish the important practice of buying local seasonal food when possible, thus ensuring that there will continue to be farms in our communities providing future generations with nourishing, flavorful, and abundant goods.
Meet Your Local Farmer
Being able to meet your local farmer face to face opens up conversation to any crazy out-there question a child may have about the food production and origin. Also, by putting a name to a farmers face, we can help children to really understand why it is important to buy local. Farmers who sell direct to the public cut out the middleman and get full price for their food – Woo Hoo imagine that! This means farm-families can earn more money and have a better chance of affording to stay on their property; rather than being pushed to closure by bigger corporate companies. Love that! In addition, food produced/grown closer to where one lives has less impact on the environment in the way of not having to fly/truck in other food from interstate or overseas, which uses copious amounts of pollution causing gas.
Difference Between Organic and Conventional Farming – Most of us know that eating organic is better for us, right? Conventionally raised foods are sprayed with toxic chemicals in the form of pesticides, which have been blamed for all kinds of horrible conditions like cancer. I hands-down believe this is why so many people are sick in our world today. Because of this, my family only consumes organic foods when we can. The Farmers Markets generally offer both organic & low-sprayed food, and being able to talk to your children and point out the differences at a young age can prepare them to be able to make healthier choices in the future. An educated choice is the right choice I say.
Different Ingredients Needed to Make Meals
What a fun vibe to take an already chosen recipe and walk around the Farmers Market picking out the food to make the meal when you get home. Likewise, you can also teach your children how to recognize if produce is ripe, or not, by smelling and feeling. Another great idea is to choose a dish from an unfamiliar country and voilà you have added a cultural element to the experience. Starting this activity from scratch is an adventure which encourages creativity and builds self-confidence.
So, there you have it, some great ideas for the next time you visit a Farmers Market. Thanks for reading!