Summer is the perfect time to visit the Farmer’s Market, especially with kids in tow. My good friend Leslie from Life in Every Limb breaks this monumental task into bite sized pieces in this week’s installment of Screen-free Summer Life Skills Bingo.
I haven’t been to the Farmer’s Market in years, but it’s not for lack of trying. I love meandering slowly through the stalls, eyeing the gorgeous fruits and vegetables and chatting with the vendors. The problem is my kiddos – I haven’t figured out how to keep their attention long enough to make a trip enjoyable for all of us. Leave it to my friend Leslie, though, to come up with a plan. Read on for her fantastic take on visiting the Farmer’s Market with Kids!
My mother used to take us with her to the farmers’ market when I was a little girl. This is how I remember it:
We’d drive into a big warehouse on the way home from church. We’d stay in the car while my mother got out to shop. Through the windows we’d catch glimpses of old men in overalls offering their wares. After a long and boring wait my mother would come back, her spoils in brown paper bags, and we’d drive away, the sunshine outside blinding us as we left the stuffy dimness of the market behind.
It wasn’t a whole lot of fun, although we liked the vegetables. The farmers’ market my girls and I visited recently had the vegetables and much more. Even better, it was outside in the sunshine.
On Saturday, Lorelei, Emily, and I drove downtown, with the express purpose of teaching Lorelei the basics of shopping at a farmers’ market. This isn’t the only location or even the closest for us, but we wanted to spend our morning in the location of Knoxville’s original market (pictured below)
Here are the lessons I wanted Lorelei to learn:
PREPARE BEFORE YOU GO
The night before, I checked out the market’s website to find out what time it opened and we made plans for what time we wanted to be there and when we would need to get up to achieve that! In the morning, we stopped at the bank to make sure we had enough cash. After we parked, the first thing we did was locate a bathroom so that we would not have to worry about that once we started shopping.
LOOK AT EVERYTHING BEFORE MAKING A DECISION
We started at one end of the market and walked all the way to the other end without buying anything. Along the way, we made mental notes of the things we wanted to come back to. I also compared prices and conditions of various vegetables as we made our way along.
TALK TO PEOPLE
Part of the fun of a farmer’s market is talking to the farmers and artisans. I had conversations about reseeding of zinnias and propagation of coneflowers, about recipes, about the proper storage of fresh eggs and cornmeal.
HAVE SOME TREATS
On this visit we sampled strawberry tea and french toast bread. I hope to come back to sample more!
ENJOY UNEXPECTED PLEASURES
For Lorelei, this would be the many different breeds of dogs she spotted. For me, it would be all the buskers on hand, from a dread-locked young fellow with an accordion to the old man with the violin, there were many on hand today providing back ground music for our shopping excursion.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
I always like to get at least one vegetable I’ve never prepared before. This time it was an eight-ball squash, which I was told I should stuff. Emily found some new soaps to try.
For one thing, you can’t buy every single thing you like, no matter how much you might want to! So after walking through the whole market, we discussed what we were going to buy, and then went back and bought just those items. Having this discussion helped us stay on track and prevented us from forgetting things. This also applies to choosing the best available varieties of whatever you decide to purchase. So I knew I wanted kale, and I made sure we returned to the stall that had the freshest kale and the largest variety (we got red kale and dinosaur kale). Likewise, we chose the green tomatoes that were largest and hardest from among the many offerings available.
I explained to Lorelei that you can never be sure what you’ll find at the Farmers’ Market. What you want may be sold out (we ended up buying medium eggs, for example, instead of large) or it may not be the right time for it yet. Not knowing what will be at the market for sure makes it different from the oh-so-predictable grocery store, but it also makes it an adventure!
Did you enjoy this installment of the Screen-free Summer Life-Skills Bingo? Grab your bingo card and play along!