Visiting a farmer’s market has become a weekly must-do activity for many families. Not only is it the perfect place to stock up on healthy foods, but it can also be a great educational experience for your little ones. Jenna and her husband, Daniel, have chosen to take full advantage of their proximity to their local farmer’s market by turning it into a family affair with their two sons, Oliver (age 3) and Atlas (15 months).
What do your Saturday mornings usually look like?
Typically we wake up and head over to a local coffee shop and where we grab coffees and chocolate milks, and then walk over to the farmer’s market. We usually make our way towards the strawberry stand first, then possibly pick out a new houseplant or bouquet of flowers, see what’s newly in season, grab a bag of kettle corn and a couple of tamales, and find somewhere to sit and feast on our finds!
What is your favorite part about taking your kids to the farmer’s market?
My absolute favorite part is seeing Oliver’s curiosity over the different foods. Constantly he is asking me, “What’s that!? What that!?”, which sparks so many conversations and learning opportunities for us. Atlas just wants to eat everything he sees, which isn’t a bad thing at the farmer’s market!
Is there anything in particular you hope your boys will learn while you’re shopping?
It’s pretty rare to pay with cash nowadays, so we try to do so at the farmer’s market to give the boys a tangible sense of how money works. I love helping Oliver be in charge of making the purchases. In addition, farm culture is a large part of our community, so exposing them at a young age to the process of planting, growing and then the joys of purchasing and eating the locally grown produce is a wonderful benefit we all enjoy.
What are Atlas and Oliver’s favorite part about Saturday trips to the farmer’s market?
Besides feasting on kettle corn, it would probably be the routine of it. It’s a special time that we get to spend as a family, where we all get to eat yummy (and healthy!) food and enjoy each other’s company.
Are your kids picky eaters? How do you get your kids to try different fruits and vegetables?
They aren’t that picky, which I’m so thankful for because I was a very picky eater growing up. I try to respect that there just are some foods that we individually don’t like and try not to push them. Oliver isn’t a fan of the texture of leafy greens and Atlas doesn’t care for the skin on his apples/peaches/nectarines (and the good thing is that all of these can be sneakily put into smoothies and go unnoticed).
Do you have any tips for moms who want to introduce their kids to new foods?
If I’m introducing a new food, I often try to have Oliver help me prepare it in the kitchen. He helps me wash it, cut it, season it, and all the while I talk up how I want dish to hurry up and be ready because I’m so excited to eat it! It helps get him not only familiar with the new food, but also gets him eager to try it. If he’s not able to help out in the kitchen, I just put it on his plate and try to relate it to a food he already knows and likes such as, “Oh, that’s cauliflower. It’s just like broccoli, but isn’t it so funny how it’s so white?!”