The longest day of the year is upon us–it’s officially summer! This is the time that locavores most closely equate with heaven, farmers’ markets are now brimming with all sorts of goodness. Inspired by a recent market meet-up organized by the Vancouver Forest Nursery group this post is dedicated to letting your kids take a deep-dive exploration of your local farmers’ market.
Simply going to the market is a pleasure trip for the senses. I think I’ve been unconsciously trying to bribe my daughter into loving the market by always ensuring our visit includes some sort of fresh fruit, artisan cheese or baked goodie. Or maybe I’m just sharing the small luxuries that I like to indulge in on market day. Whichever is the case, we’ve already had a few outings where it seemed a good time was had by all, a way better success rate than when she was a baby. And, as inspired by the Forest Nursery folks, there is so much more you can do with even slightly older kids to get them involved in the market experience.
- Market dollars – Let kids be a part of the market economy with a few dollars of their own to spend as they please. Their selections may surprise you, and they might just find the next family food favourite.
- Map it out – For kids (and parents) with a fondness for maps bringing one along to the market is a great way to have children start a conversation with vendors. A simple, “where are you from?”, turns into a conversation about farms, fields and orchards in the surrounding areas all of which can be located on the map.
- Scavenger hunt – Who doesn’t love the challenge of a good hunt? The farmers’ market is a great place to have a scavenger hunt and you don’t need to limit yourself to finding fruits & veggies, the people at the market make great “finds” too. Here’s a kid-friendly scavenger hunt list from Organic Authority to get you started.
With the resurgence of markets in North America and their persistence elsewhere, a visit to a local market can also fit into almost any of your holiday plans. I admit that I’m a bit market-obsessed and don’t feel like I’ve really experienced a place without hitting up the local market, but if you haven’t tried it, please do. You will be sure to stumble onto some kind of sweet surprise and the vendors can introduce you to new tastes and share local lore that you wouldn’t come across elsewhere.
And to finish off, here is some market magic to add to your bookshelves. The beautifully illustrated children’s book To Market, To Market is a necessary addition to any foodie-family’s collection.
Feel free to post and share the chronicles of your own market adventures. We’d all love to know what you discover!
Happy Solstice and happy market hunting!