You guys. I’m so excited. Our local farmers market is back in swing and we are ready to work it into our weekly rhythm! There are so many reasons that we love our visits and so many benefits we see for our kids. If you’re not already in love with this little slice of heaven, allow me to win you over!
- Where our food comes from. It may seem obvious, but our food grows on farms. Still, in a society where we get most of our groceries from shelves and cold cases (or delivered in compostable bags to our trunk or doorstep), we can miss that practical realization. Farmers markets give our kids a chance to talk to the farmer who grew their veggies, find out how far the farm is from where they live, even grab a flyer inviting them to visit and harvest their own produce! It makes food personal.
- Accepting imperfection. I was that kid. The one that wouldn’t eat an apple if it wasn’t perfectly shaped, evenly colored, and free of dents or scrapes. Because that was a “good” apple, right? The idea that food comes with assembly line uniformity is such a new and harmful perception in human history. It leads to waste of perfectly good food and to consuming produce that undergoes excessive chemical “protection” to ensure it looks store acceptable. The farmers market shows the freshest food in the most natural state, and kids are more likely to eat it (“warts and all!”) when they pick it out themselves.
- Curiosity and autonomy. Speaking of picking things out themselves… my kids are 10 times more likely to eat something they discover and choose on their own. Fruits or veggies that are “weird” when I take them from my grocery bag are somehow “cool” when they sit in heaps on tables in the open air. My kids get to ask what things are and how to eat them, totally independent of mom or dad. Then they joyfully report to us their new expertise and excitedly prep their new food treasures once we’re home. This isn’t just super cute, it’s a life skill and a growing personal identity as a healthy eater!
- Family and community. Lastly, these Saturday morning trips are a great time to be together as a family after a long week. We walk, talk, taste, and observe. We watch other people in our community valuing the same open air, healthy foods, and personal interactions. It makes us feel more connected to one another and to the place we call home.
You love farmers markets too now, right?! Of course you do. Now all that’s left is to grab your reusable bags, give your kids $5 each to choose a veggie, load up in the car or put on your walking shoes, and prepare to enjoy your morning together at your local market! (Ok, also prepare for the usual struggle to get out the door and the possible whining about how hot, cold, wet, or windy it may be …a farmers market can’t solve everything.)