Farmers markets are my family's jam
Shopping in one place to purchase fresh, seasonal products directly from the hands of the producers is my jam. I can think of no sweeter way to start the day than with a morning trip to the market to fill up on farm- fresh products for the week. Making this experience even more delightful is the time spent with my family. My boys are developing a healthy appetite for supporting our local farmers at the market, and I’m hand selecting five fresh lessons for them along the way.
Meet the People. There is no better way to help children better understand where their food comes from than by meeting the people who produced it. And you only need to look as far as behind the booth at a farmers market to do just that! Encourage your kids to engage in the art of conversation, a necessary life skill, by asking questions, making eye contact, and actively listening. Farmers are proud of what they sell and love to share their knowledge.
Fresh is Best. Vibrant red radishes, crisp Swiss chard, vine-ripened tomatoes, and free-range eggs. Food tastes better from a farmers market because it’s sold at the peak of the growing season. Plus, a short commute from farm to market, shortly after being picked, ensures foods keep their delicious flavors and dense nutrients. Your kids will be able to taste the difference, as fresh, and local, is always best.
Taste Testing Approved. The “look but please don’t touch” rule doesn’t apply at farmers markets. Touching and tasting are allowed, assuming permission is granted. Many times samples are offered at booths, but don’t be afraid to politely ask for one if it’s not. Most farmers will be tickled green to have a youth ask for a taste test of the fruits, and vegetables, of their labor.
Try Something New. Picky eaters beware! Kids are more likely to try something new, even green, when they are included in making food shopping choices. Farmers Markets are the ideal place to diversify palates because booths are piled high with bright, colorful, fresh produce, appealing to both young eyes and tummies. Allow kids to pick out new fruits and/or vegetables, and be amazed when they take a bite out of something new.
Let’s Get Cooking. Children of all ages love to help in the kitchen. Work as a team to prepare a farm market-to-table meal using gathered produce by assigning age-appropriate tasks to all helpers. Cooking helps develop fine motor abilities and hand/ eye coordination, improves math and reading skills, and builds strong family relationships. Although the process may require extra clean-up and patience, the benefits outweigh the mess.
There’s no doubt about it, Farmers Markets are definitely my jam, and my kids’ as well. Their preference is homemade strawberry jam topped on a toasted English muffin!
National Farmers Market Week was Aug. 4–10. Support them by visiting a local market to purchase fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, flowers, meats, and other specialty items. Below is a listing of local farmers markets.
SPARTA WISCONSIN FARMERS MARKET
May – October
Saturday 8 – 12 p.m. | Wednesday 3 – 6 p.m.
Mueller Square | North Water St
TOMAH FARMERS MARKET
May - October
Wednesday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Saturday 6 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Gillett Park | E. Holton St.
ELROY’S FARMERS MARKET
April – October Wednesday 3 – 7 p.m.
202 Main St.
LA VALLE FARMERS MARKET AND FLEA MARKET
May – October Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Hartje’s Travel Center, Market & Hardware | S1428A State Road 33
MAUSTON FARMERS MARKET
May – October
Saturday 7 a.m. – sold | Tuesday 2 – 6 p.m.
Juneau County Courthouse
NECEDAH FARMERS MARKET
July – October
Saturday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Village Parking Lot at Fire Station
NEW LISBON FARMERS MARKET
May – October
Sunday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Thursday 2 – 6 p.m.
PITTSVILLE FARMERS MARKET
July – October Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Baum’s Mercantile Parking Lot | 5307 2nd Ave.