If you are the parent of a picky eater, you’ve probably tried your share of tricks to get them to eat their fruits and vegetables. From pleading and bargaining for them to take just one bite, to carefully disguising healthy foods in your child’s favorite dishes. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a way to encourage your child to make healthy choices on their own? Visiting your local Farmer’s Market might be just the way to make that happen.
Now that summer has finally arrived in Minnesota, local Farmer’s Markets are open for the season. These pop-up markets are the places to go to find freshly picked, in-season produce that is at its peak in taste and nutrition. Unlike produce found in the supermarket, the fresh fruits and vegetables at the local Farmer’s Market have traveled less than 50 miles to reach their destination.
Not only will you be able to find tastier and more nutritious produce shopping at the Farmer’s Market, you will also be supporting your local farmers while saving money on your grocery bill. Did you know that when farmers sell their produce at the supermarket, they receive less than .20 on every dollar? But when they set up shop and sell their produce directly to you, they can keep closer to 90% of the money they earn. This makes it possible for them to price their produce lower and pass these savings on to you!
Farmer’s Markets are growing in popularity across the country, and many farmers also offer baked goods and other prepared foods to complement their produce. You may even discover some unique, handmade arts and crafts for sale.
Make your next trip to the local Farmer’s Market a family field trip. Your child might gain a new appreciation for fruits and vegetables when they get to meet the people that grow them.
Try some of the following ideas to get your child excited about fruits and veggies!
PLAN A MEAL OR SNACK THAT YOU CAN COOK TOGETHER
Search the internet or your favorite cookbooks for a meal or snack that includes locally grown fruits or vegetables. Work together with your child to make a list of the items you need and have your child help you find them at the Farmer’s Market.
MAKE IT A SCAVENGER HUNT
Make a list of produce that is grown locally and send your child on a hunt for these items at the Farmer’s Market. For younger children, use pictures instead of words. And for older children, make it more challenging by using descriptions. For example, tell them to look for vegetables that grow under the ground, or to see how many different types of tomatoes they can find.
TRY NEW FOODS
Tell your child to look for a fruit or vegetable they’ve never tried before. Encourage them to ask the grower questions about it. What is it called? Is it sweet or spicy? What types of things can you make with it?
RECREATE THE EXPERIENCE
When a rainy day keeps you from heading to the Farmer’s Market or when the season ends and they close up shop, encourage your child to make their own market at home. Ask them questions about the fruits and vegetables they are selling and see what they’ve learned from their visits to the Farmer’s Market.
PLANT A GARDEN
Now that your child has a special appreciation for the people in their community that grow fruits and vegetables, show them how to plant and grow their own. There are a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that can be grown at home. Visit your local garden center to learn more.
Shopping at the local Farmer’s Market is a fun family activity that gives you the opportunity to teach your child about farm-to-table foods and to help them appreciate fruits and vegetables and the farmers that grow them! Visit minnesotagrown.com to find out what produce is grown in your area as well as to find out more information about the Farmer’s Markets in your community.