Farmer’s Market Delights

Genie Davis October 19, 2010 3 Comments


It’s never too soon to introduce your children to a healthy diet. Which sounds boring. Which doesn’t have to be. One of the best ways to show your kids a good time and a good taste of fresh fruits, vegetables, organic cheeses and fun alternative snacks is by attending an old fashioned farmers market. No matter where you live, you must have a farmer’s market somewhere near your home, and no matter which market you go to, you’re going to find some of the same things.

No matter which farmer's market you attend, there's sure to be great produce!

You’ll find: some form of live music. Farmer’s Markets are usually ‘booked’ just like any other venue, although sometimes street performers peddle their musical wares spontaneously. Kids love music and you’ll hear, for free, something your little ones can dance to. As they get older, they’ll enjoy chatting with the musicians who are often performing to improve their fan base in the area. Be sure and encourage your kids to tip the musicians, who aren’t making a living any other way.

You’ll find: fresh flowers. And it’s a sad vendor who doesn’t offer a single, inexpensive bloom per child. We see this kind offer everywhere and it does wonders for business and is a delightful treat. Our kids have been handed blooms ranging from sun flowers to daisies and daffodils in the spring.

You’ll find: fresh fruits and vegetables, in season. It’s an education in taste – with free sampling allowed and usually offered – and sustainability. What time of year do strawberries grow when they’re not imported from half way around the globe?

You’ll find: an organic purveyor of either fish, meat, cheese, or eggs – depending on how large your market is, maybe all three, and usually under the rate you’ll pay at the grocery store.

You’ll find: an environmentally friendly vibe. Most shoppers bring their own, reusable bags. Information booths or vendors often provide literature – including coloring sheets for the kids – about recycling and earth friendly habits like composting.

You’ll find: interesting pre-made foods and household products. More interesting tastes too: items like home made balsamic vinegar, muffins, hummus, organic candies, nuts, vegetable spreads and more are usually sold and samples are free and freely proffered.

Mmm, apples

Here are some of our favorite Farmer’s Markets in a variety of locations:

Oahu- located on the spacious, pleasant grounds of the Kapiolani Community College, this Saturday morning family favorite has plenty of free parking. It also features cooking demonstrations with samples, free coffee (not for the kids, obviously), and wonderful island treats like fresh hot malsadas (Portugese donuts), and shave ice.

Big Island of Hawaii, Naalehu, K’au. Another Saturday morning staple, this is a small town haven with craft makers offering beautiful, inexpensive jewelry, home made soap and perfumes, and photography along with the fruits and veggies. We had vendors show our kids how to make a lei here and explain the difference between native and invasive flora.

Santa Monica, CA – Saturday and Sunday markets are the thing in this upscale beach community just west of downtown Los Angeles. Plenty of ready to eat items including funnel cakes, delicious vegan cobblers, and Middle Eastern treats like baklava and taboule. Excellent offerings of exotic fruits and vegetables, too. A real scene, with plenty of fun people watching and an easy stroll down to Santa Monica’s ocean pier and amusement arcade.

New York, New York – Hard to choose which market to attend here, Brooklyn, Greenwich Village, West or East side. Wherever you go you’ll find lots of music, clothing items and discount goods as well as wonderful prepared ethnic foods including Kosher items and Ethiopian dishes.

Named “Greenmarkets,” and begun back in the mid-70′s, NYC farmers markets run in every borough of the city, and along with bringing in the fresh fruits and vegetables grown outside the city, there are almost always interesting, one of a kind artisan bakery vendors, too.

Washington, DC – Adams Morgan district has a congenial neighborhood market, with lots of home made baked goods with a distinctly Southern feel. The Eastern Market constructed in 1873  offers its wares under a weather-proof and historic roof. Here you’ll find fresh produce and a great selection of dairy products. You’ll also find lunch – famous crab cakes at The Market Lunch. This market runs daily, but it moves outdoors, weather permitting, on weekends. Sometimes arts and crafts vendors join the scene on Saturdays; and in the summer free full-out concerts are run on the corner patio of the market.

Chicago, IL – Farmer’s markets run city wide, and there is a plethora to chose from. Independent markets, city-run, and church sponsored. One of the best is the Tuesday slot outside the Museum of Contemporary Art- a great stop for a little art browsing followed by food al fresco and fresh produce for home.

New Orleans, LA – Sadly the great French  market is mostly just a souvenir selling spot with a few farm stand vendors in between and some killer lemonade that’s almost, but not quite, worth a trip. Luckily, New Orleans has a new and wonderful food vending find Saturdays in the Crescent City Farmers Market located in New Orleans’ historic Warehouse District. The music is maybe the best in the country; there are many food demonstrations by master chefs, plenty of samples, and amazing, if decadent baked goods with a regional bent. Plenty of parking, and if the weather’s bad, the market moves indoors. We also found artists at work and hand crafted jewelry.

Miami, FL – Coconut Grove Farmers Market although we found parking a bit of a challenge. Along with the wide selection of organic produce, there were also wonderful organic cookies, prepared salads with fresh fruit, and interesting offerings of teas and spices. There were also plenty of fresh squeezed juices, an excellent Cuban food selection, and rare finds like fresh ceviche and non-dairy ice cream for sale.

Redondo Beach, CA – Held every Thursday morning starting at about 7am, this bustling Farmer’s Market takes place just South of the Redondo Beach Pier and adjacent to Veterans Park where the Esplanade Harbor Drive and Catalina Avenue intersect.  The vendor stands are lined up along Harbor Drive steps away from the beach and Pier.  There is a wide selection of fruits, vegetables, fresh grown herbs and spices and fresh caught fish.  Coffee addicts will love the gourmet brewed coffee available at a fraction of the cost of Starbucks.  Like many farmer’s markets, there is an abundant variety of home made products like hummus, nuts, baked pastries and other organic delights.

Enjoy the farmer’s market experience with your little ones now – someday soon, they’ll be helping you find the crispest broccoli and carrying their own canvas satchels.

avatarAbout the Author:

Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling.

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3 Comments to “Farmer’s Market Delights”
  1. avatar Santa Monica for Kids - Parks, Museums, Restaurants & Hotels says:

    [...] and yes, puzzles of all shapes and sizes. On Wednesdays and Saturdays a massive morning farmer’s market fills Arizona Street at the northern end of the [...]

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  3. avatar New Orleans French Quarter Attractions: Local-Style says:

    [...] Walk to the French Market. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, this six-block combined flea market and farmer’s market has been in the same spot since 1791. Shopping opportunities are seemingly limitless, from [...]