Thursday, June 1, 2017

Farmer's Markets: Fresh, Local, Seasonal, Delicious

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Farmer's Markets offer the opportunity to not only meet your local farmer and find amazing farm fresh produce, but to make a conscious consumer decision to support local agriculture. Purchasing directly from the producer whether farmer, butcher or cheese maker is a return to the original way food was obtained. It was only 100 years ago that the first self service grocery store opened its doors in the streets of New York. Whether young or old, an open air market awakens the senses and encourages exploration. The bright colors, and playful large piles of vegetables make it a great setting for a field trip or family outing. Children are curious by nature and when put in new situations will ask all kinds of wonderful questions about what they see. 

In almost every community in  Colorado there is a local farmer's market. 
Click here to find one near you. Here are some tips for getting the most out of a farmer's market:

  • Bring a business card. 
    This will help you can stay connected about what is in season or be added to their mailing list. They may also use it to contact you later (see next bullet point).
  • Go early but be prepared to return later in the day. 
    The best produce always goes quick, if you want the freshest and best, be there when the market opens. However if you want to get a great deal talk to the farmer about buying the end of the day produce at the close of the market. Believe me they do not want to pack it up and take it back to the farm, they want to sell it.
  • Have your elevator speech ready. 
    30 seconds or less, what is your center, how many kids do you serve, why are you excited about serving more local foods to the kids? Are you using new curriculum that promotes local produce such as the Team Nutrition Toolkit or Harvest for Healthy Kids? If so, tell them about that as well.
  • Don't give up. 
    There will be plenty of booths and farmers to chat with. Some may already have established deals with other people so keep trying until you find someone who is as excited about feeding children fresh food as you are. 


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