30 September 2014

Why we love the farmers' market

We're getting into a little rhythm in our nest. Having sworn off big supermarkets a couple of months ago, we've started to notice we're managing to pick something from the garden for most meals. Finally! We get a delivery from a local shop roughly once a fortnight, with ethical meats and staples we need, which has been brilliant. Next we're working on a food and essentials co-op with our homeschool co-op buddies so we can order organic, awesome staples at a price our mostly-single-income families can afford.

The final piece of the puzzle for us has been going semi-regularly to the farmers' market. Here's how it works:

1. Arrive and secure donuts or bagels or freshly shucked oysters or something equally amazing for breakfast. Scoff at leisure.
2. Flag down some seasonal veg that we don't have growing in our garden just yet - this will diminish over time, all going well.
3. Find some ethical meat from happy animals. Right now we're loving goat.
4. Pick up a pot of local raw honey and locally roasted coffee.
5. Check out plants, seeds or spuds to take home and grow our own. Or just to admire and get excited about.

Here's why it's so great:

1. The food is so fresh! The veggies we buy last much longer (like, weeks longer) than any supermarket bought produce.
2. We know the people we buy all the produce from. We can ask them about how they grow their food and we see the care and pride they take in it.
3. Sometimes we bump into friends we haven't caught up with in a while, or just share a wave and a hallo across the crowd. That's a bit nice!
4. The donuts and bagels and oysters and… well, you get the picture.

Best of all, the owlets see the transaction of money passing hands and each item being directly paid for, rather than just a big credit card bill at the end, paid for by plastic. It's more real for them and for us. And they like to be involved in buying things too. Unlike the supermarket, which is usually a place we'd rather leave as soon as we've stepped inside, the farmers' market is like a regular community-building experience each time. And one we talk about after the event. It's like we haven't been out to do the shopping at all! See you there next week? xx

Some beautiful resources for talking more about farmers' markets with your owlets:

To Market, To Market, by Nikki McClure.

Alternating between story and fact, this lovingly-crafted picture book follows a mother and son to the weekly market. As they check off items on their shopping list, the reader learns how each particular food was grown or produced - from its earliest stages to how it ended up at the market.  Find it here

Let's Go to the Farmer's Market Kit.

This kit contains everything kids need to have tons of fun at the farmers' market: a strawberry tote bag, 20 activity cards, an informative booklet about farms and the farmers' market, plus a shopping list pad. Find it here. 

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