Adventure at the Farmers Market
When Bob and I became empty nesters, years of July’s languid days slipped by with favorite books, afternoon snoozes in the garden’s shade and easy dinners off the grill. Then my grandson Joey turned 4 and he came to spend the month. Now, every July is GG and Joey’s great adventure. Each day of the week has a learning theme and Tuesday is our farmers market day. It’s been decades since I introduced my own kids to fresh, whole foods, so this is a chance for me to practice what I preach with our Recipe for Success programs.
Turning food exploration into a fun adventure lowers a child’s barriers against trying unfamiliar things, so I transform our market trips into a treasure hunt for favorite stuff and new discoveries. Our deal is that he gets to pick six beloved fruits and veggies and one new food to try.
We cruise up one side of the market and down the other, trailing our wheeled basket from booth to booth. It fills with watermelon, peaches, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes and okra from old friends at Animal Farm, Atkinson Farm, Pine Valley Produce and others. Then maybe a chicken from Texas Heritage Farm, eggs from Nathan and cheese from Blue Heron Farm.
Some of Joey’s favorites now were adventure foods last year, like the okra, which he loves as a crunchy snack. If you can crunchify it or put it on a pizza, you are nearly assured acceptance—that’s my tactic anyhow. He eyes the Brussels sprouts, skeptical but intrigued, “What about these, GG?”
I smile, “In the 13th century, Dutch traders discovered Brussels sprouts in Rome and sold them throughout Europe on their way back home, so they were named after the salesmen.” Into the basket they went, ready for our next adventure.