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Tips For Visiting Boston’s Farmers Markets With Kids

August 29, 2013 6:00 AM

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Sally Sampson, founder and President of ChopChop magazine, is the James Beard Award-nominated author or co-author of 21 cookbooks, a frequent magazine contributor to the likes of Self, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and The Boston Globe, and influential children’s health advocate. Her book ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family is published by sister company Simon & Schuster. You can find out more about Sally and ChopChop here.

Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster

Photo Credit: Simon & Schuster

This summer, ChopChop Magazine has been setting up shop at local farmer’s markets in the Boston area, including: Copley Square and Codman Square in Boston, Union Square and Davis Flea Market in Somerville, and Harvard Square in Cambridge. We don’t sell fruit and we don’t sell vegetables but we’ve been spreading the word about how easy and fun (and important) it is to get kids in the kitchen.

Copley Square Farmers Market
Along St. James Ave, Dartmouth St and Boylston St
139 St. James Ave
Boston, MA 02116
May through November

We arrive with small tables and small chairs, several issues of ChopChop Magazine, a few kids gardening books, cookbooks (including our own newly released ChopChop: The Kids Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family), story books, and small jars and several bottles of olive oil and vinegar.

When it’s really hot, we hand out Kiwi-sicles. We teach kids how to make their own salad dressing, which they can then bring home and use themselves. Making – and eating – a salad becomes something kids can own. And they learn that many foods, like salad dressing, do not have to be purchased ready-made but instead can be easily made at home.

Related: Navigating Boston’s Best Farmers Markets

See the list below for how to get your kids involved in a trip to a farmers market –but truthfully you can use all the same questions at almost any kind of grocery store!

A Bakers Dozen of Ideas for engaging your child at a Farmers Market:

  1. Ask kids to find a fruit or vegetable in every color of the rainbow.
  2. Challenge them to taste a fruit or vegetable they aren’t sure they’ll like.
  3. Ask them to guess how something grew: on a plant, on a vine, on a tree, underground?
  4. Let your child find a vegetable they’ve never seen before: take it home and learn about it at your local library, with a computer for Google, or reading your own cookbooks.
  5. Suggest they count how many different kinds of fruit are for sale.
  6. Guess how many blueberries are in a pint.
  7. Do math problems: If a pound of peaches costs $1.00 and there are 4 in a pound, how much does 1 cost?
  8. Use MyPlate to come up with a meal plan before shopping.
  9. More math: If a quart of strawberries costs $4.49 and you give the farmer $5.00, how much change will you get back?
  10. Ask them if you made your own salad dressing, what vegetables and fruits would you put in the salad?
  11. Suggest that they pick one color and count how many items are for sale are that color.
  12. Ask them to find the largest/smallest vegetable at the market.
  13. Create a treasure hunt where they have to discover as many different shapes as possible.

Related: Best Places To Buy Fresh, Local Eggs Around Boston

Sally Sampson, founder and President of ChopChop magazine, is the James Beard Award-nominated author or co-author of 21 cookbooks, a frequent magazine contributor to the likes of Self, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and The Boston Globe, and influential children’s health advocate. Her book ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food with Your Family is published by sister company Simon & Schuster. You can find out more about Sally and ChopChop here.
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