While mine are only two and four now, kids of all ages can enjoy the market. From babies enjoying the visual stimulation of a new place, to preschoolers learning colors and numbers, there can be something fun at every booth. Elementary school-aged children can learn about money, transactions, farming and how food gets to our tables. Even teenagers, who may be able to find out about volunteering and internship opportunities with different vendors, can develop a deeper appreciation for community involvement, new foods and other cultures. They can meet farmers, bakers, artists and entertainers. And parents may be pleasantly surprised that, given a chance, there are many more things that interest kids than just plastic toys, video games and iPods.
With friendly people, plenty of fresh, local food, live entertainment and warm summer days; hanging out at the market is a great way for families to spend time together. What could be more fun than exploring new foods with your kids - not just nagging them about trying new things, but showing them you're eager (or maybe not eager, but willing) to give a weird, new food a shot?
Granted, I love quiet mornings when I go by myself to the market and grab a cup of coffee, linger at the booths a little longer and stroll back home, but I also like sharing the experience with my kids. And people of all ages will always benefit from supporting their neighbors and community by buying local food and supporting local farmers markets.
By Kerry Baugh, Binford Farmers Market customer and volunteer