It’s almost summer which means it’s farmers market time!
My all-time favorite farmers market activity? The Farmers Market Kids Challenge. So. Much. Fun!
Here’s what you need:
- Kids – Check! Yours alone will be great, but you can add some friends, neighbors or cousins, if you dare. I’ve done the challenge in cooking classes and even for kids’ birthday parties.
- A flexible recipe or two – What is a flexible recipe? One that you can easily mix up with different fruits & vegetables from the market. For example, spaghetti with homemade marinara – as long as they buy tomatoes, you can really add whatever vegetables the kids buy. Enchiladas work just as well, as do tacos, pizza, sesame noodles, fried rice, chopped salads, fruit crisps, shortcakes and more. Focus on what your kids like and will eat.
- $5 for each kid – Or whatever you think a great budget is. It really depends on you! They can definitely get things done for $5 apiece.
- The non-farmers market ingredients for your flexible recipe (like the spaghetti or olive oil, or salt).
- A honey stick for each kid – If you don’t buy them all a honey stick, then they will spend all their money on honey sticks no matter what you say. Take my word for it!
So, now that you have these things, gather your young people. Give each one $5, a honey stick and some guidelines. For example, if you’re making a tomato sauce, tell them how many tomatoes you need, etc. to buy from the farmers and then give them some flexibility to buy some produce that they like or want to try.
Now, let them do the buying! Let them pick out the best, weirdest, most delicious and potentially horrifying vegetables and fruits they can find, AND stay on budget. If you’re still alive, load those monkeys back into your car and head for your kitchen.
Pull out those flexible recipes, your lettuce knives and/or hand guards and help those little people peel and chop away, until you have a fabulous dinner on your hands. I’ll bet you my $5 farmers market budget that they eat more of what they pick out and prepare than what we slave over making them.
Most of all, have fun!