Market outing can be great family time

Aug. 10, 2013 @ 11:52 AM

Meadow Slavinsky is turning 2 this September, and ever since she began eating solid foods, all the fruits and vegetables she eats at home have come from the South Durham Farmers’ Market.

Meadow’s parents, Chrissy and Andrew Slavinsky, encourage her to participate in the shopping as they select their produce for the week, and there doesn’t seem to be a vegetable she won’t eat.  Meadow loves nutritious kale, plentiful sweet potatoes, juicy tomatoes, all the summer squash, and, of course, sweet yellow peaches.

She enjoys samples of goat cheese at Hillsborough Cheese Co. and Prodigal Farms, and they always purchase their eggs at Parker Farm and Vineyard. At the end of market, Meadow drops off their change at the Farmer Foodshare station, a nonprofit which provides food for the hungry and malnourished in seven North Carolina counties.

An outing to the market, like the Slavinskys’, is a healthy and educational way to spend family time. Our vendors bring a substantial and varied selection of fresh-picked produce to market, and all are more than happy to cut up a fruit or vegetable to sample. Every Saturday morning, I witness children tasting different foods for the first time, exposing them to a wide range of produce (and nutrition) and removing the guesswork for parents of picky eaters.

Kids at the market also have the opportunity to chat with farmers, and learn about all the work that went into harvesting the bounty on display. Understanding how our food choices connect us to the environment and affect our health teaches children to appreciate the importance of supporting sustainable agriculture and voting with our food dollars.

Additionally, these interactions with the farmers give children a sense of connectedness to the community, the season and our local environment. Our farmers are friendly and proud of their work, so encourage your children to ask them questions about how they take care of their animals and their land.

The South Durham Farmers’ Market is honored to be supported by families like the Slavinskys, and we are dedicated to making the market an enjoyable destination for the whole family, helping to establish lifelong habits of healthy eating and sustainable living. Come visit us Saturday morning, and you are likely to find kids playing with chalk at the center of the market and blowing on sparkly pinwheels with melting Locopops in hand.

Elizabeth Zander is market manager of the South Durham Farmers' Market.