I love the Green City Market -- and so do my kids. Taking young kids with you to a farmer's market definitely makes for a more chaotic experience (my kids are known to do a lot of berry sampling from a variety of vendors). But it is worth it to bring your little shoppers along with you to pick up your produce for the week. Here is why.
1. The Food (Obviously). Our country has some serious food issues. One of the biggest problems is that most people have no connection to the food that they eat. We buy whatever we want from the grocery store and never give any thought to where it came from or how it got on our dinner plates. Particularly for urban-dwellers, farmer's markets offer an opportunity to really interact with your food. Shoppers can learn about seasonal selection and actually see and touch their food and talk to the people who grew it. Including your kids in this process just makes sense.
2. Club Spouts. As an extra enticement for the smallest market-goers, the Green City Market has an educational component for children. Each week, kids have an opportunity to taste something new -- maybe a piece of arugula or a fresh pea. They have a card that gets punched each time they take a nibble and at the end of the season, each child gets a "prize." Stop by the information table to get your child signed up. This program also features an occasional cook demo aimed at kids so watch out for that on the website as well.
3. The Tunes. Every market day also features musical performers and a group of laid-back kids and adults lounging in the grass enjoying the tunes. My kids sometimes like to do a little impromptu dancing. Grab lunch (see below) and enjoy a summer morning in the park.
4. The Crepes. This is my son's favorite part of market days. Do yourself a favor and stop by the crepe stand for a freshly-made buckwheat crepe. You can't go wrong with a plain butter and sugar, but the seasonal offerings - like cheese, herb and tomato -- are awesome too.
5. The Edible Garden. After you have had your fill of shopping and eating, head on over to the Farm-in-the-Zoo to check out the Edible Garden, sponsored by the Green City Market. Kids get an actual opportunity to get their hands dirty and help out planting, weeding or harvesting -- depending on what is going on that week. This is a great resource for those families who don't have the space or inclination to have a garden at home.
The Green City Market is held in Lincoln Park on Wednesday and Saturday mornings throughout the summer from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Visit their website for more info on upcoming events.