Des Moines has a plethora of farmers markets. If you want to enjoy some delicious local food and fresh produce, hit up a farmers market with your family.
Before you head to the farmers market with your family, here are 10 tips to make it a fun experience for the whole family.
10 Tips for Going to Farmers Market with Kids
- Beat the crowds. The guide below will help you plan your schedule. Arrive early to nab the best produce picks.
- Remember the sunscreen. Enjoy the open spaces and sunshine, but remember to take care of your kiddos’ skin. (And slather it on yourself, too, mama!) Sunglasses, hats, and breaks in the shade help for those hot and humid Iowa days.
- Leave Fido at home. The hustle and bustle of farmers markets are exciting and fun, but can also get pretty crowded and be overstimulating for pets. The Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market has this to say, “Be kind to your pups and leave them at home, as the environment can be overwhelming for many dogs.”
- Opt for a smaller stroller. Navigate the crowds with a stash-and-go umbrella stroller. Instead of your purse, stay hands-free with a backpack full of diapers, wipes, sunscreen, and water. If your babe is tiny, babywearing will free up your hands to tote bags of all the yummy goods you’ll be going home with.
- BYOB. Bring your own reusable, sturdy bags for your fresh produce. Or, consider stashing a small cooler in your kids’ wagon to help keep everything (especially meat or milk!) fresh.
- Make a list. And check it twice! Meal planning before you shop will help you create a game plan and know what you’re looking for once you get to the farmers market.
- Know your limits (and your kids’ limits, too). Depending on your kids’ ages and energy levels, you may not get to leisurely stroll the entire length of the farmers market. Make a list of the top three items you’d like to eat or purchase but give yourself and your kids grace if you don’t even get to those. Enjoy the sights, sounds, and family time, and if you see a fellow mama with a tantruming toddler, give her a fist-bump.
- Stay local. Pick a farmers market close to you. Neighborhood markets are smaller and can be less overwhelming. Plus, attending it fosters community. Maybe you can even walk there, burning calories to free you up for a locally-made cupcake!
- Engage your kids. Get them involved in the process. Encourage your little ones to ask questions of farmers, makers, and creatives (if they’re not busy!). Many farmers offer samples to children, which fosters adventurous eating.
- Compare prices. Tomatoes at one stand might be $2 less than the vendor down the road. Know what you’re willing to pay, and remember what factors into the price, including if your produce is organic or vine-ripened. (If your family is eligible, SNAP, EBT & Farmers Market Nutrition Program Vouchers are accepted by many participating vendors.)