While we were out of town for the Labor Day holiday, we found a Farmers’ Market to visit.  This was the Fulton Street Market, the oldest and largest in Grand Rapids.  It came recommended by my cousins who live near there.  There’s a campaign going on to raise money for restrooms, but the port-a-jons are welcome whenever you are traveling with kids.


This pepper display was the most colorful stand at the whole market.


The kids enjoyed dancing.  Nick looks like a chicken.


Sally was glad that she talked Stephen into a ride on his shoulders.


Markets that are under cover tend to be pretty nice.  It’s a bit more community like since all of the stands are set up the same.  We didn’t buy much since we were traveling, but it was sure fun to stop by.


We ended up with a fabulous granola bar that I wish I could duplicate, some jerky and a loaf of bread.  It was a great way to start our Saturday.

 Posted by at 9:54 PM

Today, the NEO Foodies group enjoyed an event at Community Greenhouse Partners.  My kids and I go to farms all of the time, but we had never visited an urban farm.  A tour, kids pizza class, gazpacho demo and potluck were on the schedule.

The site is over 2 acres and occupies the grounds of a former church in the middle of the city.


This is definitely a place where nothing is wasted.  The boxes on the left were built out of wood that was salvaged from a nearby construction site.


Tim Smith welcomed us and introduced us to the ground, concept and history.  We began our tour by checking out the chicken tractor that is under construction.  They hope to be keeping chickens soon.


We moved to the front of the property where Tim talked about mixing up the crops and the benefits.  On the right, a YELLOW cucumber grows.


These garden socks are full of compost.  We spied watermelon and other deliciousness growing.


One of the local tree trimming companies brings the mulch by.  It’s a win win for everyone.  The company doesn’t have to haul it away, The CGP can use it for mulching and fuel.  The kids have a mountain to climb when they come visit.  On the other side of the church, 3 more hoop houses.


Kathryn helped Nick and Sally pick some tomatoes for their pizza and showed them around the garden.


Back at the home base, Chef Robin of Cooking with Care gave us a gazpacho demonstration.


Outside, the kids were making pizzas.  Nick loves his topped with fresh peppers, tomatoes and cheese.


Everyone pitched in to help with the pizzas.  Some of the adults made them too.


Judi was ultra prepared and great with the kids.


We enjoyed the potluck dinner and then said our goodbyes.  Nick asked if we could go back tomorrow.  We stopped at our community garden to harvest tomatoes and water.  Sally fell asleep before we pulled in the drive.


We had a great time and can’t wait for the next “kid friendly” NEO Foodies event.


The kids and I don’t get over to the west side very often.  But, friends invited us to meet them at Kamm’s Corners Market and we had never been there, so we joined them.  The market is behind a Walgreens near Rocky River Road and Lorain Road (route 10).  There was plenty of free parking in the surface lot.   We arrived right at 10AM.  The opening seems late to us, since we are used to markets that open at 8AM or 9AM, but they are also not usually Sunday markets.  It was very sunny and even with a hat, Nick was squinting for the photo.


The information booth was easy to spot upon approach.  There were probably 20 vendors in attendance.


The peach booth was definitely popular.


I found in interesting that doggie sitting was available at the information booth. I guess rules prohibit dogs, but if you leave them at the tent, it’s OK?


This was only one of the Sundays when WIC was handing out their coupons for program recipients to use at the market.  It definitely encourages people to shop at the markets.


I liked this market.  There was a nice variety of vendors, including several selling produce.  We ended up buying a watermelon.  Nick and Sally always talk about what to get on our way to the market.  It’s fun to hear Nick ask me about the seasons.  Yesterday as we walked through the market, he asked me if it was blackberry and peach season.  I told him yes!  It’s nice for me to have my work as a mom validated from time to time.


Today, we visited the Coit Road Farmers’ Market for the first time.  We really didn’t know what to expect.  I had heard that it was small, indoor and had a cooking class scheduled for 11AM today.

I followed my easy directions and before I knew it we were at the market.  It was hard to miss.  There were just a few produce stands.  This time of year, the produce stands for this market and just getting started.  We were happy to see Secor’s from Perry.  We really like to U-Pick there, so I was familiar with them.  There were some booths with baked goods and other odd ball items, too.  We ended up buying a watermelon, but I questioned to myself if that was grown locally since I think it’s a bit early and I haven’t seen any other watermelon yet.  But, when the kids want watermelon, I try not to turn them down.

Nick and Sally were enamored with the chicken coops.  I don’t think we are up for chickens at our house, but the kids would love it!


A new coop was delivered while we were there.  Here’s a photo of the kitchen area that was going to be the scene for the cooking class.


In addition to the coops, there were also hives.  All of the wood products were fascinating.  Once it was time for the cooking class, Nick and Sally were given aprons to wear.  I think they are adorable.


Miss Pat gave a demonstration on how to make pasta salad.  She used cucumber, garlic and tomato from the market.  She tossed them with pasta and some dressing.  We were a little disappointed in the class, since we had seen photos of the last class, we were expecting a hands on class.  Being a demo, it was hard to keep the attention of the kids.


Sally was also in a “mood” which didn’t help.  I think she was just hungry and tired.  After the demo, the kids were excited when they found out that they could keep the aprons.  And, Miss Pat gave Nick his own knife.  Once we finished at the class, we stopped to let Sally buy some corn.


She carefully picked out 5 ears and we were on our way.  Then, tonight at dinner, both kids really wanted to help cook.  We cook together at home often, but they really were extra inspired today.  I think it was the aprons.  Oh, and Nick could not wait to use this knife.


I decided that we could make some simple tomato soup in the morning and he could cut up the tomato.  I nervously helped and watched him.  He had such a great time.


I definitely need to brush up on my knife skills if I am going to teach my 4 year old to use one.


The first lesson was a success.  The tomato is chopped and no band aids were needed.  All in all, we had a nice day.  I think I’d stop by this market every now and then, but I don’t think it will become my favorite.


When we first decided to spend a week at a beach house in Rehoboth, I started looking for things to do in the area.  I came across a list that included a farmers’ market that was near a park.  That sure sounded like a win win for our family.

After some beach time in the AM, we packed up and headed to Grove Park.  We enjoyed lunch at the pavilion and then the kids played.  They are still in their swim attire.  Neither of them could climb the rope, but they had a great time trying.



Soon it was time to check out the market.  They had a nice information booth, and since it was by the park, there were also restroom facilities.  I’m not a big fan of kettle corn, but it sure smells delicious.


Blueberries were in season and quite a few vendors were selling them.  The market looked like the tents were provided (sponsored) by area businesses.  There were about 30 vendors on the day we visited.


We almost bought some of the prettiest broccoli that I had ever seen, but it was sold when we went back to get it.  I was surprised that there were no greens to be found.  We could have used lettuce, but ended up buying peaches, cherries, fudge and nuts.


The peaches came from Bennett Orchards.  They have U-Pick peaches, but it was a week or so away from being open.  Maybe on a future trip to Delaware, we’ll go peach picking.

This market was a decent size and more like the bigger markets in our area.  We had a good time and the kids were able to practice naming their veggies once again.

 Posted by at 9:55 PM

On Monday of the week we were at the beach house, I planned to go to the Farmers’ Market at Bethany Beach.  The only problem with that is that it had happened on Sunday – OOPS!  So, Stephen checked around and found this market for us.

It took us about 20 minutes to drive there from Rehoboth.  We were mostly hoping that we beat the storm that was coming.


Turns out this was a very small market.  I think there were about 12 vendors.


Parking was really close to the vendors.  It was actually kind of dangerous.  Cars and pedestrians don’t mix well.  It wasn’t crowded at all.


We picked up a few small things.  Nick picked out some pita chips and Stephen and I picked out croissants.  My favorite was Sally picking out cucumbers.  Both kids really like spending money at the markets.


I like that with each trip to a market, they get to practice naming all of the vegetables that we see.  It’s also interesting to see the seasonality of produce in the different climates.  We were in DE in June and peaches and corn were already in season.  Generally, they are 2-4 weeks ahead of Ohio.

 Posted by at 9:06 PM

While we were traveling, we stopped at a travel plaza in Allentown PA.  They had a Farmer’s Market which is always exciting for me.  The kids get excited too.  I knew there wasn’t much chance of purchasing anything, but we took a look anyway.


Here’s an overview photo.  Turns out this market was put on by one group, Haas Produce.  It’s unclear if they are growers or not.  My guess is that they grow some items and source the rest.


Nick’s learning that his role is to practice naming all of the fruits and vegetable he sees.


Sally helps too.  She’s starting to try and name items before Nick.  Sadly, this market consisted of locally grown as well as items acquired from elsewhere (other states).  All of the products were labeled.  So, if you wanted to truly buy locally grown you could.  We did get stumped on the “fresh” designation that didn’t state where it was from.  After we checked out the produce, Stephen helped the kids stretch.


And then we let them race up and down the sidewalk.  Sitting in the car all day doesn’t use up much energy.


I’m always glad to stop at a new market.  I was also glad that they wasn’t anything that I wanted to buy since I didn’t have any room in the cooler for produce.


A couple of weeks ago, we were strawberry picking in Hiram.  On the way home, we stopped at Sirna’s Farm Market.  I had always wanted to stop in, but usually we finish picking before they are open.  The kids like the windmill.


There was a nice market building with great decor inside.


They carried lots of canning supplies.  This time if year, there wasn’t much produce.  We were hoping for some sugar snap peas.  The kids were hungry for a snack.


We asked the clerk about peas and she checked in the back.  They didn’t have any, but offered to go pick some for us.  That was awesome customer service.  While we waited, I picked out a few frozen meat items to try out.


Most of the peas were consumed on the way home.  We also picked up sausage patties, burgers and ground beef.  All of these were local products.  The ground beef was great, but the sausage had too much gristle for my taste.  We haven’t tried the burgers yet.

I’d be interested in stopping in again sometime during the peak of the growing season to see what the produce selection is like.  They are located on route 44, not too far from our favorite blueberry farm, so maybe we’ll be able to check it out again in July.

 Posted by at 1:35 PM

One of our favorite stops at the Baltimore Farmers’ Market last weekend was Baltimore Hoop Love.


We really enjoyed watching the pros.


It was also fun to try out the hoops.



My sister takes the best photos – Always!


We actually stopped back after our shopping.  My niece picked out a hoop and picked the colors so it could be wrapped to her liking.


The hoops are made from PVC irrigation tubing.


They are hoping to help promote local farming and farm openings with their circus type act.  They are passionate about local food and the market is such a good fit for them.

Before long, we were on our way back to my sister’s house.  My niece has been enjoying her hoop.  I was happy to discover that this company also does birthday parties with hoops, juggling, stilts, etc.  They were a ton of fun.


Today, the kids and I had plans to meet up with a friend at the Shaker Farmers’ Market.  During the summer months, the market is 8AM – 12PM every Saturday.

I like to park on the north side of the square behind the CVS.  Then, you just follow the sign to the square.  Since we usually go to the market early, parking is not a problem.


Here’s a view from the entrance of the north side of the market.


Strawberries are in full swing.  There was lots of red, especially at the Woolf Farms stand.  The “mushroom” guy was busy as usual.  He always has a line of people.


I tried something new with Nick today.  I gave him $3 to spend on whatever he wanted.  He bought 2 pickling cucumbers and a few tomatoes.  Then, he talked me into sugar snap peas and I gave him money so he could practice paying for things.


We had a short list of things we wanted to get at the market today.  Since both of our CSAs start next week, I wanted to buy things that we would use between today and Tuesday.

We ended up with 2 kinds of lettuce ($2.50 each), a bunch of beets with nice greens ($3.00), tomatoes ($2.50), pickling cucumbers ($1.00), garlic scapes (.50), and sugar snap peas ($3.00).


Although there are only a few peas pictured, we started with a  baggie full.  You can kind of see the amounts in the photo of Nick buying them.  Stephen and Nick shared a tomato at dinner.  I prepped the greens and plan on salad tomorrow that includes the rest of the peas and some of the cucumbers.  I’ll probably cook the beets and greens too.  I don’t have immediate plans for the garlic scapes, but we always like having them around this time of year.  I might make a frittata with them and use some of our chipotle cheese in the dish.

We were happy to find everything we wanted to buy (and more) at the market today.  Our only mistake was not walking through the south side of the market.  I totally didn’t think about the other half of the market that is on the south side of the tracks until we were driving around the square to head home.  I suspect we missed a few good stands, but it probably saved us a few dollars.

I’m still hoping to visit 8 different markets this year.  This was number 4.  It gets harder when the CSA season starts, because we don’t need to buy more at the markets.  I still think they are tons of fun and good for the kids.

 Posted by at 9:19 PM