Home Discover Texas Mom Blog Making the Most out of Texas Farmers Markets with Kids

Making the Most out of Texas Farmers Markets with Kids

Fariya Khan

February 16, 2022

One of the many magical things about watching my kids grow up is witnessing them enjoy the same things and places I did as a child. Memories of us three siblings running amok every weekend at the Houston Farmers’ Market hit me like déjà vu when I see the same scene being played right in front of my eyes—except now it’s my children dashing about. The sights, sounds and smells of a farmers’ market are all too familiar, and so is the excited chaos we always seem to be in during our market run. If your family is like mine, this article is just for you.

Why visit local Texas farmers’ markets with kids?

Whether you’re parenting through a difficult picky eating phase or just want to bond together as a family, a family trip to your local farmers’ market is the perfect way to strengthen a sustainable community food system, encourage healthy eating, and get your kids to try new foods.

Visiting farmer’s markets also sets the stage for teaching children about the farming community, where food comes from, and what it takes to produce it, as well as helping them learn about foods that are locally grown in Texas. The best part is that all this is possible while appreciating good music, delicious food, and fresh air. Check out our master guide to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know about farmers’ markets’ in Texas!

So, if you’re ready to visit a Texas farmers’ market with your children, here are some tips to make the trip enjoyable for everyone!

Tips to enjoy local Texas farmers’ markets with children!

When is a good time to go to a farmers’ market?

I’ve learnt that it’s best to visit a farmers’ market at a time when your kids are fresh and fed. Food shopping on an empty stomach is never a good idea and can result in overspending or impulsive purchases. Also, most farmers’ markets in Texas start right after breakfast, so if your children are early risers like mine, I would recommend giving them a good breakfast before heading out.

We prefer to aim for an early visit to escape the peak rush and give our kids a bit more breathing space as they wander around the stalls.

Let children pick and choose

If your children are old enough, hand them the shopping list and let them guide you through the market stalls themselves. Small change of about $5 is enough money for small hands to deal with. This exercise encourages children to be confident, independent and feel empowered. Once home, they’ll proudly help prepare their chosen produce. If they’re thrilled about picking out a squash, it’s quite possible that they might be drawn to tasting it at dinner.

Flavors of the rainbow

The “flavors of the rainbow” game is a family favorite that we love to play during our weekly farmers’ market trips. I print out this Rainbow foods activity sheet beforehand, and when we get to the market, each kid searches for fruits and vegetables that are particular colors of the rainbow. For younger kids, it’s an exciting technique for learning the names of different foods. In addition, eating rainbow-colored produce ensures your children are getting a wide range of nutrients. At home, I use this printable found at www.yummymummykitchen.com and let my children track what they eat from the rainbow over the week. Stick the sheet on the fridge for easy access.

Turn it into a food scavenger hunt

Before heading out, download these fun printable scavenger hunts by seewhatgrows to turn your children’s shopping spree into a learning adventure. Be sure to encourage your children as they search for foods that are tubers (say, potatoes) or foods with leaves you can eat (spinach). This activity will familiarize young shoppers with the variety of offerings found locally in Texas. For younger kids, print out this simpler scavenger hunt from aboutamom .

Become friends with the farmers / Know where your food comes from

If you’re bombarded with questions from inquisitive minds, direct them towards a friendly farmer. Texan farmers are proud of their hand-grown produce and are more than willing to explain their work. Try to encourage your children to greet the farmers as they walk around the market. Lead by example and inspire them to pose questions to the farmers. Some easy examples are:

  • Why are you a farmer?
  • What do you love to grow?
  • What is easy to grow and what’s more difficult?
  • What can we grow at home?
  • How do I eat this? (An unknown produce)
  • How can I be a farmer too?

Interacting with farmers is a great way to appreciate the work that goes behind producing their food.

Don’t forget to say hi to the dairy farmers and pick up some butter and milk too!

The produce paparazzi

This activity is sure to thrill those little tech-savvy hands! Give your child a kids camera and suggest some photo ideas: close-ups of food and produce, photos of the vendors (with their permission), animal shots, anything that catches their eye at the market. Get creative! Share your child’s photographic skills on social media (with consent) and tag the markets!

Take a break, grab a treat

Why rush in and out of the market? Many farmers’ markets in Texas have space for picnics. With family seating areas and open spaces to spread a picnic blanket in, you can enjoy a coffee and light breakfast along with live music at the White Oak Farmers’ Market, or stroll through historic farmers’ markets such as the Historic Longview Farmers Market.

This brings me to possibly the best thing about farmers’ markets—the delicious food items!

Depending on where you visit, you can find everything from tacos and cookies to breakfast sandwiches and fresh-roasted coffee. We don’t leave the market without trying at least a couple of local delicacies. I like to save this until the end of the trip as a special treat to make sure that everyone’s working (and listening!) extra hard when wandering about the stalls.

As the kids shop, play, and eat at the markets, they’ll learn critical classroom and life skills, such as identifying ripe and unripe fruits, practicing addition and subtraction, and making healthy eating choices. 

I’ve also written before about all of the questions you may have about farmers markets and the answers to them here.

What Texan farmers’ markets are your family’s favorite? What tips would you give other families to navigate a successful market outing? Drop a comment below and let us know!