I have been meaning to check out the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market for awhile now. The farmer’s market is held outdoors, in the parking lot of the Centre of Elgin. My precocious toddler, who owns a DVD of Copy Kids where the entire 115-minute DVD shows toddlers eating fruits and vegetables, seems fascinated with produce, and he’ll usually try anything at least once. Exposing my kids to different experiences is very important to me, and I knew that he’d be interested in seeing local farmers sell their goods (with some items he’s only seen in books). The educational opportunities than can be found at a local farmer’s market can provide kids, even a young toddler, with knowledge about healthy eating and kids love to learn about where their food came from.
The Downtown Elgin Farmer’s Market isn’t very large, but the variety of items sold there kept my little guy occupied and he just kept running from table to table to see what each vendor had. I think that most people think that a farmer’s market is just about the food, but it’s so much more than that. It’s locally owned and produced food and handmade items. It was a small space, but there was a lot to see.
My toddler was certainly charmed by the vendor sharpening knives on a foot-pedaled contraption – seriously, this thing was so vintage!
From there, he quickly spotted the produce vendors (not very many here I’m sad to report) and ran to their table. He stopped at each fruit and each vegetable to name them all…and touched almost everything, I’m afraid. The rich colors of the many fruits and vegetables excited him, and there were quite a few that he didn’t know.
He just had to touch everything!
I, for one, was very impressed with all the produce varieties he did know and he insisted on buying some raspberries. The prices were not necessarily lower than what you’d find at a grocery store, but knowing that these items came from a real, working farm in our area was important to me, and I was happy to support local businesses. Other vendors included a smoothie stand, a hot dog stand, various olives, fresh baked bread in all kinds of flavors, and spices.
My favorite part of our visit was a small vendor stand that sold tamales and fried vegetables. And we all know how anything fried tastes extraordinarily good! My son tried a little bit of everything and wanted to be told what each veggie was before he ate it. (Sweet potatoes were the hands-down favorite.) The women at this stand were so nice and friendly…they even gave him extra sweet potatoes! They were reasonably priced too – a large tray of veggies, a tamale, and a bottle of water only cost me $7.00!
Do you frequent a farmer’s market in your area? What are some of your favorite items to purchase at a farmer’s market?