You may have heard the statistic that kids are more likely to try eating produce they have grown themselves. I certainly had, and I believed it, but I was stuck at the starting line: how do you get kids to garden? Although my husband, the grandson of two farmers, is an avid mini farmer every summer, it seems my own gardening-loathing genes were enough to dilute this characteristic out of three successive children. If you've experienced this same obstacle in getting your kids or grandkids to love fruits or vegetables, there's fortunately a second (anecdotal) statistic about kids and produce: that if you let them choose which fruit or vegetable to buy, they're also more likely to eat it! I'm guessing it's because your child would find displays such as these tempting...
I've got to say, we were out of town last week, and my mother bought the kids a clamshell of those giant California strawberries which have zero flavor and are weirdly hard, like so much supermarket fruit. They ate them, of course (though sprinkled with sugar). But when I brought home Shuksans from the Market, even the boy remarked, "These are way better than the ones Grandma bought!" Uh huh. You haven't experienced the Power of Produce until you've had a straight-up taste test between conventional and local/fresh/meant-to-be-eaten-immediately.
(Side note: I asked the lovely vendor at Skagit Sun if they'd planted newer varieties this year, to give us strawberries in May, rather than June. She said nope, it was just how warm the spring was. I told you global warming was going to be awesome in the short-term...)
Or maybe your kids prefer cherries, also putting in an early showing:
In any case, if you're trying to get your kids or grandkids to venture into the wide wide world of produce, has the Market got a program for you!
Introducing the Power of Produce---
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- It starts next Thursday, June 9, and runs through August 25.
- Kids aged 5-12 can join the club. You'll be jealous because they get their own reusable POP shopping bag, a "Passport to Health" with which to collect stamps, and $2 in Market tokens to spend on any fruits or vegetables!
- Each week there will be fun activities to promote love and knowledge of healthy food and healthy lives.
And remember that plot I took a pic of the first week?
Maybe kids might like to plant and tend, harvest and eat crops when they're presented so manageably and they can see their progress from week to week.
HERE'S WHERE YOU COME IN:
- Bring your kids and grandkids to the Market and sign them up!
- If you don't happen to have your hands full with produce-popping kids, consider volunteering in the program. Market Director Natalie is looking for volunteers in roles like manning the POP booth (check kids in, stamp passports, hand out $2 tokens, chat with parents); running the weekly activity; and planning and preparing weekly activities. (That last role might be great if you can't commit to a couple hours in the booth!) If these jobs are calling out to you, stop by the Welcome Booth and let Natalie know.
Every book I've read about helping kids (and adults) learn to love different flavors advises them to try, try, and try again. We really can learn to like a greater variety of foods, so why not make those foods that actually build our bodies and community?
Sign up to volunteer this week, and let's launch the Power of Produce with a bang on June 9!