My kids are growing up in suburbia, but I was raised in the rural farmlands of New Jersey. Stopping at roadside produce stands was de rigueur during the summer months. I picked strawberries and blueberries with my mom. And while I now live in the suburbs of one of the largest cities in the country, I'm just a stone's throw from some of the finest produce this country has to offer.
I have taught my kids about locally grown produce and how eating local and in season makes for the best tasting food. My kids love going to the local farmer's markets and eating their way through them. They choose not only produce that is familiar, but show a great curiosity towards things that are new to them, like sunchokes. And fava beans. And cherimoyas.
Beyond buying from farmer's markets, I think it's important to show my kids where food comes from. We are growing our own food this year, and we're big fans of the local Pick-Your-Own farm - we go multiple times every year to get the best of what each season has to offer.
Yesterday we were on a mission for strawberries to make jam with. What we came home with was this.
The vines were heavy with blackberries and there were even raspberries to be found, though I know they'll be more plentiful in a month. Looks like my plans for strawberry jam will be revamped. Hello triple-berry jam.
And we couldn't leave without veggies. Bean wanted radishes - he'll nosh on them with butter, salt, and rustic bread. Sprout wanted to pick potatoes - I see hash browns and fried eggs in our future. And mama needed summer squash and lettuce. Those lovely squash blossoms are an added bonus (try finding those in your local megamart).
We came home sweaty and dirty, but with a greater appreciation for the food on our plate.