City farmers’ markets make for a fun and educational family outing
By Kristan Schiller
A popular weekend pastime for many families is strolling through the local farmers’ market. It’s a great way to bond with the kids and your community. As you sniff that bouquet of fresh basil or nibble the latest apple varieties, you can teach your kids about eco-minded eating habits and get to know your local farmers, too. Following is a list of some of the top urban farmer’s markets in the country.
Santa Fe Farmers’ Market
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Colorful produce lines the stalls at this Saturday market in Santa Fe’s rail yard, where over 150 vendors gather to sell their wares. The market began with just a handful of farmers in the late 1960s and is now New Mexico’s largest farmers’ market—one of the most widely recognized markets in the United States. Some of the uniquely Southwestern foods you might find here include mesquite cactus honey, organically grown dried chiles and Jujubes, a desert fruit (sometimes called red dates) which are rumored to have medicinal properties when soaked in tea.
North Union Farmers’ Market
North Union Farmers’ Market, open Saturdays from 8am until noon from April through December in the middle of historic Shaker Square, has been selling goods from nearby farms and vendors since 1995. This bustling market champions foods from Northeast Ohio, offering fresh in-season produce, homemade honey, meats, fresh flowers, jellies and jams, and beans and grains. The market’s end-of-summer garlic festival is a hit with locals and is particularly popular with Cleveland area chefs.
Crescent City Farmers’ Market
New Orleans, Louisiana
It’s no surprise that in this famous foodie town, top chefs at the hottest local restaurants are among this market’s best customers. Held Saturday mornings in New Orleans’ downtown warehouse district, over 30 vendors here sell locally grown gems such as Creole tomatoes, wild catfish, goat-meat shanks and summer sausages. Cooking demonstrations and entertainment by area musicians are all part of the fun here.
University District Farmers’ Market
More than 50 local growers assemble year-round on Saturdays at Seattle’s University Heights Community Center playground to sell their Washington State wares at the city’s oldest and largest farmers’ market. Seafood such as Alaskan spot prawns and tiny Pacific oysters are a distinctly regional find as are fiddlehead ferns, stinging nettles and morels from the state’s dense forests. Fingerling potatoes from the local Full Circle Farm are another treat worth carrying home.
Copley Square Farmers’ Market
This always-crowded market in the heart of downtown Boston is a popular lunchtime destination with office workers and tourists alike. Open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11am-6pm from May through November, the market sells prepared gourmet sandwiches and baked goods from nearby bakeries as well as fresh produce, dairy, eggs and meat. With a handful of park benches and plenty of green space nearby for seating, Copley Square Farmers’ Market is an ideal picnic spot for families visiting the Back Bay area.
Before you head out for the day, don’t forget to load up the Chevy Malibu with blankets to set the stage for your healthful feast!
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Kristan Schiller is a New York-based travel writer and blogger whose articles have appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Fodor’s, as well as on Forbestraveler.com and Salon.com.