Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family Farmers Market

In the nice weather, we make it a habit to visit farmers markets regularly. The food looks more appealing than in conventional supermarkets, the kids are naturally drawn to the fruits and vegetables, and they make a connection with the food they eat, where we buy it, and who grows it. In New York City, year round Greenmarkets bring kids close to the food source.

In the fall, we travel to our food, to go apple picking and to a pumpkin patch. It was a revelation to the kids to see that pumpkins actually grow on vines, not at produce stands.

But in winter, hunting for food becomes more of a challenge. The farmers market isn’t as appealing in the very cold weather; besides the cold, the choices are limited. So we turn to indoor cornucopias.

One of my kids’ favorite places is the giant Fairway Market at 125th St. If you think the ordinary city supermarket is frenetic, this one is on speed. It is not for the cautious, the claustrophobic, or the newly emerged walker.

Like its older downtown sibling, this Fairway begins in a sumptuous produce display, tempting even the most persnickety. Then there is the huge selection of bread. But outweighing all is the ‘cold room’ filled with fish, meat and dairy. It’s so cold that Fairway provides jackets. My daughters love to shiver their way through here, pausing at the lobsters and choosing a yogurt.

Chelsea Market, at 9th Avenue and 15th Street, is a collection of small shops under one roof. Here, kids can see bakers at work, and try wonderful selections from Amy’s Bread, Sarabeth’s Kitchen, Fat Witch Bakery. There are also places to get nuts, veggies and fruit.

We've eaten our way through Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, Logan Square Farmers Market in Chicago (both indoors and outdoors) and the Farmers Market LA.

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