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With summer drawing to a close, our last summer fun idea is to visit a local farmer’s market.

First, the browsing: Scout out the booths to see what types of fruits, vegetables, and prepared products are available and who has the best prices. Some merchants offer samples so get the kids to try a new food. Have the kids try to findĀ something to represent every color of the rainbow. Ask the merchants what time they got up and how far away their farms are.

Second, the buying: Make a list. Will you buy something fresh to add to the supper menu or are you planning to make homemade jam or salsa? Do you want to try something new or stock up on family favorites? Once you’ve decided, look for the best deals. Let the kids do a little bargaining (if age appropriate) and practice making change.

Third, the processing: Once you get back home, work together to clean, process, and store the food. Talk about food safety, fertilizers (er, manure), and bugs. If you’re making supper, jam, or salsa, practice reading and following a recipe. Blanche and freeze vegetables to use later.

Farmer’s markets are a great way to remember how our grandparents grew food, cooked, and preserved the harvest. It makes us appreciate grocery stores and restaurants that much more.

What about you? What’s your favorite vegetable? Favorite fruit? Do you can or freeze any produce this time of year?

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