A wise parent knows the key to getting kids to eat vegetables is to get them involved. And what’s the perfect prescription for doing just that? Making fruits and veggies fun, of course. Make healthy eating exciting for your kids by encouraging them to talk to growers and letting them pick vegetables and fruits while getting up close and personal with their dinner at local farmers markets.
Dallas Farmers Market
Where: 1010 S. Pearl Expressway, Dallas, 214/664-9110
The basics: If you’re familiar with any farmers market in Dallas, chances are it’s this one. Between the covered sheds, free parking and recent renovations, the Dallas Farmers Market makes visiting any other market in town seem unthinkable (until you read the rest of our recommendations). Misters and fans in the covered building make The Shed ideal for both scorching hot and rainy days. Open daily, except Wednesdays. A calendar of events can be found online.
Kid factor: This market sells more than just ingredients. They also sell prepared foods, such as tamales and street corn. Let the kids choose their own lunch, and see if they can name all of the ingredients.
Good Local Markets
Where: 9150 Garland Road; 5805 E. Northwest Parkway, Dallas; 972/379-7097
The basics: In its sixth year of operation, Good Local Markets hosts two market locations with various weekend hours in East Dallas. This market does more than sell local food; they also offer workshops in gardening, cooking and sustainability for kids and adults. Keep an eye out for specialty items like duck eggs, oak-smoked hot dogs and handmade biscotti.
Kid factor: Twice per month, kids can learn gardening skills at science workshops. Classes are held at Texas Worm Ranch in Garland. Prices vary per workshop. txwormranch.com
Urban Acres Farmstead
Where: 1605 N. Beckley Ave., Dallas, 972/349-0209
The basics: This co-op style market offers local, organic fruits and vegetables on a pre-order basis. Additionally, a storefront in north Oak Cliff offers local produce, baked goods, dairy products, meats and coffee. Chicken bone broth is homemade from Texas pasture chickens and sold by the quart.
Kid factor: Farm to Market Workshops has partnered with Urban Acres Farmstead to teach sustainable skills, such as natural tie-dye and woodworking, for ages 3–8 most Saturdays. Weekday programs encourage sustainable farm animal care and gardening. Saturday workshops are $15 for one child and $10 per additional sibling. Weekday programs start at $80. Register online or pay in person. 214/546-6214; squareup.com/market/farm-to-market-workshop
Collin County Farmers’ Market
Where: 206 N. Murphy Road, Murphy
The basics: Every Saturday through October, Murphy City Hall hosts the Collin County Farmers Market, featuring more than 25 vendors. Aside from local fruits and vegetables, this market offers bakery treats, salsa, fresh bread and coffee.
Kid factor: Once your kids get their fill of produce, let them run ragged at Murphy Central Park, which is in walking distance from the Collin County Farmers Market. The well-maintained playground equipment was built in 2014.
Four Seasons Markets
Where: 329 Town Place, Fairview; 677 W. Campbell Road, Richardson
The basics: This European-style market focuses on artisan ingredients and food products at both their Fairview and Richardson locations. Browse and sample grass-fed meats, homemade pastas, macaroons and more. Fairview location is open Saturdays and Sundays. Richardson location is open Saturdays only.
Kid factor: Aside from booth after booth of sweet treats, vendor products include woodwork, knit scarves and children’s books.
Frisco Rotary Farmers Market
Where: 6048 Frisco Square Blvd., Frisco, 972/885-9419
The basics: From essential oils to goat milk soap, this market offers much more than vegetables. Every Saturday through October, shop hyper-local foods and products from North Texas.
Kid factor: If boredom sets in from vegetable overdose, take a field trip across the street to the Frisco Public Library. Story time, science classes and reading events will revitalize their energy levels.
Chestnut Square Farmers Market
Where: 315 S. Chestnut St., McKinney, 972/562-8790
The basics: Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and other responsibly raised meat can be found among produce, pastries, locally made soaps and prepared foods. Local artwork such as pottery and paintings will be on display along with artist demonstrations.
Kid factor: Face painting and pony rides. Need we say more?
Cowtown Farmers Market
Where: 3821 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth
The basics: Every Saturday morning, this market in southwest Fort Worth offers cheeses, meat, breads, preserves, fruits and vegetables. Nothing is sold here that wasn’t grown, raised or made locally.
Kid factor: In addition to your standard tomatoes and peaches, this market offers rare plants your kids might not recognize. Encourage them to find unfamiliar fruits and vegetables and ask the growers questions. They might even get to do a taste test.
Keller Farmers Market
Where: 1100 Bear Creek Parkway, Keller, 682/593-3507
The basics: Aside from offering fresh, local ingredients every Saturday, the Keller Farmers Market facilitates programs that encourage cooking with local ingredients, biking to their market and supporting nonprofits such as Bicycles for Humanity. bicycles-for-humanity.org
Kid factor: Kid-friendly prepared foods, such as tamales, wood-fired pizzas and desserts, are scattered among produce vendors. Let the kids pick their own lunch, and encourage them to talk to the chefs about how their meal was made.
Farmers Market of Grapevine
Where: 325 S. Main St., Grapevine, 817/793-8634
The basics: This Thursday–Saturday market offers strictly edible items ranging from farm fresh eggs and local honey to flavored popcorn and beef jerky.
Kid factor: The modest Liberty Park sits at a walkable distance just north of this market. Pack a Frisbee and let the kids run wild after you’ve stocked up on your weekly supply of fruits and vegetables.
Burleson Farmers Market
Where: 217 W Renfro St., Burleson, 817/233-6188
The basics: Every Saturday morning through November, shop Tarrant County produce, baked goods, essential oils and handmade cloth goods such as blankets and hair bows.
Kid factor: After the kids learn all they need to know about their dinner, head to Warren Park just a short drive down Southwest Johnson Avenue. The playground, basketball court and skating area will keep them busy until dusk.
Coppell Farmers Market
Where: 768 W. Main St., Coppell
The basics: Every Saturday through November, more than 35 vendors gather in Old Town Coppell with vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy and more. Farmers pick much of the produce found at this market within 24 hours of sale. The market hosts and promotes events, such as plant sales and farm-to-table dinners.
Kid factor: The market’s website boasts many scrumptious kid-approved recipes such as smoothies, muffins and desserts made with produce found at the market. Have your kids pick a recipe and shop for ingredients, and then let them take control in the kitchen. You’ll all enjoy the fresh meal.
Denton Community Market
Where: 317 Mulberry St., Denton
The basics: With its food vendors and local art, this market feels more like a street fair. Every Saturday morning, listen to live music while you browse homegrown produce, handmade jewelry, local artwork and beauty products.
Kid factor: Each week, the market hosts different kid-friendly vendors featuring games, interactive play and arts and crafts.
Published in the May 2015 issues of DallasChild, FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild