Happy Farm AnimalsWelcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer’s Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they’ve learned about their local farmers.

Carl doesn’t enjoy crowds.  I, by contrast, live for them.  And so we typically walk through Saturday’s market, Carl focused on the tasks at hand and I on the various sights and sounds.

I like to get the kids up early so we have plenty of time to browse and explore seasonal produce and new stalls.  Carl spends pretty much the whole time fretting about the kids sun exposure and how to keep them out of the paths of fellow market-goers.  I know this, but I selfishly still take my time.  Until this week.

This week, we did the farmers market “Carl-style”.  That’s right, Carl challenged me to be in and out of the market in under and hour.  And, thanks to some advance planning, we pulled it off.

Now, I’m not advocating rushing through life, but marriage (at least ours) does at times require compromise.  If you’re not a crowd-lover, there’s no reason to avoid the market altogether.  Here are some tips on how to make the trip hassle-free and short.  (For those of you more after my own heart, check out our previous post: Getting The Best From Our Local Farmers Market.)

1.  Pre-order.  I know, I know.  It sucks the fun out of the entire experience, but it does ensure that we get what we want (or close enough) with minimal fuss and muss.  This week, we pre-ordered our meat – sausage and ground beef – from a nearby range farm.  Since we rarely eat meat, we splurge on quality when we can.  This range pork and grass-fed beef is divine!

2.  Meal plan.  Since it is high season here, it is easy to go to the market with a list of what we wanted to round out the week’s meals.  At less fruitful times, we have to be more open and creative, but not now.  Right now it’s pretty much “ask and ye shall receive”.  And this week’s “asks” were lots of salad greens, kale, broccoli, beets, summer squash, zucchini and loads of berries.

3.  Bring lots of cash (including small change).  Although some stalls do accommodate payment by debit or credit, it’s always fastest to just shell out cash.  Furthermore, exact change is coveted like a gift from the gods.

4.  Focus the kids.  Normally, we let our kids wander the market and then ask us for something special.  We let them choose one special thing for themselves – whether it’s a home-baked treat or a toy or a plant – as long as it doesn’t break the bank.  Although exciting for the kids, choosing something can be overwhelming and time consuming.  So, just this week, we started talking about balloon animals early.  We spent much of the car ride asking which one they’d choose.  So, when we saw the animals, it was a no-brainer.  This probably saved an hour in and of itself.

By planning as such, we did get everything on our list (and then some) within the allocated hour without frantically rushing about.  We also had time to throw in a couple of small impulse purchases – a cupcake for the kids and some Korean barbecue for me.  Carl, of course, skipped his desired pizza in favor of just “getting the heck out of there”.

I’m not saying we’ll attempt this again, but perhaps we can adopt elements of it.  At the end we had 2 happy (and full) kids, a fulfilled mom and an ecstatic dad.  Not a bad start to a Saturday.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

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(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 14 with all the carnival links.)


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About the Author

Just a small town mom trying to make the world a better place for my kids. One small change at a time.

7 Responses to The Farmers Market In Under An Hour (“Carl Style”)

  1. Ok I know it’s not the focus of your post, but I love the idea of letting the kids pick out one special thing. I might take that a step further and give Kieran a set amount of money that he gets to spend. Perhaps it will even teach him how to barter ;)

  2. Your husband sounds like mine! He hates any kind of shopping without a focus but he always wants to come with me. Thank you for sharing your strategy it sounds like a good one, I might be making use of some of it.

  3. Gretchen says:

    My hubby used to shop exactly like this :) Then he discovered bacon wrapped hot dogs at one of the food stands and now he is content to wander around with me as long as he gets is market treat!

  4. Megz says:

    This is SO cute! under an hour is super-impressive, we usually end up circling and circling lol…. and yer right having cash is where its at!

  5. My husband isn’t a fan of crowds, either, so I’ve typically done our farmer’s market shopping with our kids (when they were at home) or by myself. If they had booksellers at farmer’s markets, then I’d be able to get my husband to come along! ;) It’s awesome that you figured out a compromise and planned ahead to make it work for everyone!

  6. Heh heh, this is so funny. I love that you went Carl Style for a trip — he must have appreciated having you try it his way. I’m definitely not usually that efficient, but I do have many moments where I hate crowds and dithering, so I have to give some of your tips a try for our next shopping trips!

  7. Lorie says:

    Your description of your husband made me smile. I can totally relate to having different shopping styles!

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