This summer, my kids and I spent a lot of time visiting our local farmers markets while my husband was out training for his fourth Ironman. Since I love connecting my family to the people behind the food we eat, exploring farmers markets was a simple, yet effective way for me to do this with them.
I wanted my children to understand that there are real people, animals, and crops behind every food item in our home. So when they were inhaling a bag of their favorite potato chips at the beach, I wanted them to visualize the potato farmers out east. When they were biting into a freshly picked piece of fruit, I wanted them to appreciate the families that grow and tend to all of the farms we collected fruit from this year. In short, I just wanted them to understand where their food really comes from.
So, each time we visited a farmers market, I let them pick out something new to try. There were no hard and fast rules to this little “taste exploration” game of ours, but it had to be something that they had never tried before. Sometimes, they chose something healthy like fresh strawberries or cucumbers from one of the farms out east. Other times, their sweet tooth kicked in and they impishly told me that they’d never had a gluten-free rainbow cookie and they should try one “just to see if they liked it.”
It didn’t really matter to me what they decided to buy. The decision was theirs. I just tried to make the experience a fun, positive way for them to try new things and practice their manners. My children liked to go to the stalls all by themselves and talk to the vendors without me. I was always lurking nearby, but I gave them the impression that they were on their own. Together, they would sample something, ask some questions, and then make a purchase—all while remembering to be polite and use their manners.
It became a delicious way for us to spend some quality time together. There were times when they loved their treats and eagerly asked for more. But there were also times where they hated what they bought and asked if they could spit it out in a napkin. Either way, it was all part of the learning process.
Now, instead of our dinnertime conversations solely revolving around school and Fortnite, they also swing back to the interesting people at the farmer’s markets. My daughter likes to chat about the “amazing” homemade soaps in Bay Shore while my son raves about the “honey guy” in Port Jeff. They talk about the “awesome pretzel people” in Babylon as well as the “old farmers like Grandma and Grandpa” in Sayville. They even know that Port Washington is the only “all organic” market on Long Island and that’s a pretty cool thing for two young kids to know.
My children are slowly starting to understand that the grocery store isn’t the end all be all and I couldn’t be happier. Farmers markets can be found all year long on Long Island. So even though winter’s here, you can still stock up on local goods at all of these winter farmers markets!
7 Winter Farmers Markets To Visit This Weekend
Located at the Village Center on 101-A East Broadway, right next to Danford’s, this well-seasoned market is open every Sunday from 10–2 pm now through April 22nd. Each week, visitors can stock their pantry with items from vendors like Under the Table Hot Sauce, Miss Mollie’s Brownies, JoAnn’s Desserts, Stoic Artisans Kombucha, and Bewitched Bee Honey. Find out more: Instagram.
NEW: This is the first year that the Sea Cliff Farmers Market is trying a winter market. Located inside the Creative Arts Studio at 256 Sea Cliff Ave, you can check them out every Saturday from 12–4 pm now through March 31st. Make sure you check out local favorites like Steiner’s Coffee Cakes, Horman’s Best Pickles, Conscious Kitchen, NY Bone Broth and Soup, and Dominick’s Honey. Find out more: Facebook, Instagram.
Located at 54 East Main Street, this popular market is open every Saturday from 10-2 pm now through April 27th. Visitors can shop for local favorites like TEND Coffee, Saltbird Cellars, Backyard Brine, Sang Lee Farms, and Peconic River Herb Farm. Find out more: Facebook, Instagram, website.
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Tomorrow #december 30th #Last Market Of 2018 !!!! #Sunday is always a #Funday with us …. #ShopLocal #supportsmallbusiness #huntington #NY #Long island #Live #Music by the #Lovely #deniseromas #farmersmarket open at 9AM Having a NYE’s Party ? We got you covered #NYS Cheese #Vegan #glutenfree #Veggies #Soups #Coffee #frenchmacarons ##mushrooms #microgreens Location: 253 Oakwood Road Huntington NY @wildstylellc @nautilus_roasting @frozensintruck @thebigcheeseny @macaron_5_chic @streetleafsjonny @terranut @crepesandbakestruck @finestfoodsny @littlelexibarkery
This North Shore market can be found at the Jefferson Primary School on 253 Oakwood Road, every Sunday from 9-1 pm now through March 31st. Customers can listen to live music while they shop at local vendors like Laurel’s Butters, Sprout Box / Finest Foods, Finks Family Farm, SweetChef Pastry Gluten free, and Finn’s smoked fish dips. Find out more: Facebook, Instagram, website.
NEW: This winter market opened up on November 17th and will stay open through April. Located in the old Ice House at 414 First Street, this market is open for business on Saturdays from 9-2 pm and Sundays from 11-3 pm. Make sure you check out local favorites like Alice’s Fish Market, Tilth & Smoke, Twin Stills Moonshine, Simply Nicki Nutbutters, and Talk Treats to Me. Find out more: Facebook, Instagram, web site.
Located in the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church at 117 Carleton Avenue, this market is open every Saturday from 9-2 pm now through April 20th. Customers can shop from a variety of vendors like BenElla’s Bread Company, Nautilus Roasting Company, Carruci Family Farms, Little Lexi’s Barkery, Dragon’s Nest Baked Goods, and Macaron 5 chic.
The Levittown Farmers Market
NEW: This market will be held every Saturday from 9-1 pm starting February 2nd and running through April 6th. Located in the Good Shepard Lutheran Church at 3434 Hempstead Turnpike, it will be held indoors at first, but as soon as the nicer weather returns, it will move out to the front lawn. In addition to food trucks in the parking lot from 11-2pm, shoppers can also check out vendors like The Famous Meatballers, Lauren’s Organic Elderberry, Muffin and James Doggie Bags, All the Buzz Honey, and Knots of this World. Find out more: Facebook, Instagram, website.