Using Local Farmers Markets As Practice For Travel

 In Travel Tips

Farmers markets offer food, fun and a little practical experience

I love a good farmers market. I don’t care what country I am in. It is one of the first things I look up in a new place. Farmers markets are where you find local people and the local flavors of an area whether it’s just down the street or in an adorable town in the south of France (the Sunday market at L’Isle sur la Sorgue was one of my first abroad.) It’s easy to immerse yourself right away.

Local produce of every color, shape and size fill the market

We are very lucky to have some fantastic summer and even year round farmers markets in Seattle. The colors, sights and smells call out to me. Even if I don’t need anything that day, you can probably find me pulling over with Dek on our way to an appointment to see what’s happening.

A few free samples are just an added bonus to a trip to the local outdoor market

There is also another reason I love farmers markets. It’s a great way to prepare Dek for travel. This may sound strange, but it’s true. Farmers markets are open spaces with crowds. There is a lot going on. Sometimes other languages are even being spoken and certainly there are some unfamiliar foods offered.

Vendor prepared foods send delicious smells our way

Dek gets a chance to check out the crowd and maybe dance along to some music. I get to look out for him while surveying what the market has to offer. We’ve almost got it figured out so I can take a few pictures while Dek chats up the person working the stand (it’s amazing how much a 2 year old can babble about carrots.)

Watch your kid dance away to some local sounds

The experience is sometimes even more important for me, especially if Mike isn’t with us. Bringing Dek to a farmers market slows me down. I used to just pursue the stands and what they were selling. Maybe pick up a kilo of strawberries (yes, I like strawberries that much) or take a couple of pictures of the stinky cheese. With Dek along for the ride, I find myself stopping for more than 5 seconds and actually talking to the merchants, petting every puppy we come across, and seeing what else is on the table besides the strawberries.

Artists, art contests, food, flowers and fun fill the Bellevue Farmers Market

I like this little bit of practice for our travels. Since markets are something we always check out wherever we go, the idea isn’t so foreign to Dek when we get there. Dek may not fit all of the pieces together, but he does notice stands of food and people behind them. He knows mama might just buy him a treat if he’s lucky, and more importantly, if she remembers cash.

Veraci pizza is our favorite stop at the local farmers market in Seattle

I also get more comfortable following after Dek as he explores. I can step back and let him figure things out with out hovering 3cm behind him. I can now give him 12-24 cm instead. We both get to have a little stress-free (or maybe just slightly less nerve wracking) time together exploring.

Rain or shine, you can still find us at a farmers market no matter where we go

This type of “practice” really can be done anywhere if you think about it. Travel can be filled with chaos and crowds or calm and quiet alleys. If your child is like mine, you are getting out of the house every day anyway to keep them entertained, why not head to the zoo, the funky art neighborhood across town or just a walk to your local market. Don’t look at it as a chore though. Look at it as an adventure. After all, that is why we travel with our kids. The adventures and excitement we find together is more than half the fun.

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Showing 4 comments
  • Lisa

    I love markets too! When we were in Provence the market in Gordes was one of Katie and Emma’s favourite things to do. All our market day pics have Katie walking around with a baguette in her hand – you can’t beat the French markets for good bread.

  • Mara Gorman (@motherofalltrip)

    You and I think alike in so many ways! First of all, I love farmers markets, especially nice ones with music and artisinal samples. But I completely agree also that outings like this are important – not just because they prepare kids to travel but because they are in themselves their own form of travel – I used to call them daytrip adventures on my site. I firmly believe that even an outing to the farmers market can be an important way to help kids engage with the world around them.

    Oh, and then of course, there are the strawberries…

  • Mom

    Having developed into an anxious grandmother, I like the idea that the experience gives you both practice in crowds. And, of course, I love farmer’s markets as much as you do. I have found it’s best to limit the amount of cash I carry, or I might empty the bank account on all the goodies and fun that is found there.

  • D Murphy

    I love farmers markets, we have them over here in the UK too, the food tastes so much better than buying from the supermarket.

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