Friday, August 10, 2018

Sprout Scouts Playcamp: Grow Your Own Green Thumb, From Farm[ers Market] to Table

Here at the Sprout Scouts Playcamp, the garden is in its next phase of harvest. Many things are blooming and growing in spite of me and we're enjoying a small but bountiful harvest of fresh herbs, tomatoes, green beans, flowers, and even still some hot peppers. We have faced and organically fought squash bugs and have one mini pumpkin and one mini gourd to show for it. We have done a fair amount of taste testing, cooking, baking and preserving in our kitchen, but when it came to the next part of our Grow Your Own Green Thumb play-theme, taking it from the garden to the table, I decided to leave our home altogether and head to the local Farmers Market. We've made occasional visits to farmers markets here this summer and when we had an unexpected day freed up to visit one of my favorites, we brought our bags, our appetites and a great free printable scavenger hunt from Natural Beach Living. You can print off your own and other great farmers market themed printables here! S and Y both got to pick a fruit or vegetable to taste and bring home. S wanted nectarines and Y wanted cucumbers (probably to make pickles, his new favorite food).

Getting out in the garden is a great way to get kids involved in growing, tasting and cooking with their own fresh produce. Whether you have an adventurous eater or a more tentative taster (I've got one of each now), experiencing the full process of seasonal eating is a valuable experience. If you live near a farmers market, I highly encourage you to take your family on an adventure. Try something new. Talk to the farmers. Get excited about fruits, veggies and flowers! If you do not live near a farmers market, consider a trip to a U-pick farm (we went strawberry picking earlier this summer) or even a trip to your local grocery store. 

Scavenger hunts are a great way to explore the colors and flavors of the season. Consider researching recipes for a new to you fruit or vegetable. We even made an adventure (and a bracha) out of trying a new fruit from a produce stand in Brooklyn, NY while on vacation! Another option if your location and budget permit is to join a CSA and have locally grown produce delivered right to your door (or another nearby location) year round. We subscribe to one on a bi-weekly basis and adjust our grocery budget accordingly. This helps us to eat in season and be a bit more creative about recipe planning and using what we have.

Summer is a great season to grow and harvest a plethora of produce. As it comes to a close, we will enjoy the flavors of Autumn and get creative about savoring and preserving the remaining summer abundance. We will also get creative about continuing to garden both outdoors in our longer southern summer season and then indoors once the cool weather arrives. It feels important to still be surrounded by growth, life and fresh flavors! Until the next time...

Happy Playing!

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