There's no better time of year to try, so I've included a list of my favorite spots to get the freshest possible produce into your child's hands!
Who hasn't heard the words try, try again? I think they aptly apply to getting kids to eat their fruits and vegetables! Studies show that it can take as many as 10-15 tries before a child starts to like a particular fruit or vegetable.
Increased exposure to fruits and vegetables leads to greater likelihood of trying which leads to increased liking....so if at first you don't succeed, try, try again! And again. And again. And...you get it.
And what better time of year to try! There are so many opportunities to get your (kids) hands on freshly grown produce; why not take advantage of it! Rather than coerce them to try something that's been picked ages ago halfway across the country or world, trucked or shipped miles and miles and miles, artificially ripened along the way, and delivered to your grocery with sub-par taste....
....have your child go pick something packed with flavor and TRY it! Here's a list of some of my favorite places and ways to get fresh produce:
Farmer's Market season has begun! There are many Farmers Markets around the Des Moines metro and the rest of our country. By and large, farmers are really nice folks. And most of them would be happy to talk with your kids about the bounty of produce on their table. If you head to the Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market, some of my favorite farms include Coyote Run Farm, Busy Bee Garden Center, Grinnell Heritage Farm, and Grade A Gardens. They would be happy to talk with your child too! There are also a lot of farm stands popping up, like Dogpatch Urban Gardens in Des Moines, which sells right on the farm.
- Busy Bee Garden Center
- Coyote Run Farm: They're sometimes at the Downtown Farmers Market and weekly year-round at Plymouth Congregational Church.
- Grinnell Heritage Farm
- Grade A Gardens
- Dogpatch Urban Gardens
Purchase a CSA or order through a Co-op: Both of these options give you freshly picked produce straight from local farms. The acronym CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and gives you the opportunity to "purchase" a share of the farm's bounty. Each week for a specified time frame, you pick up "your share" which is a box of produce. This is a great way to try some new veggies that you and your family might not yet be familiar with...but never fear, they usually provide some recipes so that you will know what to do! Grinnell Heritage Farms is one of my favorite farms and they have strong CSA program. Grade A Gardens does too! The Iowa Food Coop operates year-round and has a free 6 month trial membership. You order what you want, and pick it up every other week.
Visit a farm and pick your own: These farms won't have lots of "entertainment" but they will have real, ripe produce you can pick. This is a annual favorite in my household. If you live in the Des Moines area, you can pick all sorts of berries and apples at the Berry Patch in Nevada, apples at Wills Orchard in Adel, and last week I discovered Upstream Gardens in Altoona where I picked my own rhubarb and asparagus.
Grow your own garden: Hand's down, this is the best way (in my opinion) to make it all start to click for your child. Plant the seed (literally and figuratively), water it, and watch it grow. If your child grows something, there's a really good chance they will want to try it! And if you don't have a lot of space, that's OK! I've had to garden in pots for the last several years, and while I don't think the yield is as good as it would be in the ground, it's certainly worthwhile! In some ways, I think this might be the best way to introduce your child to growing food. Give them complete control over what they grow in their own space and watch them be amazed!
Check out the links above that I mentioned. No, I don't get paid for any of it, but think they're worth sharing! Besides being really nice folks, I'm a big fan of each of these farms because they commit to sustaining the earth, and for the most part they are certified organic or pledge to be chemical free. So take advantage of the bounty of the season and try, try again!