There’s something so idyllic about leisurely wandering through a farmers’ market, filling your basket with fresh produce you will lovingly prepare for your family. But then there’s the harsh reality of negotiating around vegetable displays with a stroller and squalling kids who are not interested in stopping to smell the rutabaga. If your kiddos aren’t mini market fans, check out some of these local farmers’ markets, all with a little something extra to delight your little ones.
Photo: Lily A. via Flickr
South Mountain Creamery/Karen’s Kountry Store
Families on the hunt for a fun Farmer’s Market on a random weekday should head up to South Mountain Creamery stat. This place puts the farm in farmer’s market! City kids can check out baby calves (springtime), feed the cows, and even watch Mabel, Bella, Cora, and others being milked! Farm fresh produce, ice cream and other treats are available in Karen’s Kountry store so you can have fresh from the field veggies, direct from the dairy milk, ice cream treats and no-nagging little ones. Sounds like heaven on Earth to us.
8305 Bolivar Rd. (Middletown, Md)
Open: Mon-Fri, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
Old Town Farmer’s Market
Miniature history buffs will get a charge out of visiting the Old Town Farmer’s Market. Not only is it the oldest continuous market in the good ol’ U S of A, but our first President himself used to send produce from Mount Vernon to be sold here. Wannabe George’s sister can also have some fun by perusing the stalls filled with jewelry, paintings, flowers and more. There are more than 70 vendors so each member of the family can have fun walking around the market and trying out different things such as having your picture painted by Len Garon, grabbing some fresh juice from Senzu or checking out Lenard Dove’s gorgeous flowers. Old, new or seasoned visitor, there really is something for everyone!
King St. (Alexandria, Va)
Open: Saturday, 7 a.m.-12 p.m.
USDA Farmer’s Market
Pint-sized urban farmer wannabes should check out the USDA’s weekly farmer’s market and its Veg U program designed to teach peeps about growing, picking, and cooking their very own fruits and veggies. Classes are only about 10 to 15 minutes so they are perfect for short attention spans and wiggly kiddos. After your “veg-u-cation” peruse the aisles of seedlings, crops and sundries to get a jump start on menu planning AND keep the kiddos occupied before heading home to plant rows and rows of seeds and join Future Farmers of America. Bonus? Hungry hungry hippos can check out a bunch of food trucks parked during lunchtime – we’re particularly fond of DC Puddin’s red beans and rice.
Independence Ave. & 12th St., SW
Open: May-Oct, Friday, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Strawberries, fresh asparagus, onions, and custom cut beef, pork and chicken await families visiting Shlagel Farm – a taste of the country with a bit of a city market hiding in the barns. Little ones can get their bellies (and faces!) full of strawberries and then head into the market where fresh produce and meat await to be taken home and turned into delicious “farm to table” meals. There’s a Strawberry Bench to Instagram your adventures and creates of strawberries to be picked. Sounds like the perfect getaway for a sunny afternoon.
12850 Shlagel Rd. (Waldorf, Md)
Open: May-Oct, Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon
Miller Farms Farmers Market at National Harbor
If kids designed farmers’ markets they would have merry-go-rounds and Ferris wheels. Behold the holy grail of farmers’ markets—already in existence at National Harbor. Miller Farms offers fruits, veggies, flowers, plants, and famous homemade apple cider doughnuts from its Maryland farm. National Harbor supplies the carousel ($7 for unlimited rides!) and the Capital Wheel, not to mention the cool factor of arriving and departing via water taxi.
American Way near the fountain (National Harbor)
Open: weekends, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Bethesda Central Farm Market
Bethesda Central Farm Market, with over 60 vendors, is known for outstanding prepared food. Your children will pine for pastries at Patisseries Poupon and wish for waffles at Les Caprices de Joelle, while grownups will appreciate lobster rolls and Zeke’s coffee. Grab your snacks and head to the Caroline Freeland Urban Park for a picnic, located a short five-minute walk down the road. Just beyond are the restaurants and shops along Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues for when your littles get their second wind.
7600 Arlington Rd. (Bethesda, Md)
Open: Sunday, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Children’s National Hospital
If you want your kids to have a side of kindness with their veggies, check out the Arcadia Mobile Farmers Market on the main campus of Children’s National Hospital. The 28-foot green bus sells locally grown and sustainably produced fruits, vegetables, eggs, and meat. After they shop, your little citizens of the world can donate new books, toys, clothing, and gift cards to Dr. Bear’s Closet for patients at the hospital.
111 Michigan Ave, NW near the WIC Clinic
Open: Wednesday, 1-4 p.m.; Donation drop-off is Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-noon and 3 p.m.-6 p.m.
City of Falls Church Farmers’ Market
Quite possibly the best market in the area—the American Farmland Trust puts it in its top five medium-sized markets in the country—this market has it all: 50 vendors; a monthly series where chefs from area restaurants share tastes using local, seasonal food; and—wait for it—fresh doughnuts made on site! Donut Heaven fries up delectable dough right in front of your kid’s hungry nose. If doughnuts don’t do it for them (say what?), there’s Kate’s Crepes and Pops ‘n Chill, an artisanal handmade popsicle stand with fruity flavors like roasted peaches and cantaloupe.
300 Park Ave. (Falls Church, Va)
Open: Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon
Do you have a favorite farmer’s market? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
–HiIary Riedemann and Emily Coleman Dibella