Photo by Adriana Velez
Summer is here, and it's officially time to lure your kids to the farmers' market! One of the best ways to get kids interested in healthy food and willing to try new things is to let them pick out food themselves. And where else do you have so many healthy choices than the farmers' market?

Here are a few tips -- especially for those of you new to farmers' markets -- for making this excursion as fun as possible.

  • Talk with your kids about what makes the farmers' market special: It's all food straight from local farms sold by the farmers themselves. They get to meet the people who grow the food!
  • Set some ground rules about tasting (only if they're told they can) and sticking close to parents.  
  • Invite your kids to pick out three foods to buy. Bonus points for adventurous eaters: Limit picks to just fruits and vegetables.
  • Farmers' markets can be crowded, so if you bring a stroller, always be considerate of other shoppers and avoid blocking aisles. Try to help your kids be aware of the other shoppers around them, too.
  • If it's not too crowded, consider introducing your kids to farmers who sell food they're especially excited about. Encourage them to ask questions about how the food is grown and to touch and smell everything.
  • If you're worried about bringing home a lot of food you don't know how to cook, focus on buying just a few hand-held fruits and salad ingredients (raw = no cooking!).
  • Afterward ask your kids what they thought of the market. What smelled good? What smelled gross? What surprised them? What did they learn?
  • Invite your kids to help prepare the food they picked at the farmers' market.

Serious Eats has some great how-to tips for shopping at farmers' markets.

Do you bring your kids to the farmers' market?