Monday, August 13, 2012

Unschooling at our Farmers Market

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by

Code Name: Mama and


This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.

As some of you know, I'm a potter. I opened up a studio last year... and as a result I have been attending more farmers markets this summer than any other year. (maybe 1-2 times a month) Of course, going as a vendor is a bit of a different experience... And it's been good for our whole family!

I remember the evening before our first market, we had a startling revelation that getting our whole family there was going to be no small feat. You see, we drive an hour and a half to the market!! With 3 very heavy totes full of pottery, 2 display tables, a shelf, and a large shade tent; add our 2 children, food for the day and a very active puppy, and WOW, that is one crazy morning!! We have to leave the house by around 7am, so we have plenty of time to drive over the mountain and around the lake.

So why sign up to doing that with our children?!

Because it's a really, really fun day together :) AND it's a day full of learning, which for us, as Natural Learners is a really big deal!

We have been a part of 3 different markets, but one of them is definitely our favorite. It has a really festive feel! There's live music, and hoopers, and stilts. There's bakers, and farmers, and jewelers, a lady who makes beautiful scarves, photographers and a lady who makes dog treats. It is RICH with things to look at and learn about; and RICH with people to learn from. This market is a major tourist destination; the last time we went, we met people visiting from Germany, Sweden, and Brazil, as well as the locals and some who were visiting from interior BC. Seriously, How cool is that?!

My daughter is an artist too; she couldn't even help it if she tried... she is so full of Creativity and Beauty and Talent, I can't even narrow it down and say "She is a Jeweler" or "She's a Dancer" or "She's a Musician" because she's not. She's an ARTIST! And she amazes me everyday. At markets she sells her jewelry, and she's started belly dancing at them also. She's had to learn about budgeting, and marketing and talking with people. She's gotten pretty comfortable visiting vendors, and asking them all about how they make what they do... she has discovered bartering and trades!

If we have successful day sales-wise, we visit a local who sells fresh caught CRAB!! YUM! We also visit and explore one of the beaches. It makes for a Beautiful day!

One of the other markets was only a 40 minute drive from where we live, but when we got there it was a completely different experience. This was mainly a FOOD market!! Beautiful produce, and soaps, baked goods, home made sauces and cheeses, and organic meat. Did I mention it was dumping down RAIN?! SO much rain.... but the locals were all there, on foot, and on bikes, pushing stollers, and clutching their umbrellas! Many of them brought their own baskets to fill. As I mentioned though, this was mainly a FOOD market, so we didn't do very well sales-wise. In fact, we didn't sell a single thing... I guess, handmade dishes aren't groceries? lol

That day we learned about putting a smile on in the rain, and just being there to meet people, both the shoppers and the vendors. Just enjoying the day, was a great lesson.... oh, and we learned which market to go to when we want some Great FOOD!

Market Days have become something we really look forward to as a family. I've started reflecting on what kinds of memories my children will bring with them into adulthood,
and I think these will be good ones.
Our rag-tag, gypsy family rolling out of bed 
already in our clothes for the day,
loading into the already packed-up van and dreamily trekking over the mountain... open to whatever adventures await us at the Market.

Feel free to check out my goodies at:



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • 10 Simple Ways to Make the Farmer's Market More Fun for Kids — Lorie at Reading Confetti shares ideas and books to help kids get the most from the farmers market experience.
  • 10 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter About The Importance of Shopping at the Farmer’s Market — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares the ten lessons she hopes to impart to her daughter about the importance of shopping at local farmers markets.
  • Charmed by Two Small Town Markets — Shannon at GrowingSlower was charmed by two small-town farmers markets while on vacation.
  • The Olympia Farmer's Market (and a giveaway!) — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes and family took a trip to their state capitol to experience a new market. See what they saw, and enter to win a book written about that very market.
  • — Exploring the farmers market by Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writing at Natural Parents Network — with a scavenger hunt!
  • Exploring the Market ... Alphabet StyleThat Mama Gretchen is in the midst of creating a learning tool for her toddler and it's all about the market!
  • Unschooling at the Farmers Market — Megz at Aspen Mama loves building memories as a vendor at the Market.
  • Montessori-Inspired Vegetable Unit — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares links to Montessori-inspired vegetable printables and activities to help your family get the most out of a trip to the farmer’s market.
  • Markets — How sustainable mum has fitted a monthly farmers market into a weekly food shop.
  • The Farmers Market In Under An Hour ("Carl Style") — Andrea and family at Tales of Goodness adapt their farmers marketing approach to make everyone happy.
  • Tales Of a Troubled Gardener — Sam at Love Parenting writes about her dream of self-sufficiency and her lack of gardening skills!
  • A Few {Of The Many} Reasons Why I Love Our Farmer’s Market — Even though the experience can sometimes be less than peaceful, MomeeeZen shares why she enjoys taking her family to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings.
  • Experiencing the Farmer's Market from a Different Perspective — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM had a great time letting her toddler lead the way at the farmer's market...
  • Ask A Farmer's Daughter — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter answers questions about her life growing up on a small family farm in New England.
  • Giving Up the Grocery Store — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her family's summertime challenge to eliminate trips to the grocery store and rely almost exclusively on local, farm-fresh foods.
  • Urban farming and fresh food in the city — Lauren at Hobo Mama takes trips to farms, gardens, and markets within reach of a big city.
  • Market Tip: Get to Know Your Farmers — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finally gets up the guts to talk to her farmers and learns she is among ardent food lovers.
  • New Farmer's Market Find — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is excited to make a new find at her new farmers market.
  • "The Real World" Grassroots Edition — jessica at instead of institution takes some time out to write a love note.
  • 9 Insider Tips for Farmer's Market Newbies — Dionna at Code Name: Mama chatted with a few farmers to bring you some insider information on how to get the most out of your local farmer's market.
  • The Place Where I Can Say "Yes!" — Erica at ChildOrganics gives you a tour of her favorite vendors at her local farmers market and discusses the benefits of creating community through the market.
  • Raw Local Milk — Jorje shares her family's field trip to a local dairy. Learn what you can appreciate from a small town farm at Momma
  • Italian Secret Vegetable Soup Recipe — Alinka at Baby Web convinces an Italian Farmer & Cook to reveal a precious minestrone recipe and shares it with her readers.
  • Where do our eggs come from? A visit to Sucellus Farms. — Carli at One Fit Mom takes her family to meet the chickens that have been providing their daily eggs.
  • Beyond the Farm — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and her family enjoy looking beyond the food at the local farmer's market to see the wares of the over vendors.
  • Magic at the Market — Do you ever take time to really look at the food you eat? Amy at Anktangle enjoys marveling at the beauty (and the utility) of the foods and goods available at the farmers' market.
  • Farmer's Market Discoveries — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen reminisces about the discoveries she's made at the Farmer's Market throughout the years.
  • Are You Getting the Most out of Your Farmers' Market? (My List of Not-So-Common "Musts") — Sheila at A Living Family shares some uncommon ways to squeeze even more joy and connection (and yumminess!) from your local farmers' market experience.
  • Pick Your Own And Eat It — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares their trip to a PYO farm and the journey from picking to eating her favourite food

    1. This sounds beautiful, and what an experience to watch your daughter shine artistically and more!

    2. Those markets sound amazing, totally different to anything that I have ever visited. It is great when learning happens everywhere.

    3. Oh, I've done a few markets recently for my business. I find it so hard! Your description of the markets sound wonderful though!

    4. I love that your market experience is so focused on family! I'm sure you'll all cherish your experience for years to come :)

      1. It is hard!! Lol of course I didn't go into details about the hard parts ...haha
        Mostly, I think because it's just worth it, so I tend to overlook the tough parts, except for when I'm in the middle of them. Lol. And then I'm thankful for a husband who helps a ton xD

    5. What a wonderful experience for your family! And how great for the people attending the markets. I always love finding farmer's markets with items beyond the usual produce (although I love that, too). Wishing you the best of luck in your market experiences! :)

    6. I love the way you describe this! The getting up and out early would be the hardest part for us. :) But I love that your children are such an integral part of your craft. Your daughter sounds like such a creative spirit, and a good businesswoman!

      I've checked out your pottery, and it's gorgeous. Thanks for sharing with us!

    7. Great post - you almost make me want to jam my family in the car at 7am and head to the nearest market. (Almost.) I love your ideas about learning at the market - marketing, business plans and bartering - all good things for kids to know. Thanks!