By Julia Howard, Saratoga Farmers’ Market Director
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market has wrapped up its first-ever Power of Produce Club for the summer. However, as fall approaches, market vendors, volunteers, and staffers encourage parents and their children to continue the journey of connecting the food they eat to the farmers that grow it.
The club began in June with support from a $500 grant from Stewarts Shops, and took place during each Wednesday market from June 1 through August 31. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 received a passport and a $2 POP token to spend on fresh produce. They participated in a range of activities that included tasting and planting herbs, creating fruit cone snacks, using the Cornell Cooperative Extension Office’s bicycle blender to create a smoothie in a blender powered by a bicycle, preparing granola balls and fruit kebab rainbows, going on vegetable scavenger hunts throughout the market, and talking with farmers to learn about healthy food.
“We loved it,” said one mother, Courtney, whose three-year-old daughter Althea was a regular POP Club participant. “It’s teaching kids about eating local and about eating fruits and vegetables.”
Another participant was Anika, age 6. “Anika loved using the tokens and getting to buy her own fruits and vegetables,” said her mother, Marketa.
Children who participated in the POP Club received a stamp on their passports and prizes each time they earned four stamps. They included BPA free water bottles, baseball bats and balls, jump ropes, herb growing kits, and sidewalk chalk. More than 25 children received these prizes over the course of the summer.
“This has been our favorite thing to do on Wednesdays,” said Stephanie, the mother of four-year-olds Xander and Lydia. “We love coming and getting a stamp on our passports.”
As a mother myself, my goal was to educate children about healthy eating first. I also saw the program as a way to build stronger connections between the market and the communities we serve. I was delighted to welcome Stewarts Shops, Cornell Cooperative Extension, and Serendipity Arts Studio as participants. We look forward to continuing to see parents and children at our market, and will continue to offer healthy eating tips in our online newsletter every week.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market takes place 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park.
Hold The Ice Cream
Adapted from www.tasteofhome.com
This healthy snack is as fun to make as it is to eat! We found this to be one of our favorite POP Club activities and we hope you enjoy it too.
*Ingredients available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
• Fresh seasonal fruit (blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, raspberries) *
• Vanilla or maple yogurt *
• Small ice cream cones
Prepare fruit by cutting or scooping into bite sized pieces. Small fruit such as berries may be left whole. Fill ice cream cone with fruit and top with a scoop of yogurt.