canton_sweet_cornWhether visiting a new town or staying in your own, a farmers’ market can provide more than just fresh fruits and vegetables – many have activities geared toward even the youngest visitors. Try a farmers’ market next weekend for some fresh family fun.

My family and I recently visited the nearby Canton, Mich, Farmers’ Market on a Sunday morning. While this market is small, vendors offered fresh, in-season, and Michigan-made or -grown produce, honey and baked goods, as well as plants, dairy products, and handmade items such as quilts and soap products.

Farmers’ markets are an excellent way for both kids and grownups to learn more about where our food comes from and how it’s grown–something especially important for individuals who have food allergies or sensitivities. What’s more, because the food has traveled fewer miles to get to the market, it’s fresher, packed with more vitamins and, in many cases, less expensive than grocery store fare.

Many of the markets have children’s activities; on the Sunday we visited the Canton market, a bounce house was set up for the little ones to enjoy. In addition, there was a sing-along and storytime, and a shady area was set up for drawing and other crafts. A band provided live music nearby, with seating for the audience.

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Things to Bring to a Farmer’s Market

Your own bags – both reusable grocery bags and a few produce bags or zip top plastic bags to hold onto your goodies. While most vendors will have a stock of bags on hand, they’ll appreciate it if you have your own.

Also consider an insulated bag or a cooler to keep fruits and vegetables fresh and minimize spoiling, especially if you’re not headed home immediately or are purchasing dairy items.

Sunscreen and a sun hat – many times, very little shade can be found at an outdoor market. Wearing a sun hat and sunscreen can protect your skin and that of your little ones as well.

To find a local farmers’ market, visit the Local Harvest website.

Looking for more family vacation activities in Southeast Michigan? Consider one of the many free things to do in nearby Ann Arbor, Mich.

Teresa Shaw writes about family travels in and around Southeast Michigan. Follow her on Twitter at @Teresashaw or visit her website at teresajshaw.com