Local Summer Learning with Food

Summer is a great time to learn using the world around us. Learning about food is an important way to teach your children appreciation for nature.

girl with carrotsVisit a Farm
Many kids are curious about where their food comes from. With so many local farms in our community, we can offer our children firsthand experience and knowledge of how our food grows. For a list of local farms visit http://albanyvisitors.com/visitors/dining/farms-and-farmers-markets and enjoy a prime educational opportunity.

Sunbow Farm offers families a unique chance to dive into the farming experience. They allow families to volunteer on the farm in exchange for fresh organic produce. This work trade opportunity is available on Tuesday and Thursdays either 9am to noon or 2pm-5pm. .Visit http://www.sunbowfarm.org/index.php for more information.

Head Down to a Farmer’s Market
Corvallis Farmer’s Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday from 9am to 1pm from now until November 22. You can find it on the corner of First Street and Jackson Avenue in downtown Corvallis. In addition to fresh local produce, they have meats, cheese, dairy, pies, jams, jellies,live music, dancing, and occasional special events. Visit  https://www.facebook.com/Corvallis.Farmers.Market/ for more information.

The Albany Farmer’s Market is open on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm. Located at 4th and Ellsworth, which is the City Hall parking lot. Vendors offer local honey, mushrooms, peppermint oil, local meat and poultry, and a wonderful selection of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Visit https://www.facebook.com/Albany.OR.Farmers.Market/ for more information.

Prepare Food With Your Children
-Frozen Fruit Kabobs- allow your child to cut up (depending on age) or use a melon baller to scoop out balls of their preferred fruit. Then thread the fruit onto bamboo skewers and freeze for at least two hours. For an optional treat you can drizzle them with melted chocolate before freezing.
-Shaped sandwiches- Use a cookie cutter to cut sandwiches into fun shapes. It can make those ordinary sandwiches a work of art.
-Toothpick rollups- using ham, turkey or your favorite lunch meat fold it in half and roll it up filled with yummy vegetables and cream cheese, Frozen-Fruit-Kabobs-with-Chocolate-Drizzle-Recipe-1200mustard, mayo, or hummus. Then insert a toothpick to hold ingredients together.
-Fruit popsicles- Blend chunks of fresh fruit with or without coconut milk (and 1/4c maple syrup- for a sweeter treat)  until smooth and juicy. Pour into popsicle molds, then freeze.
-Homemade trail mix-  provide kids with options such as dried fruit, popcorn, cereal,  chocolate chips, raisins, peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds. Including those small remnants (not enough for a full bowl) at the bottom-of-the bag of cereal is a good way to use up foods that might otherwise be thrown away. Use this as a teaching moment about never wasting food.

Bring Your Food Outside
Kids love to eat outdoors. Let them help make food, then pack it up for a great time in nature. Take this opportunity to teach them about the world we live in — bugs, trees, flower, the weather. Head out to a park, or just plop down in your backyard.

Teaching children about food, where it comes from, and how to prepare becomes easier in the summertime when we are surrounded by so many tangible examples.


by Wendy Sinclair

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