7 Outdoor Farmers Market Shopping Tips

7 Outdoor Farmers Market Shopping Tips

Our friends at Farm Fresh Rhode Island are excited to announce the opening of many farmers markets across the state this weekend! Shopping at the farmers market is the easiest way to eat local goods and support local farmers. I know that my family and I are looking forward to strolling over to Lippitt park on Saturday to shop and socialize.

FarmersMarket-musicAs Farm Fresh says, “Sometimes you never know what to expect; ranging from weather or produce, eating locally can bring some surprises.” Hopefully these quick 7 tips can enhance your shopping experience.

7 Outdoor Farmers Market Shopping Tips

1. What’s in season. Knowing what is grown in your area beforehand is always helpful because you can plan meals accordingly. When in doubt, check out the harvest calendar for your area. If you live in little ol’ Rhody please click here to view the Harvest Calendar.

2. Pre-planning. Planning ahead helps determines what you are going buy and how much you are expecting to spend. Research the markets in your area and vendors. This helps when you are creating a list.

3. Weather. New England weather is unpredictable. Always have an umbrella handy – just in case.

4. Dress Code. The only tip is to dress comfortably. Remember most markets are in a park, so comfortable shoes are always a must. Be sure to add a reusable shopping bag, book bag or basket to your outfit. Most markets do not provide free shopping bags. But if you forget, some vendors will have bags for sale.

5. Bring more than one form of payment. In the past farmers markets were “cash only” establishments. Thanks to the advancement of technology, some vendors have a credit card processing system at their booth, such as Square and PayPal. Also, many markets have a central Welcome Table where you can purchase tokens (“Fresh Bucks” to spend on market food. Overall, cash is king! But if you forget cash, don’t panic. Find the Welcome/ Managers table, and a market staff person will assist you.

6. Be spontaneous!
Whether you have created a buffer to your budget or not. Try something new! Farmers markets are known always to have “one of a kind” produce or items. This is how shoppers find their next new love.

7. Small talk. Take the opportunity to talk to farmer or artisan. Learn more about where your food comes from, recipes and history. There’s nothing better then knowing the story about the items that have been created or harvested on the very day of purchase.

Outdoor Summer Markets
Outdoor markets are popping up across the state! Farm Fresh does not manage all markets in RI, but we do try to promote them as much as possible. Here is a list of markets that open in May. Happy shopping!

May 2015

Armory Farmers Market
Aquidneck Growers Farmers Market
Burrillville Farmers Market
Coastal Growers Farmers Market
Fishersmen Memorial State Park Farmers Market
Greenville Farmers Market
Goddard State Park Farmers Market
Haines State Park Farmers Market
Hope Street Farmers Market
Mount Hope Farmers Market
Pawtuxet Village Farmers Market
Richmond Farmers Market
Scituate Farmers Market
South County – URI Farmers Market
Wakefield Marina Park

For more information please visit www.farmfresh.org

 

RI Wool and Fiber Festival at Coggeshall Farm

RI Wool and Fiber Festival at Coggeshall Farm

The wonderful RI Wool and Fiber Festival takes place on May 16th from 9am to 4pm. Combining animals, history, delicious food in an idyllic setting and good old fashioned crafts and games, this is one of our own family’s favorite annual events.

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Against a backdrop of a working 18th century farm, artisans, vendors and producers of wool and natural fibers from across the Northeast will come together for a day of public celebration and exhibition. The event also features the first-ever Coggeshall Cook-Off, where chefs of all ages are invited to make their best early American dessert.

Compete in the Coggeshall Cook-Off
Do you make the best Syllabub in town? Is your apple brown betty legendary? Are you an aspiring chef eager to show your talent?

All ages are invited to participate in the Coggeshall Cook-Off by preparing your best early American dessert. Contestants must purchase tickets to the festival and arrive with their dessert and recipe card by 10 am on Saturday, May 16.

Prizes will be offered prizes in four categories: Ages 12 and Under, Ages 13 to 17, Ages 18 and up, and Professionals. Judging will be performed by a panel of local chefs, Coggeshall Farm staff and David Dadekian, founder of Eat Drink RI. Winners will be announced at 12:30 on Saturday, May 16. For a complete list of rules, email c.elder@coggeshallfarm.org.

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Demonstrators, Vendors and Guilds
Artisans and vendors from across the Northeast are participating in the festival, including:

• Dancing Threads RI
• Deb & Jean’s Mittens
• Dirty Water Dye Works
• Evergreen Farm (angora rabbits, fibers, handspun yarns and wearables)
• Foxfire Farm (felted bags, blankets and other items)
• Gigi Bonin Hand-Dyed Yarns
• Havana Banana (vintage buttons, ribbons, laces and trim)
• Joyette Studio (hand-sewn bonnets, bibs, pouches headbands)
• Katrinkles Knitting Jewelry
• Kevin Ford, Sheep Shearer
• Loop by Loop Studio
• Maybe Tomorrow Farm
• Ocean State Knitting & Crochet Guild
• Play at Life Fiber Arts
• Quare Fibre
• Rising Sun Earthworks
• Sit & Knit Tent
• Spiral Bracelets by Michelle
• Supermarno Studio (knitted and crocheted bracelets)
• Sweet Sheep Body Shoppe
• The Rocking “O” Alpaca Farm
• Third Floor Studio
• Thistle Hill Farm
• Wendy’s Wonders (handspun yarns)
• Yarncrafters (hand-dyed mohair, hand-spun yarn, scarves and blankets)

Food, Music and Dancing
Talented food entrepreneurs from Hope & Main, a food business incubator in Warren, will be sampling and selling their gourmet goodies. You can also get a healthy, delicious meal from the gourmet food trucks, Plouf Plouf, Championship Melt and Like No Udder.

Polish up your singing voices and get ready to sing along with the sea shanty band, “Sharks Come Cruising.” Dancing encouraged!

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Family Fun and Kids Activities
Make your own flower headband, learn to swing a beetle mallet, play a game of Graces, help us wash and card freshly sheared wool or have your face painted. The historic farmhouse will be open for tours during the festival, with interpreters dressed in 18th century clothing. We encourage you to wear your own historic outfit!

The children will be invited to participate in a celebratory Maypole dance at approximately 1 pm, at the conclusion of judging for the Coggeshall Cook Off.

Ticket sales and event information can be found at Coggeshall Farm. Tickets are $10 adults, $7 children and seniors and children under 3 years are free.

Edible Rhody KIDS: SPRING CHICKS (Spring 2015)

Edible Rhody KIDS: SPRING CHICKS (Spring 2015)

Welcome Spring! Edible Rhody KIDS is created in collaboration with Edible Rhody magazine. This seasons’ topic, “Fair Trade Means Fair Business for Farmers”, makes us think about the people behind the food we eat. What are their lives like? Do they get paid enough to live a decent life healthy life? Learn what Fair Trade certified means and how we play a part in the food chain. – See more at: http://kidoinfo.com/edible-rhody-kids-fair-trade-means-fair-business-for-farmers-spring-2014/#sthash.lkMle0E6.dpuf
Welcome Spring! Edible Rhody KIDS is created in collaboration with Edible Rhody magazine. This seasons’ topic, “Fair Trade Means Fair Business for Farmers”, makes us think about the people behind the food we eat. What are their lives like? Do they get paid enough to live a decent life healthy life? Learn what Fair Trade certified means and how we play a part in the food chain. – See more at: http://kidoinfo.com/edible-rhody-kids-fair-trade-means-fair-business-for-farmers-spring-2014/#sthash.lkMle0E6.dpuf

Screenshot 2015-04-30 08.38.17Welcome Spring! Edible Rhody KIDS is created in collaboration with Edible Rhody magazine. This seasons’ topic, “Spring Chicks”, celebrates these adorable little furry friends! Check out the ER summer issue online or available at local newsstands all over the state.

Fun Facts About the Rhode Island Red:

  •  The first Rhode Island Red was bred in Adamsville, Rhode Island in the 1880s.
  • The Rhode Island Red Hen became Rhode Island’s official state bird on May 3, 1954.
  • Rhode Island Reds are friendly chickens and have become the most popular breed in the U.S.
  • One reason Rhode Island Reds are so popular is because they’re good at laying eggs.

76309_EdibRhod_I032Local Event: Rhode Island Red Annual Chick Hatch
July 4, 2015
South County Museum – 100 Strath more St., Narragansett, Rl
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“Old-Type,” heritage-breed Rhode Island Red, pay a visit to Living History Farm at the South County Museum in Narragansett. it hosts the annual Independence Day Chick Hatch where children of all ages can watch eggs hatch and hold the fuzzy little baby chicks.

Local Book: R is for Rhode Island Red: A Rhode Island Alphabet
by Mark R. Allio
Illustrated by Mary Jane Begin
Discover the wonders of the Ocean State letter by letter.

chefhathomeGet kids cooking!

We’ve got a delicious recipe online for a cheddar cheese omelet. Just click on the chef’s hat at EdibleRhody.com.

Visit Edible Rhody KIDS for more spring chick fun including recipes and a word sort!

 

Skill It: The whole food slow cooker

Skill It: The whole food slow cooker

Thrilled to have Leah back with Kidoinfo. Now as a new mom, she has even more wisdom to share on how to make meal time simple yet meaningful and delicious while juggling family logistics. – Anisa

LeahKentPortrait_KidoinfoNever have I been more appreciative of every free moment I can find in any given day since becoming a mama. I happen to have been blessed with a very alert and active 4-month old boy who is far more interested in being awake than boring old naps!

The new schedule of caring for my little one has inspired me to find every possible way to be efficient with my time and energy. One place where I have earned back a little time is by using my slow cooker. Preparing a healthy dinner for me and my husband has always been an important daily ritual. I really wanted to continue cooking at home rather than eating take-out as new parents but I needed to find things that were simple, quick, and still healthy.

I already used the slow cooker occasionally, but now I rely on it for several meals every week. If you’re thinking of the green and gold slow cookers of the past, I’m happy to report that there have been major upgrades to the equipment in recent years! The slow cooker has made a big comeback so there are plenty of choices available at a wide range of prices.

LeahKent_SweetPotatoStew

I prefer the programmable slow cookers that will turn themselves off or onto a “warm” setting after a certain number of hours. This means I can make dinner during my baby’s morning nap and not worry about turning it off at a certain time later in the day.

The other thing I’ve searched for are lots of healthy, whole-food recipes that can be prepared in the slow cooker. One of my favorites is this Chicken Quinoa Sweet Potato Stew. It’s incredibly easy to put together and the results are hearty and delicious! It’s also dairy and gluten free, common allergens that many of us nursing moms try to avoid.

LeahKent_SweetPotatoPrep

Recipe: Chicken Quinoa Sweet Potato Stew
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5 hours
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 ½ cup quinoa
3 large sweet potatoes, cubed (about 1 pound)
1 cup dried black beans
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic?(or garlic powder)
3 TB chili powder
1 TB cumin
1 tsp each salt & black pepper
6-8 cups chicken broth (depending on what fits in slow cooker)

Instructions

  1. Arrange chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour in quinoa next followed by the cubed sweet potatoes and dried beans. Add the can of diced tomatoes, along with their juice. Mix the garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to the chicken broth and stir together before pouring into the crock.
  2. Cover and cook on the High setting for 5 hours or on Low for 8 hours. Check to make sure black beans are tender, adjusting time as necessary. Before serving, use two forks to shred the chicken and mix the stew together lightly.
  3. For added flavor and texture, garnish with any of the following – freshly chopped cilantro, shredded cheese, scallions, tortilla chips, or hot sauce.

You could easily modify this dish for vegetarian or vegan diets by omitting the chicken and increasing the quantity of black beans and sweet potatoes. In the fall and winter, I usually serve this with a side of sautéed greens, like kale or collards. In the spring and summer, it’s typically paired at the dinner table with a fresh green salad.

Knowing that I’ve got a healthy dinner waiting for me at the end of the day makes me feel relaxed and stress-free. And on days when the slow cooker is making dinner for our family, I usually find that I have extra time to work on a sewing project, read a book, or just get outside to enjoy some fresh air!

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use your slow cooker, I’m leading an online class, Deliciously Slow, starting April 13th to share all my best slow cooker recipes and techniques with you. This is a pay-what-you-can class because I want anyone who is interested to be able to join us! If you’d like to find out more about the class or to register, click here to visit the Skill It website.

link: http://skillitri.com/e-courses-2/deliciously-slow/

If you try the quinoa stew or have another great recipe to share with us, I hope you’ll leave a comment for us below!

Snow more: Cabin fever suggestions for you and your littles

Snow more: Cabin fever suggestions for you and your littles

As the parent of two active children, we are, like many of you, finding this winter a long event. My kids are 6.5 and 18 months old and so have very different wants and needs for activities.  The older wants to go out in freezing conditions and play in the snow, while our toddler struggles in the deep snow and colder weather for long periods of time.  Rather than stare at the cobwebs in our small house or wrestle the crowds at the usual spots, we have been wracking our brains to think of some fun, multi-age, money-sensitive activities to do in the local area.

Roger Williams Park Botanical Center
Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am-4pm
Adults $3, Children 6-12 $1, Children 6 and under Free
We love peeling off the winter coats and exploring the beautiful warm greenery at these gardens.  I find it really tranquil and relaxing here which is always most welcome as a busy parent. More info here.

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Local libraries
There are some wonderful free libraries at our disposal here in Rhode Island. Why not check out a different library than you usually visit. Most have children’s rooms with toys, story times and free activities going on throughout the year.
We love the Providence Athaneum, Providence Public Library, Barrington, Bristol and Warren.

YMCA
Most YMCA have a guest pass system if you are not a member.  Local YMCA’s offer indoor bounce house play, splash pools, rock climbing walls and childcare. Great to burn off some energy for all ages.

Om Kids Yoga at The Motion Center
Check out these wonderful multi-age yoga classes led by Elyse.  Great fun for all involved and suitable for all ages.

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Audubon Center at Bristol
One of our favorite indoor places to visit in winter., Not as crowded as other places and offering a lovely indoor space with a huge whale and touch tanks suitable for all ages. Check out their website here for more information about ongoing programs.

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Providence Children’s Museum
Time it right and you can have a relatively quiet visit at this wonderful place for all aged children.  Take a lunch and spend a whole morning exploring hands-on activities.  If you are concerned about the crowds, call ahead and check if there are groups booked.

Flatbread Pizza Company
High chairs, real play dough, a roaring fire and delicious, local food are in store for all hungry families.  Hands down our favorite, easy to dine with kids, local restaurant. The staff and space are so friendly with kids and with tasty pizzas large enough to share delivered at a speedy pace along with valet parking, it is a really great family experience. Check out their website for more info including menus.

Host a Snow Party for kids: Books, Craft, Science, Food and Fun

Host a Snow Party for kids: Books, Craft, Science, Food and Fun

We have decided to celebrate the magic of snow (and lack of the white stuff in the northeast) by hosting a Snow Party – complete with stories, crafts, science experiments and snacks. Followed by a trip outdoors in real snow if the temperatures drop and the rain changes to snow.

BOOKS

  • Read Snowflake Bentley (Caldecott Medal Book) by Jacqueline Briggs, illustrated by Martin Mary Azarian. This is the true story of Wilson Bentley, a farmer born in 1865 in Jericho, Vermont, a small town between Lake Champlain and Mount Mansfield. The story shows Bentley’s fascination, determination, and success in learning how to photograph snowflakes after his mother gave him a microscope when he was fifteen. Beautiful, bold woodcut illustrations.
  • Watch the video about Snowflake Bentley and his photographs.
  • Read more books about snow and winter from the Kidoinfo book list.

CRAFTS

paper snowflakes  | bugs and fishes

Cut snowflakes from folded paper, paper plates or round doilies.

stars wars paper snowflakes | matters of grey

Think of snowy Hoth. Make Star Wars themed snowflakes. (how-to)

quilled paper snowflake

Quill a snowflake from paper strips. (how-to)

snowstorm  |  craft stylish

Make an indoor snowstorm using Avery labels and dental floss. (how-to)

snowglobe | martha stewart

Make a snow globe from old glass jars, greens, plastic toys, distilled water, glitter, and glycerin. (how-to)

window cling snowflake  |  family fun

Make window cling snowflakes with glue and glitter. (how-to)

collage snowman | kidoinfo

Collage a snowman using paper, old magazines, buttons, sequins, sticks and old ribbons.
Inspired by Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. (how-to)

SCIENCE

Learn about the seven basic snowflake shapes here.

borax crsytal snowflake | martha stewart

Make crystallized snowflakes with Borax, hot water and pipe cleaners. (how-to)
Learn the science behind the Borax crystals.

FOOD

snowflake cookies | pink martinis and pearls

Bake and decorate snowflake cookies. (recipe)

snowflake tortillas | family fun

Make tortilla snowflake snack. Fold and cut tortillas as you would paper snowflakes, coat with a little oil or butter. dust cinnamon or , bake first and dust after with confectioners sugar! (recipe)

OUTDOORS

  • Build a snowman
  • Go sledding (in Rhode Island)
  • Catch snowflakes on black paper and look at with a magnifying glass before they melt