When I moved to Scranton 13 years ago, I quickly found one of my favorite places: the Co-Op Farmer’s Market, To me, there is no surer sign of summer than stalls filled with corn, tomatoes and zucchini. When those vegetables disappear, it’s time for butternut squash, brussels sprouts and pumpkins. I often challenge myself to source entire meals from the market. Some nights, a perfect dinner is sliced tomatoes and fresh bread.

I began taking my oldest daughter to the farmers market shortly after she was born. (A stroller makes a great cart for hauling produce.) Besides the most epic meltdown there as a 4-month-old, I think she loves the market as much as I do. I read long ago that when kids are involved in the kitchen, they are more likely to try and eat what they’ve helped make. That is definitely true at my house.

Each time we go to the market, I let Madison pick a vegetable she wants to help me make. As long as it’s a vegetable, I give her no restrictions on what she’d like to try. On Labor Day, we headed to the market and Madison was drawn to green and purple beans, which the lovely woman at the stand called “magic beans.” When we asked about how the purple beans tasted, she said the beans actually turn green when cooked. Madison decided on getting the green beans, and the woman threw in a few purple beans so we could see the “magic.”

Madison helped me pick out a few more vegetables, and here is our haul. About $25 got us all of this.

When it came time for dinner, Madison was eager to help prepare the beans. She helped me wash them, and after I trimmed the ends, she put them in our steamer basket.


The end result? Those “magic” purple beans did indeed turn green, and both kids devoured them.

The  Co-Op Farmer’s Market, located at 900 Barring Ave. in Scranton, is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays through Thanksgiving from noon to 6 p.m.

Do you have any creative ways to get your children to try foods? Email me at shofius@timesshamrock.com.