Families Get More Than Groceries at Farmersâ€TM Markets: Taking Kids to the Market

By Patricia Mathisen

A quick trip to the store with kids in tow is muddy memory when the heat of summer hits, for one day a week at least. On any given Saturday morning you can find family-friendly activities at nearly every farmersâ€TM market. Here is a sampling of how some of the markets are including little shoppers in their summer plans.

Nolensville Farmersâ€TM Market Manager Kasi Haire said this year they will have more activities geared toward healthy eating, staying active and agriculture. Festivals are scheduled to celebrate food trucks, tomatoes, watermelons and more.

Richland Park Farmersâ€TM Market, the reunion of West End Farmersâ€TM Market at Vine Street and the original location of West Nashville Farmersâ€TM Market, is back at the park this summer. The grassy location makes for a cool and sometimes shaded place to shop, while still being accessible to parking and strollers. The market hopes to host Parnassus Booksâ€TM new mobile truck for childrenâ€TMs story time.

East Nashville Farmersâ€TM Market has been a spot for East Side meet-ups on Wednesday afternoons since it began. The marketâ€TMs Shelby Park home offers an adjacent playground with access to shade and parking. Plans are in the works to offer events including a petting zoo, chef demonstrations and seasonal festivals.

The Farmersâ€TM Market at Amqui Station & Visitor Center may get the win for most family-friendly because of its providential location, which includes a live music venue, a childrenâ€TMs play room and tables for sitting. Families can enjoy easy parking and stroller access to a covered market with air conditioning and a restroom. A Sunday afternoon visit to the farmersâ€TM market includes a tour of the historic station and museum—all for free.

The 12 South Farmersâ€TM Market just keeps getting better under the management of Mary Self. Weekly activities include a craft station, story time and even seasonal scavenger hunts. The success of last summerâ€TMs Kids Cook program means an encore is being planned for this year, along with the return of Peach Fest and more seasonal festivals. Families can arrive early Tuesday afternoons for a prime parking spot and play on the adjacent playground while waiting for the shopping bell.

Crieve Hallâ€TMs own “Farminâ€TM in the Hall” returns this year with live family-friendly music every week. This neighborhood market has free face painting and sidewalk chalk fun. Look for announcements about story time, a sensory station, childrenâ€TMs entertainers, a gardening class and arts and crafts. The suburban location makes this market an easy stop on the way home on Thursday afternoons.

Nashville Farmersâ€TM Market will have its popular night markets and seasonal events such as The Peach Festival, in addition to its daily offerings. Families have covered shopping, options for dining in the food hall, stroller access and restrooms available at the Bicentennial Mall location.

At the Franklin Farmersâ€TM Market, seasonal events will include special childrenâ€TMs activities—from stringing beads to coloring sheets. The semi-covered market with plenty of parking will also have special kid-friendly picnic tables for younger customers to enjoy the live music each Saturday morning.  

Most markets accept SNAP benefits to ensure access to local food is available to everyone. While most vendors take credit card payments, it is still good practice to carry cash for at least some purchases. A fun challenge is to give your little shopper a small amount of spending money to pick his or her own produce. Find a way to cook with your new food together for even more farmersâ€TM market fun!