right now

right now

Oct 9, 2010

Fun at the Farmer's Market

For the past 2 days, I've been working the Harvest Festival at the Farmers Market doing Master Gardener stuff. I can't imagine more perfect weather for it, it's been cool and crisp in the 50's in the morning, rising to about 68 in the afternoon, just perfect!

We had local 1st graders come on field trips to come through all the exhibits, I don't have pictures of everything since I was working, only the stuff where I was working but besides these pics they got to do hayrides, pick pumpkins and see 4-H animal exhibits. Even though I live here and my kids are in the school system here, it remains shocking the amount of classes & kids we have, since I grew up in a small farm town. We "ONLY" did about 8 schools in the past 2 days for a total of 800 first graders! Get ready for this... we have a total of 56 elementary schools in our district! I'm not sure how it is determined who gets to come to us for the festival, I am sure it involves a lottery or Title I designation or something. So here's some photos of the past few days:

This is the backside of our Farmers Market

OMG here they come!

This is where they eat their bag lunches, they sit on hay bales and listen to a guy tell them about the journey of their food from the farm to their lunchbox. Their next stop from here was a tent where someone tells them about how food crops are used in packaging, what things can be recycled, and what ends up here in our bays polluting the water and seafood (LOL I think the parents are going to get an earful when the kids get home from school - good!)

Ok, I can't get through this without telling you about the cute "Fish and Game Boy"...

He showed up in the morning and didn't know where he was supposed to be. Well, of course he asked our group, which just happens to be a group of women between the ages of 35-60.... well of course we told him he needed to set up right next to us! I coined the term "FishandGameBoy" for obvious reasons, he is Va Dept of Fish & Game and didn't look too many years (months!) out of college:)! We don't know his real name and it doesn't really matter, does it? So we watched him unpack his fishandgame "stuff" and took turns going over to ask him stupid questions about his taxidermied friends. I think this was obvious to him by that point that he walked right into our "trap" but I think he was pretty amused by it all and I'm sure his buddies will get an earful about the "hotflash" women this weekend hahaha!

Fish and Game Boy was way more popular with the little boys who were more interested in the dead animals!

I walked over to take a picture of his owls and asked him what kind they were, a semi-intelligent question I thought... his answer was "geez, I don't even know, they just put them in my truck". I told them don't worry, they're just 1st graders, he had 10 minutes to figure it out and suggested that they were "Eastern Coastal Owls", he actually laughed at that and said that's what they'll be today, then LOL

Below is part of the Master Gardener stuff, this is a craft activity table. Each class was about 25-30 kids and I don't know how teachers do this every day with this age group! I had PTSD after the first class for awhile, the ADD kids were jumping and yelling and then there were kids who couldn't keep their hands from touching all the other kids, the tactile-issue kids who freaked out when they got ink on their hands, the quiet OCD kids who couldn't seem to finish their project and move on.... oh my teachers should get paid MORE! I'm thinking more along the lines of astronaut pay. I mean hey, we don't depend on NASA astronauts for our daily life, but we depend on our nation's teachers to teach these kids to be productive, intelligent adults, and they sure do have their work cut out for them!

Below are the Tidewater Beekeepers, they are always my favorite!

Here is the Master Gardeners' New Kitchen Garden, a year-round garden at the Farmers Market, all the harvest is donated to the food bank. Not sure how much will be left after all the kids got done tromping through, but it's worth it since many were completely amazed that food comes from there....wow.....

After we were done working both days, our lunch was provided by the butcher shop (yummy sandwiches and fresh bread!) and the Market restaurant (yummy N.C. pulled pork BBQ).

I warned my unnamed fellow MG friend that I just HAD to post this gem I overheard:
While we were in the butcher shop picking up our lunches, FishandGame Boy was standing next to MG friend and he said "I don't know what kind of chips to get"...
she replied "get the hot ones".... LMAO!

Finally, last night after I had recovered a bit, I took the kids back to the Farmers Market for their free Friday Night Hoedown. This is always fun as it truly is free, there aren't even any vendors open that time of night so I don't have to hear the kids whine for ice cream from the creamery! It's just a low key, bring your own lawn chair and cooler if you need one show. I sure wish I had more friends that enjoyed this kind of music, but we go as often as we can, and I think all the older people enjoy seeing the kids there. It's important to me that kids be exposed to regional music, growing up here they have no idea that mountain bluegrass is a regional thing, they'll thank me someday! At least hubby will be with us next year for it. They do this every Friday night all summer through Halloween. It's also known as a "jam spot" on Friday nights in the parking lot so you can also wander around and listen to others play, we had a tailgate show of 3 guys all on banjo about 80 years old each, parked right next to us! Anyway, here's a few minutes of the music last night:

ok, NOW I can start getting things accomplished by working in my OWN yard this week!


  1. What a informative/fun way to expose all those little kiddlies to so much from gardening to beekeeping! (FishandGameBoy may have gotten a little education too.) Thanks for including us in on the festivities.

  2. Dang, that is a lot of kiddos!!

  3. Oh wow I want to go to that too! What a fun Festival/Farmers Market. I bet the adults have just as much fun as the kids did.

  4. Ooo, can I be a first grader there?! I want to go!
    It looks like fun was had by all (eventually). Good job.

  5. What a really neat program! A lot of work too!

  6. You're awesome, Erin. Hey, I channeled you Tuesday. The first tuesday of every month the local Lego store does a free build,but there is always a ton of kids and crowds scare me, but I thought you wouldn't have batted an eye and went for it. SOOO worth it. Thanks!

  7. This is so awesome! What a great way to get our kids interested in food and nature. It makes me want to quit my job and go work for a non-profit.

  8. Damn, why can't we are live close to each other!! We would have a blast!!!!

  9. Thomas, my work was truly non-profit, it was strictly volunteer - not very lucrative LOL

    Ribbit, I don't know if I could do the Lego store lines, my parents live near the Mall of America and I won't even take the kids to the Lego store there LOL! We don't have one here, thankfully - Loch would beg me to go every day.

  10. Wow, that many kids in one spot would have had me curled up in a corner screaming for my Mommy! That sounds like such a good day for the kids though! Those are the days they remember most!

  11. That's where I'm crazy, lucky, Erin. My parents got there and held us a space in line an hour before it opened. We got there fifteen minutes later, I took the spot in line with the boy and they took the girl on a walk around the mall. It was just perfect and the boy kept saying how he was the luckiest boy in the world.

    Everybody in line was so nice and the boy walked down the line asking people their name, if they could give him advice, and gathering players for an I-spy game. It was fun to watch him "network."

    Seriously, if your boys like legos as much as this boy, go to lego.com and get the mystery mini figure packs. They're about $2.00 each and they're the boy's favorite things about legos. I keep a stash at home that I can pull out for rewards when I need them. He thinks they're magical. It's better than the mystery cherios that a toddler sees come out of the diaper bag.

  12. What an amazing farmer's market. So many great things for the kids to do. I'm amazed, wow, that's a lot of elementary schools! Wow.

  13. Erin,
    OMG, I want to come visit next fall! We have a very small farmer's market and yet we are surrounded by farms. My oldest boy still at home wants to grow peppers and sunflowers for the market next year. While I may sell some overflow, jams, jellies and eventually honey and berries. So we will be getting involved. Maybe I can get in there stir it up a bit, I have some great ideas from yours. We have master gardeners and lots of 4H'rs, it could and should be sooo much better. Loved your post!!