About the Holiday
In 1999, first National Farmers Market Week was held after the U.S. Department of Agriculture established the holiday to promote the idea of a direct farm-to-consumer way of selling the fruit, vegetables, meat, and other products grown and or made by farmers, ranchers, and other suppliers. The first week of August was chosen for the bounty that is available at this time of year and leading into the fall season with its delicious squash, root vegetables, leafy greens, apples, and more. Farmers markets are growing in popularity due to the freshness of their offerings and the community spirit they engender. According to the USDA, more than 85% of farmers market vendors travel fewer than 50 miles to sell at a farmers market, with more than half of farmers traveling only ten or fewer miles. To celebrate today, visit a farmers market near you and see what delicious bounty they have to offer. You can find a farmers market near you with this USDA listing.
Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market
Written by Michelle Schaub | Illustrated by Amy Huntington
Come spend a day mingling with the farmers, crafters, musicians, kids, dogs, and customers who make shopping local a fun community event—after all, “It’s market day. / Hooray, hooray! / Spy the wonders / on display: / rainbow carrots, / herb bouquets, / heaps of berries, / sample trays.” So “join the party; / don’t delay! / Come celebrate; / it’s market day!”
For the growers, the day starts before you are even awake. They are Early Risers who “toil by silver light. / Harvest, sort, / wash, and load. / Hop in trucks, / Hit the road. / Just as dawn / pinks the sky, / they arrive, stretch and sigh.” The farmers put up their booths and Pile Up their displays with meticulous care. Take Farmer Rick whose “cauliflower towers / take him eons to align. / His pyramids of peppers / show impeccable design….But when Miss Malory arrives, / Rick sports a wary smile— / she always picks her produce from / the bottom of the pile!”
In addition to fruit and vegetables, there is often a booth that entices with homemade bread and Delightful Bites. “Alluring aromas float over tent tops—a whiff of vanilla, a whisper of spice. / A hint of some cinnamon dusted on cupcakes, a sniff of plump blackberries tucked into pies.” There are loaves and croissants and muffins and more all waiting for you to try.
Part of the fun of a farmers’ market is the Necessary Mess. “It clings to boots / and radish roots / and smudges mushroom caps. / It likes to hide / tucked deep inside / all crannies, grooves, and gaps….This film of dust, / a thin brown crust— / a mess you can’t avert. / But don’t you know? / No crops would grow / without a lot of dirt.”
Sometimes it’s just too hard to wait to eat the goodies at the market. One nibble…well…maybe two or three—no one will ever know. Except perhaps for those telltale Clues in Blue: “Blue splatters on our T-shirts. / Blue speckles on our shoes. / Blue splotches on our baskets. / Our footprints? They’re blue too…. ‘Who gobbled up the berries?’ / We both were reprimanded. / We tried to hide the evidence— / but we were caught… / BLUE-handed.”
With twilight the market closes. The farmers pack their trucks, the honey sellers say good-bye, and “the musician’s notes have hushed.” The shoppers have gone home where their “cupboards brim with bounty, / while families dream away, / imagining the wonders / to come / next market day.”
An Author’s Note on “Fresh-picked reasons to spend a day at the market” follows the text.
In eighteen humorous, insightful, and evocative poems, Michelle Schaub takes readers to a farmers’ market to experience the sights, sounds, aromas, and fun of a day spent with a community of people in the open air. From the transformation of a vacant lot to checking off the traits of summer to an imagined conversation between a Green Zebra Tomato and Dinosaur Kale, Straub’s light touch and jaunty rhythms will make readers smile from the first page to the last. Kids and adults alike will be inspired to visit their local market again and again—in person and through these delicious poems.
As envisioned by Amy Huntington, this farmers’ market is alive with gorgeous vibrant and subtle colors that invite readers to explore the crates of vegetables and fruit, drool over the home-baked pastries, dance along to the banjo and fiddle players, and follow the dogs who enjoy a day out as much as their humans. A diverse community of adults and children enjoy the fun in each illustration that will have readers lingering over every page.
A perfect way to celebrate farms, community, and delicious eating all year round as well as a terrific take-along on a day’s outing to a farmers market, picnic, playground, or other jaunt, Fresh-Picket Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market should find a welcome spot on any classroom, public library, and home bookshelf.
Ages 4 – 9
Charlesbridge Publishing, 2017 | ISBN 978-1580895477 (Hardcover) | ISBN 978-1623541705 (Paperback, 2020)
Learn more about Michelle Schaub, her books, and her poetry on her website!
Discover more about Amy Huntington and her books on her website!
You’re going to dig this Fresh-Picked Poetry book trailer!
National Farmers Market Week Activities
Celebrate all the fresh vegetables that farmers markets have to offer with these activities!
Grow a Vegetable Garden Board Game
With this fun game you and your family and friends can grow gardens inside! Roll the dice to see whose garden will fully ripen first!
- Printable Garden Plot Game Board
- Printable Vegetable Playing Cards: Page 1 | Page 2
- Printable Vegetable Playing Die
- Black or brown crayon (optional)
- Card stock or heavy paper for printing (optional)
Object: The object of the game is for each player to fill their garden rows with vegetables. Depending on the ages of the players, the required winning number of rows to fill and the number of vegetables to “plant” in each row can be adjusted.
- Print one Game Board for each player
- Print one set of Playing Cards for each player (for sturdier playing items, print on card stock)
- Print one Vegetable Playing Die and assemble it (for a sturdier die, print on card stock)
- Cut the vegetables into their individual playing cards
- Color the “dirt” on the Garden Plot with the crayon (optional)
- Choose a player to go first
- The player rolls the die and then “plants” the facing vegetable in a row on the game board
- Play moves to the person on the right
- Players continue rolling the die and “planting” vegetables until each of the number of determined rows have been filled with the determined number of vegetables.
- The first person to “grow” all of their veggies wins!
Plant a Vegetable Garden Word Search
There are so many kinds of vegetables to plant in your garden and add to your diet! Can you pick out the names of twenty veggies in this printable Plant a Vegetable Garden Word Search? Here’s the Solution.
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