“POP Club” for kids
The Wenatchee Valley boasts a thriving open air farmers market from May through October. Located at the Pybus Public Market, a wide variety of local vendors convene to sell their goods, ranging from fresh produce to baked goods to artisan crafts. Part of what makes our market so great is the strong community involvement that allows it to continue to expand its offerings.
In an effort the pull in the future growers, producers and craftsman in our region, the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market has adopted a children’s “P.O.P. Club.” “P.O.P.” stands for “Power of Produce,” and is a nationwide youth-centered program affiliated with the Farmers Market Coalition. It’s goal is to provide a fun opportunity for children to engage in the local food system through conversations directly with farmers, educational games and demonstrations, and exposure to new fruits and vegetables. In addition to participating in educational activities, P.O.P. Club kids receive a $2 P.O.P. Club Buck to spend at the market, allowing them to make their own shopping decisions at the market.
I took my young son down to check it out and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was also “Kids Market” day. The Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market has three dates throughout the summer where kids age fourteen and younger can set up shop and sell products they have made all on their own. On our visit, a brother-sister duo was selling funky perler bead creations while another girl was selling hand-sewn stuffed monsters. What a fabulous opportunity not only for these young vendors to learn some entrepreneurial skills, but also for the young people browsing the market to be inspired by their hard work and dedication to their craft.
Back to P.O.P. Club–my son ran up to a table filled with colorful plates and a basket full of unique looking fruits and vegetables. The goal was to read the facts below each plate and decide which piece of produce matches the description. While this required some parent involvement, we still had a great time learning about some lesser-known produce. I enjoyed watching my son’s excitement over getting to touch and feel the produce and make his best guesses on what they were called. For whatever reason, seeing and holding an actual hairy coconut absolutely cracked him up. As for me, I now know the difference between a rutabaga and a daikon radish.
Things like the P.O.P. Club and the monthly Kids Market make me feel proud of my hometown farmers market. These opportunities incentivize entire families to get involved in the local produce scene. As a mother, I appreciate these steps towards educating our young people about healthy food–the importance of where it comes from and how we can responsibly consume it.
I encourage all families with children ages 5-12 to check out our local P.O.P. Club. It meets every Saturday 9am-12pm, and starts a week after most kids start summer vacation through the end of August. There is no application to fill out–just show up, sign up and explore!
Dates and applications for the monthly Kids Market can be found at wenatcheefarmersmarket.com/kids-market or by calling the Pybus Public Market at (509) 663-8712.