For years, I’ve made regular pilgrimages across town to Your Dekalb Farmers Market to experience the sites and sounds of one of Atlanta’s largest melting pots of cuisine and clientele. I now do the same with My Little Foodies a couple of times a month, and each time, it serves as a great learning experience for all of us.
I encourage all of you to travel to this international market stuffed with every imaginable produce (the highlight for me) and protein. Packed to the gills with patrons from all over the world, Sunday is our favorite day to shop. While some might question my sanity, My Little Foodies stay completely engaged by the frenetic hustle and bustle of this market, including the constant game of bumper cars (or carts).
Since our trips usually span a couple of hours, we like to keep the Little Foodies bellies full to prevent meltdowns and avoid dealing with a handful of opened, half-eaten containers at check out. Therefore, our first stop is the café, where we grab one of the most reasonable lunches in town. Selections at this cash only hot and cold bar are vast and include everything from delicious super-grain salads like Mediterranean farro and quinoa salads to curried chicken salad to tabouleh. The hot bar features delicious items such as homemade ratatouille, veggie lasagna, and sautéed veggies. The immense samosas (lentil, lamb, veggie, and chicken) with mango chutney enjoy a large and loyal following. Be sure to grab a freshly-squeezed grapefruit or carrot juice (a fraction of the price from your local health food grocer) to top off your meal.
With full Little Foodies in tow, I start at the dry goods and what I affectionately call the “chocolate nook” for a favorite new find, organic chocolate covered quinoa. These make a unique little treat or dessert for the kids. A healthier take on sprinkles, they are also fantastic for baking. There is also an entire bakery of fresh pastries perfect for entertaining. And if we don’t come for lunch, we often stop here for a fresh fruit smoothie to sip on during our shop.
Our next stop, produce, requires a bit of mental preparation prior to tackling this eye-popping collection of every fruit and vegetable imaginable (and many you’ve never seen), which are available in both conventional and organic varieties. I spend much of my time interrogating other customers as to what they plan to do with veggies that I have not previously encountered. Big A and I play name that veggie or fruit, as I let her smell and touch everything we select. Little A is at the age that simply putting items in the bags is entertaining (it won’t last long, but it works for now). This is also an opportunity to find “cool” and colorful veggies that make a more enticing dinner for the kids (think rainbow swiss chard, beautiful yellow tomatoes, and purple potatoes). At the end of the packed, cart-filled lanes of produce we find another highlight: friendly men chopping up watermelons with machetes and the very cool pineapple coring machine.
We follow produce with a mosey through the bakery for some delicious breads, and stop off by the seafood department, where kids have the opportunity to see a lot of live fish and crustaceans in action (at least for another minute). Our final stop is at the prepared foods, where I typically buy every variety of freshly prepared salads. Some of our family favorites include the Soba Noodle Salad, Seaweed Salad, Lentil & Orange Salad, Tabouleh, Curried Chickpea Salad, Blackeyed Pea Salad, and Curried Chicken Salad. The prices are shockingly inexpensive if you are used to purchasing prepared foods at high-end or natural grocers. And the best part is when I don’t feel like cooking in the middle of the week, I just peel out all of the containers and create a healthy smorgasbord right at the dinner table. Bon Appetite!
Hot & Cold Bar-$4.99/lb.
Lentil & Orange Salad – $2.99/lb.
Curried Chickpea Salad -$3.99/lb.
Soba Noodle Salad -$3.99/lb.
Curried Chicken Salad $4.99/lb.
Seaweed Salad -$7.99/lb.
Organic Chocolate Covered Quinoa-$8.99/lb.