Week Five of the Fresh Five? Well, we just gotta keep that theme going, don’t we? So this week we’ll focus on our Five Senses!  Not all people have all of these five senses, but everyone uses at least some of them to navigate the world. One of the best ways to make deep and lasting connections is to engage our senses, and food can be great way to have a mindful sensory experience.

I had a wonderful experience with some rhubarb I harvested from my back yard this week. It was one of those showery days where everything was damp, and the giant rhubarb leaves were wet and rough as I pushed them gently aside so I could find just the right stalks. The cool, firm stalks released from the base with a pop as I pulled them with a little twist. The stalks themselves were a beautiful, shiny blush pink at the base, like the apple blossoms on the tree in the yard, becoming ruby red at the stem end. One of them broke as I was harvesting, and the scent was bright, sharp, and fresh. And I just had to try a bite. It was mouth-wateringly sour, crisp and crunchy, and just tasted alive as only freshly-picked foods can. (I love feeding raw rhubarb to students. It’s a taste they either love, or love to hate!) And that was before I even got it into the kitchen!

Here are five ways to use your senses to experience the world this week.

See Art in Your Kitchen

Have you seen the #gettymuseumchallenge? It’s the one where people are recreating famous works of art using things around their houses, and there have been some amazing recreations. (Dog with a Pearl Earring, anyone?) And, of course, some of our favorites have been created out of food, like The Scream in Focaccia, Woman in Biscuits, or a whipped cream Starry Night.

Now we’re challenging you! Use your eye for shape, color, and texture to create something amazing out of the food or other items in your kitchen. If you share your creations, be sure to tag us! We’re @freshrootsfarms on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Need some inspiration? You can use Google Street View to take a tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery. How cool is that!

Tour the Vancouver Art Gallery


Touch a Mystery Veggie

Nothing is more exciting than reaching into a box, bag, or jar to feel what’s inside! It turns and ordinary turnip or pepper into a mystery to solve. This lesson is one of our all time favorites, in part because of the mystery and in part because it’s so flexible. No veggies? Use fruits, or leaves from outside, or even kitchen utensils! Use what you’ve got! For younger kids, just reaching in and guessing which of a few different options is in the box is great. For older kids, they can use this as a way to really connect with a plant they are growing or studying about in a fun way. Exploring through one sense at a time is a great mindfulness activity, too.

Mystery Veggie Activity Guide 


Smell a Memory

Smell is the sense that’s most powerfully tied to our memories. Whether it’s the smell of favorite foods cooking, spring flowers, someone’s perfume, or a certain dish soap, smells can instantly transport us to our past. This awesome lesson from the Edible Schoolyard Project will help you learn how smells lodge themselves in our brains.

How Do We Smell? Lesson

Hear Your Neighborhood

Hearing is one sense we can never turn off. Because if that, most of us learn to tune out a lot of the noise around us. But sounds can tell us a lot about out environment and the life within it. This Sound Mapping activity from Sharing Nature helps us be aware of the sounds we might otherwise miss.  And this is a great time of year to get listening, as the birds are very active and vocal right now!

Sound Mapping

Taste Carrot Top Pesto

Each week, the LuchLAB: Chefs for Families project shares over 5,000 meals with Vancouver School Board families who need extra support right now. The project is a collaboration between Fresh Roots and Growing Chefs!, and not only is it feeding people, but it’s employing chefs, supporting local food systems, and turning food that might otherwise be wasted into delicious meals, like this carrot top pesto! These carrot tops came right off the schoolyard farm-grown carrots we planted last fall. Don’t have carrot tops? You can use spinach, arugula, nettles, or most any other spring green.

Carrot Top Pesto Recipe

Don’t forget to stop and smell the lilacs!


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