Apricots, asparagus, cauliflower, cherries…yum! June is a the season full of fresh fruits and vegetables in Oregon. The Willamette Valley is an area abundant with homegrown crops that are rich in nutrients and vitamins just waiting to be consumed. This time of the year there are so many farmers markets and CSA’s (community supported agriculture) that it’s nearly impossible to NOT have access to food fresh picked that morning. Talk about farm-to-table at it’s finest!
One my most beloved rituals during the summer months is strolling through Saturday Market in Salem with my family. I really enjoy the mixed scent of fresh picked raspberries with a lingering hint of lettuce. Nothing like inhaling a deep breath of healthy produce! I don’t know what it is but there is something about the local farm vibe that entices my kids to take an active role in selecting what will be on the day’s menu at home. They enjoy taking a closer look at the texture of asparagus tips, a sniff of fresh picked kale, and even a sample of the different types of strawberries. As parents we can snag these farm fresh opportunities to take our children on a rainbow hunt!
What’s a rainbow hunt? A rainbow hunt is sort of like playing “I Spy” with a twist. Instead of choosing random items for children to be on the lookout for, use the colors of the rainbow as your guide. For example, when you’re at the farmer’s market ask your children to find a fruit or veggie that is the color red, or blue (this might be a hard one?), or green. Obvious choices are berries and apples, but what about radishes, turnips, starfruit? Continue this hunt until you “capture” all of the colors of the rainbow. At the end of the hunt, you’ll see a “rainbow” of bounty in your basket to take a home and try.
Keep in mind that there are many ways to spin a rainbow hunt. You can have a veggie only or fruit only rainbow hunt. You can designate particular colors for each child to search for if you have more than one child. You can even debate different shades or hues of colors. Don’t forget that rainbow hunting can be done in the supermarket, too! Moreover, challenge your children to not only find a rainbow, but to also eat a rainbow a day. This would be a great way for kids to keep track of the variety of fruits and veggie to include in their daily diet. You can post a rainbow on your refrigerator and/or pantry door as a reminder. Make sure the rainbow reminder lists names or pictures of healthy items under each color. Click here for some great fruit and veggie items to suggest to your children. Happy rainbow hunting!