Getting Creative with Your Neighborhood Walks

Ian Ballentine (our Director of Marketing) encourages everyone to find new inspiration in your local neighborhood walks.

As a (relatively) new parent, I regularly head out on neighborhood walks to with my wife Kasey, daughter Noa, and dog, Cricket. The recent self-isolation has pushed us to get creative on our walks. In an effort to be more present with each other and Noa, we like to play games and make our walks interactive. The latest edition to our daily strolls had us trying to find all of the edible plants on our route. 

This evening we took a stroll through North Oakland and Bushrod and found quite a few gems. The first find was rosemary, just a few blocks from our home. When you are searching for something, we noticed we were much more aware of our surroundings and began talking not just about the edible plants but also the flowers in bloom - giving us signs of Spring. 

My wife comes from a culinary and nutrition background, so I knew she would be able to point out all of the non-obvious edibles. A few doors down from the rosemary, Kasey mentioned dandelion greens, and sure enough they can and are used for cooking - while very bitter, they can be steamed and or added to a stir-fry to create a more mild flavor.

Photo of dandelion greens with a dandelion sticking up

As we walked toward Telegraph we noticed a fragrant pineapple guava tree, right alongside a busy street. These puppies are delicious when they are ripe. 

Pineapple Guava Tree

It’s pretty amazing to live in such an urban environment and see so much vegetation within blocks of our home. 

As we got closer to our house, we saw more front and backyard raised beds that housed kale, strawberries, chard and even a lemon tree.

Kale growing on a raised bedLemon tree

Just a few doors down from our house, our neighbors recently planted an olive tree - this tree is a symbol of longevity, perseverance, peace, healthiness, and growth - a much-needed reminder with so much uncertainty in the air. 

Olive tree

Taking this walk with my family tonight I was reminded of how essential it is to be fully present. Especially now. We walked, we talked, we learned from each other and we got some much needed fresh air. Given you are a loyal SB follower, you are likely heading outside for regular activities, next time you head out, try slowing down. Turn the walk/run into an experience...a few additional walk-with-the-kid  ideas we had tonight: searching for signs of spring, searching for flowers in bloom, counting succulents, the list goes on. Try to make the most of your time outdoors, whether it is alone or with the family you live with. It will make you feel better and more connected. We sure loved it.

Photo of Ian, Kasey, and baby Noa.

The Ballentines: Ian, Kasey and Noa (Cricket the dog was busy sniffing everywhere, and was not interested in taking a picture.)


  • Susan says...

    What a great article! Thank you for sharing your creative idea. Walking is so important to our mental and physical health at this time in our lives.

    On March 30, 2020
  • Jeff Stine says...

    great read! As a parent of a young one myself, my family and I go on A LOT of walks, so “spicing” things up a bit on our next walk is definitely something we’ll do!

    On March 26, 2020
  • Linda says...

    I still have lots of Miners lettuce in my back yard. Still sweet and yummy.

    On March 25, 2020

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