After a discussion with the other second grade teachers, I decided to start the plant unit with a touch, feel, taste, and smell kick off.
I brought in:
carrots with stems
corn with the husk
sugar snap peas
I showed each item one at the time. The kids went nuts over it. I let them touch, smell and taste after I had introduced each fruit and veggie to the students.
The students were so excited --they were literally saying, "I love spinach. It taste so wonderful!"
Mrs. Brown and I plan to do a follow-up where we allow the students to taste lima beans and black-eyed peas. Both every southern and delicious, both something none of them have tried. Should be awesome!