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Do You Know Your Spirit Vegetable? Take this Quiz to Find Out

By Brian Barth

Santa Barbara-based farmer, chef, and educator Michelle Aronson is an outgoing type. She's become known among for her friends for a certain party trick: "I would get to know people and on the spot come up with their spirit vegetable."


In May, she took this talent national with the Spirit Vegetable Quiz, which can be found on the website of her cooking class business, Farm Belly. The ten-question quiz assesses where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum and your favorite season, among traits. Sample question: How would you describe the contents of your closet? A) It's a kaleidoscope of color. B) Neutrals make my heart pitter patter.

At the end, you're endowed with your spirit vegetable and an oracle-like message. Mine turned out to be fennel:

"There's a lot to love behind the many layers that make up a unique, subtly-sweet bulb of fennel. It takes some time to peel back those layers, but once this introverted veggie has time to open up, you'll find fennel is grounded, driven, and has a heart brimming with passion … You don't come across fennel every day, which makes this quietly confident vegetable all the more mysterious and memorable."

Aronson spent much of last winter developing her quiz. How? A giant spreadsheet that charted the question and answers and their relationship to 22 vegetables. Then she hired a web designer to turn it all into an algorithm. The online quiz was taken 16,000 times within a few months—about as viral as it gets for vegetables.

"My whole life revolves around vegetables, and at some point, I started associating them with personalities, just based on things like their growing tendencies, their appearance and how you cook with them," said Aronson.

The game has helped the serial entrepreneur launch yet another side business. After your vegetable is revealed to you, you're offered the opportunity to purchase Farm Belly swag (totes, T-shirts, and mugs) emblazoned with it. A portion of proceeds goes to Alice Waters Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkeley. "People get excited about rocking their spirit vegetable," said Aronson.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

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