The best Foodventures are always the unexpected ones. Even more surprising was that my latest one was found around my old college stomping grounds of Irvine, California. (GO ANTEATERS!)
Per my sister T‘s suggestion, we grabbed some of the kids and headed over to Tanaka Farms—a lush 30 acre farm nestled in Irvine that produces amazing fruits and vegetables.
Founded by Teruo Tanaka, Tanaka Farms is family owned and operated and has been in existence for over 100 years. The farm “strives to provide quality produce and to educate the community on the values of healthy eating“. The family also practices organic farming methods.
The produce at Tanaka Farms are grown using a “companion planting” method. By this, different produce are planted together as the chemicals each of the varietals naturally produce allow each other to thrive. For example, strawberry plants are grown together with Maui onions. Guess this is a perfect (and natural) example of how opposites can attract 🙂
In addition to having a produce stand filled with fresh products, Tanaka Farms offers farm tours. Tours typically include a 75 minute wagon ride around the land which is pulled by a tractor. Throughout the ride, the wagon stops and guests are able to try freshly picked vegetables!
Our veggie “tasting menu” for the day included wax beans, green beans, celery, green onions, and carrots. Here is my sis, P, with a bundle of green onions.
The tour is an AMAZING way to educate kids about how produce is grown and to encourage them to eat their veggies. Check out Stephanie, Maya, and Nina showing off their tasty wax beans.
The last portion of the tour was my favorite—STRAWBERRY TIME! Since we took the tour during Strawberry season, guests are allowed off the wagons to pick and enjoy delicious and gorgeous strawberries! We had 15 minutes to fill our 1-pound baskets and eat as many strawberries as we liked!
Not going to lie…..I’m pretty sure I inhaled almost a pound of strawberries myself in addition to packing my basket. And I don’t have the least bit of remorse as they were some of the best strawberries I’ve ever tasted! So sweet and juicy!
Here is my sis, T, and nieces Maya and Nina feverishly filling their baskets.
Nina, Maya, and Stephanie with their prized Strawberries.
Strawberry tours begin mid-March and run through June. Watermelon tours begin in July and end in late August. Pumpkin Patch tours start at the end of September and conclude on Halloween. For more information on tours and to find out about their Cookout Tours, click here.
We were incredibly lucky as it was a gorgeous, sunny California day. We had a fantastic time at Tanaka Farms and loved that it’s so conveniently accessible. The kids enjoyed trying out new produce, learning about crops, riding in the wagon, and of course—indulging in the amazing strawberries.
On top of all of those things, I loved that we were supporting a family owned operation of 4 generations of Japanese Americans. They run the farm on little government assistance but are committed, nonetheless, to cultivating quality produce while educating the community. That, dear friends, is truly commendable.
But even if Tanaka Farms isn’t near you, I urge you to go out and find some farms near you—I am sure one is closer than you think! 🙂
And if you haven’t guessed already, the next few posts will be ALL about strawberries. If you had tasted how exquisite they were, you would be whipping out all of your strawberry recipes, too!
Thanks for reading!
5380 3/4 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
Produce Stand: (949)653-2100 ext. 203
Reservations: (949)653-2100 ext. 204
And just because I was singing this the entire time we were there……