Tanaka Farms: Let me take you down to Strawberry Fields

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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!)

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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.

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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 🙂

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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!

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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.

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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.

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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!

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

Here is my sis, T, and nieces Maya and Nina feverishly filling their baskets.

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

Nina, Maya, and Stephanie with their prized Strawberries.

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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! 🙂

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

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!

Tanaka Farms: May 2011

Thanks for reading!

Tanaka Farms
5380 3/4 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
Office: (949)653-2100
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……


Sea Rocket Bistro: Local and Sustainable Dining

Sea Rocket Bistro

My sister P came down for a visit and while I was locked up all day at work, she was enjoying the gorgeous sunny day with Bella at the beach. Yep, I was jealous.

On Friday, we were going to Orange County to hang out with our family for the weekend but decided to grab dinner first to let the traffic die down before heading out. It is Southern California, after all. Our Traffic has a life of it’s own.

I decided dinner in North Park would be fantastic to show my sis around. North Park is an extremely delightful area of San Diego filled with tons of neighborhood restaurants, shops, and all the charm of a great community.

Sea Rocket Bistro was recommended to me by a co-worker as they are known for serving delectable local seafood that has been sustainably caught. Scrumptious food with a conscience? YES, PLEASE!

Sea Rocket Bistro: Sea Urchin Crostini

We started off dinner with a Sea Urchin Crostini. The Sea Urchin was harvested right in Point Loma and was served on grilled bread with lemon and smoked salt. A few bites of lightly dressed greens and onions were served on the side to accompany the unctuous sea urchin. The urchin was wonderful fresh and although I appreciated the texture contrast the smoked salt added, I thought it was not needed. Delish, nonetheless.

Sea Rocket Bistro: Grilled Halibut Street Tacos

We took advantage of one of their Happy Hour specials by ordering a plate Grilled Halibut Street Tacos. These were a pleasant surprise as the halibut was perfectly grilled—moist and the charred flavor from the grill was awesome. The corn tortillas were tender and light—and for only $3 a pair, these tacos are a must!

Sea Rocket Bistro: House Sangria

And what is a dinner without cocktails?? My choice of the night was their house sangria—colorful with a good amount of fresh fruit and basil. I thought the sangria was refreshing but a tad on the lighter side for my preference.

Sea Rocket Bistro: Mixed Seafood Stew

My sister ordered the Mixed Seafood Stew — a stew with clams, mussels, fish, piperade, leek, and fennel. The stew was served with warm ciabatta—which I was happy to polish off for my sister. I’m a sucker for fresh, warm bread.

Sea Rocket Bistro: Seared Scallops Special

I chose one of the specials for the night for my entree— Seared Scallops served on top of a corn puree with additional corn and English peas. The veggies were wonderfully al dente that featured the sweet flavors of the corn and peas. And as for the scallops—-perfectly seared! They were naturally sweet and were harmonious with the veggies.

The decor of the restaurant was funky yet modernly-minimal. As for the staff, they were quite friendly and helpful.

Sea Rocket Bistro is an establishment that leaves you feeling great after dining there. The seafood is well prepared and with a firm commitment to sustainable practices. And with that, you can be sure that both your tummies and conscience will be well taken care of.