Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour (Irvine, CA)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Strawberry Fields Forever

My UCLA roommate Agnes and her two beautiful girls, Lucia and Julia joined me at Tanaka Farms in Irvine (Orange County), California for their seasonal Strawberry Tour! JustJenn and her sons went on this tour last year, and it sounded great!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
For $13 per person, you ride around the working farm on a tractor pulled wagon. Here are Agnes, Lucia and Julia ready for the trip!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
The group ahead of us were there celebrating a girl's 4th birthday! What a fun way to celebrate.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Along the tour, we were given crops to try. We ate cilantro, carrots, celery, lettuce, sweet onions, and bok choy. It was so fresh and perfect. Julia said it was the best carrot she ever had.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Tanaka Farms is a family-run farm on land leased from the Irvine Company. The lease is year-to-year so let's hope the Irvine Company doesn't put up condos on this land. The Japanese American family has been farming for over 100 years, and since 1998 in this location.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Lucia with a fresh picked and delicious carrot. Living in Southern California, we have lots of freeways, but not many chances to visit a farm. This is a great place to bring the kids.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Then it was time for pretty much the best 15 minutes ever. We were given one-pound tubs to pick strawberries...and eat as many as we wanted. Oh my goodness. It was warm today and eating warm, fresh, ripe, sweet strawberries was heaven! I quickly filled my container and then just walked up and down the row stuffing my face with strawberries!!! :)

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
2nd grader Lucia enjoys the Strawberry tour!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Kindergartener Julia finding and picking a perfect selection of strawberries.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Our tour guide Cindy giving us the scoop on strawberries and strawberry picking.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
The strawberries are co-planted with onions for natural pest control. Tanaka Farm grows organic produce.

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Agnes enjoying one of many strawberries we ate in the fields! Look how bright red those strawberries are!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Julia filling up her container of strawberries!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Tanaka Farms has tours that follow the season: Strawberry, Watermelon and Pumpkin. The farm is close to UCI and is worth the drive! Also, be sure to visit the Tanaka Farm produce stand and inquire about their CSA (see bottom of their blog for a listing of participating schools and churches...some in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area too!)

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
After a quick trip to the Tanaka produce stand (I'm going to make a load of kale chips again this weekend), we went to Yogurtland. As you can see by their shirts, the girls were either painting with red paint, or strawberry picking!

Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Tanaka Farms Strawberry Tour
Thanks for a great time Ag, Lucia and Julia! I was going to make something with the strawberries I picked, but I think I'm just going to eat them whole, pure and simple!
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Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I am sure the kids loved it. Wish we would have a farm like this out here in CO. We have them in Germany and I loved to pick my own strawberries.
So, what will be the yummy recipe post with the picked strawberries for us?

Audrey said... [Reply to comment]

My favorite (seriously girly) summer dinner is spinach salad with slivers of roast chicken, sliced strawberries and poppy seed dressing. This sounds like a wonderful girls' day out (but then again, so did the baseball game.

ICook4Fun said... [Reply to comment]

Looking at all these pictures make me miss Irvine even more. This farm is just a few miles away from our old house. Wish I can go there and pick all the juicy strawberries :(

LibraryGirl62 said... [Reply to comment]

Here in Naples, Fl we used to have awesome U-pick strawberry patches-now they are condos and auto spas :( What a great day! I am glad you had fun!

vanillasugarblog said... [Reply to comment]

this, farmers markets, napa, etc... are all reasons i miss cali. wonderful! i love it.

Mark @ Cafe Campana said... [Reply to comment]

What a cool place to visit. All the fruit and vegies look so fresh. I like how they are not all uniform in shape and size like the stuff you get from the supermarket.

Sook said... [Reply to comment]

Oh how fun! I love strawberries! That reminds me I need to get some too. :)

Jen said... [Reply to comment]

oh, i *LOVE* tanaka farms strawberries!! i am so jealous!! i need to get out there!!!!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

Great post! This farm is just a few miles from where I grew up, although back then it wasn't a farm you could visit. So glad to know some agriculture has survived in Irvine!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

ooooh, how fun! Thanks for sharing this, it's something my family & I would enjoy. The boys will have a blast (me, too with all you can eat strawberries! :))

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

Can I just say...YUM!!!! I love, love, LOVE strawberries!!! I want to go there right now! It looks like a fun time was had by all. :-)

Rebecca said... [Reply to comment]

That looks fun. It is going on my LA to-do list.

Irene said... [Reply to comment]

WELL, you know how I feel about STRAWBERRIES!!! I've never heard of this farm, but riding around in a tractor, eating fresh produce and picking strawberries sounds TOTALLY AWESOME. I wonder if they will still be in season in late May so I can go for my birthday? I really hope so. This farm looks like they are really doing the right thing in terms of produce. Just fantastic!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

Hi ..I live in Irvine but never knew about this wornderful firm..thanks for sharing the info..will surely have a tour to this attractive firm....

DailyChef said... [Reply to comment]

Those strawberries look amazing! I've been cheery picking, but never strawberry picking...and I think I'd enjoy the strawberries more!

The Cilantropist said... [Reply to comment]

This looks like a great day trip up from San Diego! When you went did they have any info on how much longer their "season" would last? I would really like to head up there but I am not sure if I can make a trip soon... Thanks for the great post!

Memória said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, you all are so lucky!! I wish I could go. If I had known about this place when I was living in LA, I would have gone. Well, I wasn't a foodie then, but well... Anyway, great strawberries!! YUM!

Memória said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, and now you can make the strawberry cake I posted recently with those strawberries. Yes? haha

Monica H said... [Reply to comment]

Mr. H and I went to a strawberry field a couple weeks ago and picked about 6 pounds of berries. There's nothing better than a warm juicy red berry. mmm!

Linda said... [Reply to comment]

As I grew up in the OC way back when, you brought back memories from my childhood. I'm so sad that these wonderful farms are dwindling in number. Thank you for sharing.

PS, I also had strawberries on the brain. I just published my post, which gives you and this terrific post a shout out.

SinoSoul said... [Reply to comment]

This looks awesome. we tried to go to Cal Poly Pomona a few weeks ago for strawberries, but they were already picked clean.

how much is the Tanaka farm for strawberry picking?

The Food Librarian said... [Reply to comment]

SinoSoul #22, It costs $13 per person to go on the tour and you get 1 pound of strawberries. They have several strawberries in pots near their product stand that are $4.25 for "you pick" - but you aren't in the fields or anything. You should call the farm if you have any other questions, or if they have "going in the fields" picking.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I'm a teacher at Trabuco Hills High School, and we have an ongoing "partnership" with Tanaka Farms thanks to our track coach, Mr. Clemons. Although I'm relatively green (haha!pun intended) at buying weekly boxes of fruits and vegetables in this manner, I'm loving it! We have a volunteer family whose home serves as the drop-off location for the boxes of beautiful produce. I simply set up an online payment plan, and pick up the box between 2-4pm (a time set up by the family and Tanakas). It costs only $20 for a small box and $30 for a large box. I haven't had veggies so fresh and crisp, nor fruit so sweet and aromatic as the produce from Tanaka's Farm! Join in on the fun! Let's all spread the word in order to continue receiving such healthy food. As a parent, I am able to teach my own children how to be better eaters. My motto is "The closer the food is to the earth, the better it is for you"~and we talk about making better choices. My 13 year old teenie-bopper-son even said "Mom, homemade and fresh food tastes better than fast food. It has more flavor." I knew I had 'em hooked! After all, it is our job as parents to teach our children HOW and WHAT to eat. I'd share more, but now I just gotta go eat a juicy sweet orange!!! YUM!

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