April 16, 2012

Tanaka Farms: Harvest Tour

wading through broccoli

Wow. What a great activity for kids of all ages!!

We had planned a month or so ago to check out Tanaka Farms in Irvine for a Strawberry picking tour, but with our house hunting schedule not meshing with the tour schedule, that got delayed. We finally got the chance to go a couple weeks ago only to find out that the strawberry tours were on hold due to the all the rain we had the previous week or so, which wiped out the crop that loves drier climates. Instead, they were offering "Harvest Tours" which meant that we got to check out 6-8 other crops they were growing, harvest some of our own, and take them home with us. And we were the only ones at the 9:30 slot (tours leave every half hour... reservations required in the busier seasons), so we had a personal tour!

learning about the crops
This was actually really fun for hubby and me. M enjoyed tasting the crops, fresh from the dirt, and surprisingly he tried pretty much everything we did: fresh sugar snap peas, fresh celery (which he carried around like a sword), carrots, and broccoflower, which was all of our favorites. We also took home some Maui onions, bok choy (please let me know if you have a recipe for cooking this?), regular broccoli, and red and yellow beets, too.

celery sword!
We learned about how the farm used a lot of companion crops (for example, planting onions in the snap peas to confuse the bugs), since they are organic and don't otherwise use pesticides, etc. Our guide was very knowledgeable.

We loved how hands on this was, and that we even got a tractor tour of the farm afterwards, to take us back to our starting point. There, we could use our tickets to get a discount for any of the produce they were selling.

We will definitely plan to come back for watermelon and pumpkin seasons, and we'll need to try again for strawberries!!

Strawberry Farmer-in-Training
waiting our turn for the tour to begin
a shot of our guide and the farm from our tractor ride

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