Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strawberry Fields

Two of the things I hope to give to my children are a thirst for adventure and a joy in discovering new places and things.  I have a lengthy list of ways for us to accomplish this. Tanaka Farms has been on the list since James was 2, but we only made it there last month.  Thanks to my friend, Mary, who spearheaded the outing and made me put it on the calendar, we made it time for strawberry picking. 
Once there, we loaded up in a wagon pulled by a real tractor, (extra wow factor for the boys) and headed into the fields.  Before we got to the strawberries, we stopped along the way to sample some of the other organic offerings of the farm.  Our tour guides picked carrots, onions, cilantro, spinach and peas right from the dirt, shook them off and handed them to us to try. Everything was delicious.  At least us grownups thought so. 
The kids liked the strawberries better.
Once in the strawberry fields, our only instructions were: Stay on the dirt and don't pick the white one.  Oh, and you can only fill up one plastic basket of strawberries per person.  Eat as many as you can fit in your mouth, but no filling up backpacks or sand ails on the side.  
We headed out.
Have you ever had a warm, ripe, fresh from the field strawberry?  I hadn't.  They are amazing. The ones that are so ripe they are almost rotten, so juicy you can't stop the juice from running down your chin and so sweet you wonder what those other red things they call strawberries really are.  Really.  They were that good.  
I'm kind of weird about strawberries, the non-organic ones, so it was really nice to pick these without worry about the pesticides they'd been sprayed with.  They aren't sprayed.  We could pick and eat.  It was lovely.  One of the things the guides pointed out to us were the onions planted alongside the strawberries.  That is one of their forms of organic pest control.  Seems the onions help keep the bugs away.  Whatever they are doing it works.  The strawberries may not have been huge ( genetically modified and pumped up on plant steroids) but it didn't matter. Bigger isn't always better.
We all still liked them.  Lots.  
The kids ate enough to get sick, but they didn't.  We did end up with red faces, hands and clothes.  I didn't plan ahead for that, but my mom, the laundry goddess, got the stains out of everything.  Borax and vinegar do wonders on strawberry stains.
We were all pretty worm out by the end of our time in the fields.  Wear a hat.  It gets hot. Bring water, too.  And be ready for a workout.  My legs were sore the next day from all that squatting. Chasing Lilly and picking strawberries for 20 minutes wore me out.  Man I am out of shape! Back at the farm stand there are cold drinks to cool down with and other fresh produce to take home.  It's a really nice farm.  A fun way to experience farm life, even in the middle of bustling Irvine, CA.  
One more adventure, checked off the list. 

If you decide to go, Tanaka Farms has a great website, look here.  They have watermelon picking in the summer and pumpkins in the fall.  We may try those sometime.  We'll definitely be back for strawberries next spring.  


Lillian said...

I say let's go watermelon picking.

Erin McDonald said...

We get strawberries here but they cost $20 dollars US for a package that should only cost $4 I don't buy them but I do smell them!!And I broke down and bought the $6 dollar bag of FROZEN Blueberries but they are not the same!!! I can't wait to plant a garden!!! Strawberries are on the list. Pray that they will grow! I need all the help I can get!