Friday, June 11, 2010

My Take on Tanaka Farms

Last weekend my boy and I spent a few hours with the bloggers getting all natury at Tanaka Farms in Irvine. We were invited to come check out their new Cookout Tours, and I've gotta say, I had a blast. maybe even more than the kids. i think it goes back....way back to my ancestry...or my roots, if you get my farming drift. I'm from hearty, big boned Scottish farmers who immigrated to America (legally) just a few generations ago (think of the young Mel Gibson or Collin Farrel wearing a Scottish kilt. Go ahead. I'll wait.)

So, there's a big part of me that's very comfortable out in the garden and I was kinda in heaven being on an actual working farm. We got to take a short tracker ride out to the farm where we were given lots of farming trivia and instructions on how to harvest our veggies. the kids were itching to run out to the fields and pick their veggies (chard, zucchini and sun golden tomatoes)

After picking the veggies that were to become our lunch, we took a short hike past rows and rows of corn, a humongous Agave plant (just now getting into the 'Agave syrup instead of sugar' craze) and some avocado trees where we weren't supposed to do any harvesting, we were in the dining camp. Yep, it's basic, so don't be expecting it to be like dining alfresco at Fashion Island. There's shade, water, a makeshift kitchen prep area and lots of tables & chairs for relaxing with your bountiful harvest.

There are also port-a-potties. Tip: go to the bathroom before your daytrip and careful how much you pre-hydrate. The port-a-potties were clean, but who wants to have to use one?

Once your veggies with added tofu have been steamed on the open Bar-B-Q, you get to relax and enjoy your meal. Me, I loved it, since I've been trying to buy more fresh veggies and eat healthier these days. The boy was game for eating most of his lunch (passed on the tofu) and went off to play with the other kids on the bails of hay.

After lunch, we got to harvest our dessert straight from the strawberry fields. Now this was fun! We were given a luxurious 15 minutes to pick out the most succulent orbs of the crop, fill our little strawberry basket and eat as many juicy berries as we could stuff into our bellies. You've never seen so many kids with strawberry stained faces, shirts and pants!

 We got back into our limo (tracker haul) for another short ride back to civilization that is OC. The boy's review: thumbs up. My two cents: the day wasn't suited for families with babies or folks who aren't prepared to do some walking, but if you want to get your kids out of the urban sprawl and have a couple of hours to kill before heading off to the beach, then Tanaka Farms is definitely for you. let your kids pick the veggies and watch them actually enjoy eating them. Who knows, maybe you'll go all green and plant some veggies in your own backyard.

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