Friday, July 29, 2016

Summer Watermelon Tours at Tanaka Farms

Disclosure: We were hosted by Tanaka Farms with other media for a watermelon tour. All opinions are my own.

If were ever a kindergartner in the Irvine Unified School District, then you've probably 
been on one of the fun tours at Tanaka Farms. Even though I've had 2 kids go on
kindergarten field trips to Tanaka Farms, I had never been one of the tours. In fact, I am
kicking myself that I don't take better advantage of having such a great source of fresh
produce that is picked daily just down the road from me. I was really excited when Mary
of Let's Play OC arranged a watermelon tour at Tanaka for other local media.

The kids were really excited to go for a wagon ride and take a tasting tour of the farm
on our watermelon tour. The tours are offered daily at various times, depending on the
day, during July and August. They last about 50 minutes and they end with taking home
your very own watermelon. 

I really enjoyed the rural atmosphere at Tanaka Farms. As an Iowa farm girl I sometimes
miss the wide open farm lands living here in Orange County. It was good for the soul to
just look out over the farm as the tractor bumped along and my kids had an experience
that they'd never had before. We had fun listening to our guide tell us about the land,
the different types of crops they grow, why they rotate crops, and how they use the
same products and natural methods as certified organic farms to keep the pests from
eating all the delicious produce instead of harmful pesticides.
Along the way we stopped and tried some of the delicious produce they grow on the
farm in addition to watermelon. Our tour guide invited all the kids to join the
"Try It All Club" and they all raised their right hands and took an oath to try it all!
And they did! Even my pickiest picky Isabella tried a bite of everything! It made my
heart so happy! My favorite was the sweet corn that you could eat off of the cob raw!
I think the kids liked the corn and the Bugs Bunny-esque carrots the best. They weren't
too sure about the cilantro and the cherry tomatoes, but they each gave it a good college try.

Our last stop was the watermelon tent where we tried different varieties of melon.
It was so delicious! I can't remember that I watermelon with so much flavor! And have
you ever seen a yellow watermelon? It looked like a giant slice of pineapple and it was
my favorite. And you should have seen knife skills of our tractor driver! He sliced
and diced those melons like  nobody's business. I wish I would have taken a video of
how quickly and easily he carved up each melon.

No one left the tent wanting for melon - we were all stuffed! I enjoyed seeing the kids
try a few of the melon varieties for the first time. JT and Isabella liked the seedless
watermelon the best, but I think it was too close to call for Grace as she devoured
each of them with the same veracity.

After we were done stuffing ourselves with watermelon, then we got our very own
watermelons from the field! We didn't actually pick the watermelon. Our tour guide
handed us one that had been harvested that day. But we were out in the middle of the 
field and we had to carry it back to the wagon, so I'm saying that we picked our own
watermelon.The kids were very happy and couldn't wait to get home and have their
own watermelon for lunch and to share it with daddy who wasn't able to come.

So, don't follow my poor example and fail to take your kids on such an exciting and
memorable adventure - especially if you live 10 minutes from Tanaka Farms like I do.
The watermelon tours run through the end of August and if you come on the weekend,
you don't need a reservation - they run every hour from 9:30 am - 2:30 pm.
 Check the Tanaka Farms website for weekday reservation instructions 
and weekend tour times. You can also call the farm for group rates and reservations.

The price for the watermelon tour is $18 for adults and children. Children 2 years and 
under are free. The are also group rates available. After your tour, don't forget to take 
advantage of the $2 off a purchase of $10 or more in the Market Stand. There are all 
varieties of fruits and vegetables available for purchase as well as some other delicious 
fresh foods like breads, tortilla chips and salsa. They had the BBQ out and were roasting 
sweet corn when our tour finished up, so we decided to pick up a few to eat for lunch 
and we also took some fresh sweet corn on the cob home to use for the BBQ at 
Grandma's house that weekend. It didn't even last that long. The kids ate the raw 
sweet corn straight off of the cob before I could BBQ it the next day!

Are you a farm girl or a city girl?
Do you think your family would like an 
experience like this?



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