Fun in the Sun at Tanaka Farms
Story and photos by Leslie Veliz
Located right off the 405 Freeway in Irvine, Tanaka Farms is a tiny, but mighty farm that has everything from wagon tours to food trucks. So how do you spend a perfect day at the farm? Here’s a small guide to get you started.
First, you can take an hour-long tour that takes you around the farm in a tractor while a guide talks about its history and the types of food they grow. They give you samples of vegetables and fruits for you to snack on including carrots, onions, and cilantro!
Towards the end of the tour, you are left to pick some seasonal fruit for you to take home. February through June is strawberry season, while June through September is corn and melon season. In November and December, they offer a fall harvest tour where you can pick various types of veggies. The strawberry tour in particular lets you eat strawberries while you pick them. This tour is fun for adults, kids, and everyone in between. The tour is $20 and no reservations are required, but you must arrive 20 minutes before a tour starts. Tour times vary; check their calendar for more information.
A day at Tanaka Farms would not be complete without a meal. Tanaka’s Grill offers seasonal food and drinks. Some menu items include cauliflower tacos, strawberry shortcake, and agua fresca. Food is reasonably priced and ranges from $5 to $10. If you do not want to spend money on food, fear not! There is a plethora of picnic tables available for you to bring your own lunch and enjoy the lush greenery of the farm.
To end the day, check out the produce stand, which sells fresh fruits and vegetables harvested on the farm that you wouldn't be able to pick on your own during a tour. They also sell locally made goods including breads, jams, and salsa. Samples are available for most of these items. Tanaka Farms is partnered with Sanrio, which means they also sell adorable Hello Kitty merchandise. There are plenty of photo opportunities everywhere (including with Hello Kitty), so don’t forget to get those selfies!
This is just what is available on a day-to-day basis, but the Tanaka Farms calendar is full of different activities that vary week to week. Fridays are “Foodie Fridays,” where food trucks come and visit the farm. They also have a farm-to-table cookout tour, which is a 3-hour walking tour where you can pick your own vegetables and grill them at the farm’s cookout area. Tanaka Farms is best known for their Pumpkin Patch that happens between September and October. Activities include wagon rides, a petting zoo, a corn maze, and a sunflower field.
Regardless of the season, Tanaka Farms is an opportunity to spend the day outdoors with your friends and family. You won’t be short on things to do and you’ll eat fresh fruits and veggies while doing so. Looking at the green fields, you’ll feel worlds away from Long Beach. As Tanaka Farms puts it, see you on the farm!
Tanaka Farms is located at 5380 University Drive, Irvine, CA. For hours and calendar of events, check out their website.