Strolling Among Strawberries at Tanaka Farms

The arrival of March means that the Irvine destination is open for tours.

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FRUIT AS TIME-KEEPER: How do most places tell the day of the year? Well, there are phases of the moon, yep, and the changing leaves on the trees. A calendar on the office wall is pretty handy, too, if you remember to take down last year's and buy a new one before too many months have passed. And in Orange County, LA, and other parts of California? We have a million time-keepers, definitely around springtime, along about the time our produce starts to pop. A single strawberry growing ever redder is as trusty as an office calendar, and you can't eat an office calendar (well, we'll assume). Some Golden State farms offer fresh-foodie tours when the weather warms up, like the citrus walks of Ojai, and strawberries? They reign large at Tanaka Farms in Irvine, a place that offers strolls through the strawberry fields every weekend starting in March.

AND... the walks'll soon start. "A guide Wagon Ride around the farm" is part of the juicy outing, as is the sampling of fruits and vegetables beyond strawberries (this could be a fine opportunity to get a kid to try something outside of the four greens he's committed to eating). As for the sweet stars of the day? You can pick 'em, right there, and eat 'em, right there. Good and good and so very spring-perfect. Just save a pound of what you pick to take home.

THE TOUR... which indeed involves a tractor-pulled wagon, lasts from 45 minutes to an hour and fifteen minutes. Cost? Seventeen bucks, and kids under 2 get in for free. Figure you'll get a lot of healthy tasting in, some sunshine, and a day near the earth. It is spring, when we want to be fresh-air-ing it up but don't always take that opportunity. What better to lure us than the sireny-sweet song of the strawberry?

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