Tanaka Farms: Irvine’s Hidden Farm
Tucked amongst schools, neighborhoods and shopping centers lies one of Irvine’s greatest treasures, Tanaka Farms. Located in the heart of Irvine, Tanaka Farms has been in the Tanaka family for three generations. Their mission is twofold: Not only do they strive to grow the highest quality produce for their community, but they also educate the community about where their food comes from. Throughout the year, Tanaka Farms creates opportunities for its community to experience and become educated about all different aspects of the farm.
The farm’s first community experience each year is in March with their famous strawberry tours. Until June you and your family can enjoy an hour-long wagon ride and learn about the farming methods of the season while sampling strawberries and other fruits and vegetables of that season. At the end of the tour, everyone will have the opportunity to hand-pick their own batch of strawberries to take home!
As we head into the heart of summer, Tanaka Farms will switch their strawberry tours into melon tours. Like the strawberry tour, friends and families will get to experience all aspects of the farm while tasting summer fruits and vegetables like squash and melons. Saturdays and Sundays even include a special trip to the cornfields where visitors will be able to pick their own corn straight off the stalks.
As we say goodbye to summer and welcome the 80-degree Southern California fall, we also say hello to Tanaka Farm’s famous pumpkin patch. During October, visitors enjoy endless fields of beautiful and vibrant orange pumpkins of all shapes and sizes. Along with picking out the perfect pumpkin to carve, guests can also pet farm animals at the petting zoo, run through the corn maze and launch pumpkins into the hills. The end of Halloween brings with it the end of the pumpkin patch, but not an end to the fall activities at Tanaka Farms. The first three weeks of November are reserved for the Fall Harvest Tours. Like the strawberry and melon tour, the fall harvest tour will give guests the taste of all the fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables.
After Thanksgiving, Tanaka Farms opens their final season – Christmas season. Beginning as early as Black Friday, community members can ditch the malls and head over to Tanaka Farms for the Holiday Santa Tour. This tour is unique because it concludes with a visit from Mr. Claus himself. Guests will have the opportunity to take their picture with Santa and a variety of other holiday-themed photo sets around the farm.
In addition to the various seasons at Tanaka Farms, they recently partnered with Sanrio to welcome Hello Kitty and her friends to the farm! Now you can enjoy your fruit and vegetable picking with the help of Hello Kitty, Chococat, My Melody, Pochacoo and Keroppi. Hello Kitty and her friends will not only be there to help teach farm goers about the importance of healthy eating and sustainability, but they will integrate into daily farm activities and seasonal events, like their own decorated village this Christmas season.
If you don’t have the time for a farm tour but are interested in local, fresh produce you can visit Tanaka Farms’ produce stand where you can pick up fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.. The farm also holds multiple community services events throughout the year where volunteers will have the opportunity to not only help out on the farm but also give back to the Orange County community.
So, the next time you’re looking for something to do with your kids, a new photo opportunity for your Instagram, or you need to stock up on fruits and vegetables, look no further than Tanaka Farms, Irvine’s hidden farm amongst the city’s fast-paced life.
Tanaka Farms 5380 University Dr, Irvine, CA 92612