For some fresh, locally grown, organic produce head over to Irvine Regional Park’s Farmers Market on Tuesday’s from 9 am – 1 pm.
Vendors feature locally grown organic vegetables and fruits, which include some of the sweetest Pluots I’ve ever tasted. They also sell freshly baked artisan bread, specialty nuts, Mediterranean and Hispanic food (with some really delicious looking tamale options) eggs and flowers. It is operated by the Orange County Farm Bureau. Every farmer who sells at the certified market is inspected by the county agricultural commissioner to make sure they actually grow the commodity being sold.
The Irvine Regional Park farmers market provides enough choice without being too big. Parking is right next to the market and a lovely little playground sits right behind it. Entrance to Irvine Regional Park is FREE if you let them know your attending the Farmers Market.
Irvine Regional Park also includes the Irvine Park Railroad train ride, pony rides, the OC Zoo, ponds, picnic tables, playgrounds and walking paths.
- Location: Irvine Regional Park
- Address: 1 Irvine Park Rd, Orange, CA 92862
- Times: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Admission: Parking at Irvine Regional Park costs $3 on weekdays, but will be free Tuesday mornings for those who tell the entry booth attendant they are going to the market.
- Venue: Irvine Regional Park
Here ‘s a complete list of all the farmers markets in Orange County sponsored by Orange County Farmers Bureau
Irvine Regional Park –1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 9AM – 1 PM (rain or shine)
Tustin – Corner of El Camino Real and 3rd Street, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)
Costa Mesa –Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)
Westminster- Westminster Mall parking lot, Bolsa Ave & Goldenwest St., 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)
Laguna Hills –Laguna Hills Mall Parking Lot, the 5 Freeway and El Toro Road, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (rain or shine)
Huntington Beach –Pier Plaza, Main Street & Pacific Coast Highway (next to the pier), 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. (rain or shine)
Laguna Beach –Lumberyard Parking Lot next to the City Hall, 8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)
Irvine –University Center on the corner of Bridge and Campus (across from UCI), 8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)
Laguna Niguel- Plaza De La Paz Shopping Center on the Corner of La Paz and Pacific Park, 8 a.m. – Noon (rain or shine)
A fun addition to the Summer Educational Series and a great way to spend an afternoon is at Tanaka Farms in Irvine. They are currently featuring their Watermelon Tours and for a short time, Strawberry Tours as well.
My Girl Scout troop visited in the spring for a Strawberry Tour. Everyone enjoyed the tour and the strawberries we picked were the most delicious strawberries I’ve ever tasted.
Tanaka farms is a 30 acre working farm that grows organic fruit and vegetables. These fruits and vegetables are sold at their farm stand as well as their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program.
Tanaka Farms also offers educational tours. The tours are available throughout the year. Strawberry Tours (Mid-March to end of June), Cookout Tours (Mid-March to end of August), Watermelon Tours (July to August), and the Pumpkin Patch Tour (end of Sept. to end of October).
You tour the farm on a wagon pulled by a tractor. Along the way, you take various stops to learn about the vegetables and fruits that are currently in season. You learn how they are grown and you get to taste them, yum! For your final stop you arrive at your crop where you get to sample some fresh melon and watermelon and than pick your own personal-sized watermelon to enjoy at home.
The following tours are available at this time:
Strawberry Tours every hour from 10am to 2pm! No reservations needed
Watermelon Tours every hour beginning at 9:30 am and the last tour leaves at 2:30 pm; No reservations needed
Watermelon Tours Monday-Friday with a reservation
U-Pick Tours – We’ll keep you posted with this free tour’s availability!
Arrive 15-20 minutes before your tour and be prepared to get dirty, take shoes you don’t mind getting some dirt or possibly mud on, remember this is a working farm.
Rates are as follows:
Adults and Children are $18.00
Children 2 and younger are Free
Group tours and rates are available: home-schooling group, boy scouts, girl scouts, summer camp, sports group, or other organizations.day, enjoying our special group rates. For your group reservations please call Aimee at (949) 653-2100 Ext. 204
photos from Tanaka Farms Facebook page
Either way you prefer to say it didn’t seem to matter to the kids at the garden yesterday.
Our class harvested the potatoes they planted in January. They absolutely loved it! It is so exciting to see kids excited about gardening.
They learned the entire process by doing. Our kids now know how to plant and grow potatoes but the most obvious reward for them was digging those beauties out of the ground.
No one cared about getting dirty or that their classmate just tossed dirt on them, they just keep digging. Every time one of them would find a potato we would hear the joyous sounds of a child yelling “I found one”!
Everyone went home with potatoes. My daughters were both so anxious to prepare and eat their potatoes for dinner. I originally choose to volunteer in the garden not only because I love to garden but also because this the one spot at school that I could bring my little one along with me. They both had a great time digging into the earth to gather potatoes. I was thinking of finding another way of volunteering at school next year but all of this enthusiasm might have just sealed the deal for my commitment in the garden for next year.
I volunteer at our school garden and today was our scheduled garden day. Due to the extreme heat we are experiencing I had to cancel it. Even though I’ll put it back on the calender next week, I did this with a bit of regret. I know how much the children love it. It is the most gorgeous garden. For me, this is another way of reaching out and helping, but also a way to get to know other parents. Another way of refining myself.
The entire school, class by class spends time in the garden each month. Each class has a team of parents that help the children who learn by planting, maintaining the garden and composting (they love composting). One of the most interesting things to me is that even the children who do not like to eat fruits or vegetables love going to the garden. They love harvesting time and celebrate by having salad. Each Tuesday, we can buy some of the harvested fruits and vegetables along with baked goods, lemon pops and green juice, all made with things grown in the garden.
I’m kind of bragging about our school garden because it is truly a labor of love and definitely something to brag about. This is a description of the garden in the Orange County Register “150 parents involved in the TMA organic Garden and Nature Center, which broke ground in 2008 and is the most extensive school garden in Orange County”. I think it’s a great place for the children to learn. Next week I’ll write about our time in the garden. Until then, here’s the article that appeared in the Orange County Register.
Nature as Teacher.