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Farm‐to‐table in Irvine

Tanaka Farms provides locally grown fruits and vegetables for your dinner table.

It all started with a simple decision to make healthier choices, like taking a daily multivitamin or flossing regularly. A few years ago, I joined Tanaka Farms Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and began receiving a weekly box full of freshly picked, locally grown produce to help expand my dietary horizons.

Maybe you’re like me: you fill your grocery cart with the same old standbys. You gravitate to sweet corn and carrots. You have an irrational fear of Swiss chard and kale. I was hoping that Tanaka Farms and its popular CSA program would change all of that.

The CSA concept is simple: consumers sign up to receive a box of seasonal produce each week. This investment gives the local farmer a consistent, predictable income that allows him to keep his small farm in business. In Irvine, Tanaka Farms has offered a CSA program for the past 10 years. What began as a simple fundraising program for a local preschool has expanded to a full-scale business with more than 1,100 produce boxes distributed every week.

It’s the ultimate win-win situation. When I sign up for a CSA, my grocery dollars go to support local farmers. In return, I receive a new variety of farm-fresh veggies every week, ready to pull me out of my nutritional rut. As the weather changes, so does the variety inside. I learn about seasonal crops, and I’m gently nudged outside of my produce comfort zone. If I need culinary inspiration, I simply log on to the Tanaka Farms website and find recipes that match the contents of this week’s box. At the end of every week, the feeling is always the same – my little brown CSA box is ready to be refilled, and I’m happy knowing that the food I served to my family came from fields just minutes away from our table.

For more information: tanakafarms.com/boxes.