Charlie Antis, 7, shows off a carrot he just picked at Tanaka Farms.

Fun on the farm

by Dawn Antis

I’d been looking for summertime activities for my twins, and, at a friend’s urging, I took them to Tanaka Farms for an educational workshop called Chicks and Sprouts.

Our family had picked strawberries at Tanaka Farms before, but this program really opened my eyes to all they do on the 25-acre farm that’s been with the Tanaka family for three generations.

We started with a guided stroll through the pumpkin patch, which got Charlie and Gracie, 7, excited to come back this Halloween. They saw banana trees for the first time, each with great big bunches of bananas hanging down. And they got to pick their own carrots, pulling them out of the ground and holding them up for me to see – and take home.

When it came time to plant sunflowers, the kids loved putting their hands in the soil. (They learned that “soil” has nutrients while “dirt” does not.) They planted seeds in small biodegradable cups that we took home.

Every day since, they’ve watered them, waiting for the seeds to sprout before we plant them in our backyard.

They also learned about chickens and eggs. Each child opened an artificial egg to learn how long it takes for a baby chick to hatch. Then, all the kids (about 10 in the workshop) got to meet several chickens, including Linda, an OC Fair blue-ribbon winner.

The workshop ended in the barnyard with the kids petting goats, Suffolk sheep, a miniature donkey and an adorable pig.

When we got home, Charlie and Gracie, who generally don’t like vegetables, had a request. They both wanted carrots – because they picked them.

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Columnist Dawn Antis enrolled her twins in a workshop at Tanaka Farms, where they learned all about farming.
My twins, Charlie and Gracie, picked carrots, planted sunflowers and met lots of animals at a recent Tanaka Farms workshop.

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