Did you know that California is responsible for most of the strawberry crop in the United States? According to californiastrawberries.com, California produces about 1.7 billion pounds of strawberries annually. There are 400 families that harvest the majority of the strawberry crop of California to all 50 states, as well as to international markets.
California locals know that the state’s peak strawberry season falls between mid-April through late June. I have to admit that over the years, we have taken full advantage of our yearly spring abundance of strawberries. Bright, plump and sweet strawberries are readily available at our local grocery stores and farmers’ markets so we often partake in our twice-a-week purchases of strawberry baskets.
There’s also an annual Strawberry Festival in Oxnard that my family attended way back in 2008. Think of anything and everything strawberry-related — strawberry-shaped hats, clothes made out of strawberry printed fabric, red carnival rides shaped as strawberries, funnel cakes drenched in strawberry jam, the list goes on — the farming community in Oxnard put no stops to its strawberry-themed celebration. The random weekend drive on the 101 Freeway on the way to/from the Camarillo Outlets, wherein strawberry farm stands would riddle the roads with fresh strawberries, would also result in this family purchasing at least one crate of fresh strawberries to enjoy for the week (if they lasted the car ride home).
We are lucky enough to partake in some strawberry picking ourselves because a few local farms provide these City Slickers the opportunity to do so. Sure, it would take an hour drive away from the city, to get to these farms, but locals are used to the commute. To the North, in Ventura County, there is Moorpark’s Underwood Farms; to the South, in Orange County’s city of Irvine, there’s Tanaka Farms.
We chose to visit Underwood Farms this time around because I knew the kids would enjoy the farm amenities-turned-playground as well as the abundant farm animals that reside here. We had a great time picking strawberries and the random ripe raspberry and carrot; we also enjoyed the petting zoo, tractor rides and creative farm equipment-themed playground.
What’s your favorite farm experience?
Underwood Family Farms
3370 Sunset Valley Road
Moorpark, CA 93021
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