Food Profiling: Strawberry Season at Tanaka Farms
|Ain't that a beaut?|
George had three children, the youngest being Glenn. Glenn stayed with the family business by getting a degree in agricultural business from Cal Poly Pomona. But after he finished school, a problem hit the Tanaka clan: Due to land development, they needed to relocate the farm.
|Father and son|
There isn't a Tanaka Farms sign, however, from its entry on Jeffrey Road, a result of a city ordinance that only allows one commercial sign at the driveway--and that one reads, "Strawberry Farms Golf Course." But it's still easy to find the location--just follow the cars that stop near the entrance to pick up the pumpkins, watermelons and strawberries the Tanakas have farmed there for the past 12 years. And now that it's strawberry season, the stream of cars that lead to the driveway is more like a river.
The Tanakas purchase two varieties of strawberry plants from nurseries in Northern California: San Andreas and Albian. According to Kenny, they found the sweetness of these "to be the best for our plant cycles." Runners, adolescent plants that the main plant sends out to spread, are first removed to enable the primary plant to grow better. For even distribution, rollers with shanks are used to mark locations and prepare the dirt for planting. Strawberry crops are finicky, says Kenny. "Bury too deep, they flood," he explains. "Not deep enough, the roots stick out."
|Strawberry fields forever...|