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A Day on the Farms with the California Strawberry Commission

Good morning, my friends! On Saturday, I was lucky enough to spend the day playing on a strawberry farm – Terry Farms near Ventura, California.

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I was on the trip with the California Strawberry Commission, who kindly hosted myself and some fellow bloggers for the weekend. A few of the local bloggers also brought their children along for the ride. Such a cool opportunity!

California Strawberry Commission Field Tour group

I spent most of the day hanging out with my buddy Monica & new friends Liz and Kevin. Fun group!

food bloggers

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Did you know that California is the nation’s leading producer of strawberries? In 2013, more than 2.3 billion pounds of strawberries were harvested, which adds up to nearly 90 percent of the country’s total fresh and frozen strawberries.

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Why California, you ask? Well – sandy coastal soils, western ocean exposure and moderate temperatures make up the perfect combination for a year-round strawberry growing season. More than four hundred family farmers grow strawberries on approximately 40,000 acres from Orange County all the way to the Monterey Bay.

california strawberry farm

The Terry family has been farming in Ventura County in California for over 110 years. We had the pleasure of meeting fourth generation farmer Edgar Terry, who owns the farm, and his son William, who manages the day-to-day farming activities (and, yes, is also easy on the eyes). The rest of the family is involved in the business, too – Edgar’s wife runs HR, his daughter manages employee compliance, hiring, and food safety, and his brother runs the machine shop. Quite the team!

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In addition to growing strawberries on 200 acres since 2002, Edgar grows a variety of crops, including celery, peppers, cilantro and spinach on about 2,000 acres of land.

terry farms hay ride

We were treated to a hay ride around their strawberry fields, stopping frequently to learn more about their farm and strawberries in general. It was so interesting to learn from them!

terry farms

All California strawberries are hand-picked to ensure only the highest quality berries are harvested. Strawberry plants continually produce new fruit throughout their season; during peak season the plants are harvested every three days. This also means they get less repeated exposure to pesticides, compared to produce that is harvested less frequently.

terry berries

Once picked, fresh strawberries are rushed to coolers, where huge fans remove the field heat, and then shipped within 24 hours on refrigerated trucks or air freighted to their final destination. Or they might skip that and just go straight into my mouth. :) Fresh strawberries right from the source = heaven.

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Some strawberry nutrition fun facts:

  • 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange!
  • Strawberries are low in sugar and contain only about 50 calories.
  • Strawberries are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium.
  • Strawberries are packed with antioxidants, which protect against oxidative stress.
    After learning more about the farm and its strawberries, it was time to eat more of them! After our hay ride, we were treated to an amazing multi course strawberry-inspired lunch courtesy of The Lobos Truck.

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For appetizers, we enjoyed strawberries stuffed with fresh herbed farmers cheese and rolled in pecan bacon dust (!). Yeah, it rocked. Plus a lacinato kale salad with strawberries, red grapes, spicy candied pecans and bleu cheese in a raspberry honey vinaigrette. Also amazing!

the lobos truck

Next up were some fun small plates. First, this beautiful mini grilled chicken taco with savory strawberry, serrano, fire roasted corn, red onion and avocado salsa with anejo cheese. SO good.

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Next up, a mini burger with a twist! This was a peanut butter & strawberry jam kobe slider with bacon, served on a mini brioche bun. OMGGGGGG. I never would have thought to put PB&J with bacon and beef, but it was so epic. I’m glad my close up photo did it justice. ;)

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Plus waffle fries, which are clearly the best kind of fries.

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We had little homemade condiments on the table – a strawberry ketchup went with the fries – so good!

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Next up was another mini-entrée – a surf and turf creation with one babyback rib topped with strawberry BBQ sauce and crabcakes with strawberry honeydew salsa & crème fraiche. They were both great but I really loved the rib – super smoky!

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After a breather, our final course was a cute little strawberry shortcake in a jar and a strawberry popsicle. Delicious, but I only had a few bites of each since I’d had my fill by this point. :) What an amazing lunch!

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A big thank you again to the California Strawberry Commission for covering my expenses for this trip and sponsoring this post, to the Terry Farms team for graciously hosting us on their farm for the day, and to the Lobos Truck for the amazing lunch. I felt so lucky to be there.

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What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries? I love them as is, on salads, on my Perfect Microwave Banana Oatmeal, and in smoothies – my favorite is my {All That’s Missing is the} Tropical Island Smoothie!

p.s. Happy April Fools Day! I didn’t plan ahead in time to do any pranks – did you come up with (or see any) good ones yet? I’ve been loving the ones I’ve seen on blogs so far!

Comments

  1. 1

    I’m assuming this wasn’t an organic farm?

  2. 3

    I love strawberries! And yes, I might have done a double-take on the son. Yummmy…the food obviously! ;) PB&J on a burger, you just blew my mind.

  3. 4

    That trip sounded delicious! I love strawberries combined with rhubarb! Give me strawberry rhubarb anything – jam, baked oatmeal, crumble, pie – you name it and I’m all over it!

  4. 6

    All of those foods sound soooo good! I can’t wait for strawberries to be in season! I’m going to have to check out their website to see if they have any of the recipes on there. The burger–not sure how I feel about it, but if you say it’s good, I trust you!

  5. 7

    Anne, I grew up in Ventura County–so awesome you got to experience the wonderful strawberries there for yourself! One of my favorite memories from growing up is often stopping to get farm fresh strawberries from a stand right in front of a strawberry field on the way home from school (and then eating a million over the kitchen sink). Hope all is well and cool that you’re back doing CrossFit again!

  6. 9

    That’s such a cool opportunity! All that food looks delicious and fresh. I want to recreate that PB&J burger!

  7. 10

    Oh my goodness that PB&J burger. I need that in my life!

  8. 11

    This place is right up the street from me! I must find that truck and eat all the food!

  9. 12

    I love strawberries in my smoothies!

  10. 13

    I want to eat my computer screen right now, everything looked soooo good!

  11. 14

    I LOVE strawberries!!! We have a guy in a van that comes up during Irish strawberry season and sells them from the main road!!! Beauties! Some of those dishes really sound incredible and the presentation is so darn cute!

  12. 16

    What a fun day! Strawberries are my absolute favorite – and there’s nothing like biting into a just-picked berry. Love reading about your adventures :)

  13. 17

    Fresh strawberries… that is an experience! Since they don’t grow here, I’ve only experienced them frozen, or who knows how long after they’ve been harvested!!

    Everything strawberry sounds good to me!!

  14. 18

    I LOVE strawberries — that trip itself looked like heaven to me! Gorgeous photos! :)

  15. 19

    That food looks so amazing!! So many more things to do with strawberies than I ever imagined. My favourite way to eat strawberries is on top of french toast!

  16. 20
    Roadrunner says:

    There is nothing in the world like strawberries! What a neat trip. Thanks for a wonderful post!

  17. 21
    Jo Lynn says:

    PB&J on a hamburger! Who woulda thunk? Was it spread straight up or mixed with something? It looks light and creamy in the picture–not exactly like PB&J from the jar.

  18. 22

    I’m so glad we got to meet this weekend!! Such an incredible experience and it was made that much better being there with you!! I hope our paths cross again soon!

  19. 24
    Elisabeth says:

    Just wanted to say that you look beautiful in that last picture! :)

  20. 26

    I cannot wait for a few more months till we can pick our own strawberries in Connecticut. Always a fun and delicious time!!

  21. 27

    Oh gosh! I live so close to these that I’ll have to go check them out! I didn’t know bacon dust was a thing but I bet my husband would be interested in trying it :)

  22. 28
    Jennie Gift says:

    I love strawberries! I was so jealous to hear you were on this trip! I wish we had more pick your own farms local in VA.

  23. 29

    Those strawberries look amazing! My family eats fresh strawberries with a little sour cream and brown sugar. It sounds strange but they love the combination. I love strawberries on their own, in salads and in peanut butter sandwiches.

  24. 30

    Strawberries have always been my absolute favorite fruit! We would go strawberry picking in the summer when I was little and I remember eating the strawberries as we picked and probably eating more than I put in our basket to take home :)

  25. 31

    Fresh CA strawberries from a roadside stand are the best.

  26. 32
    Virginia says:

    Dr. Oz just had on his program, I think April 2, that there is a study that showed eating a cup of strawberries a few days a week lowered LDL (the bad cholesterol). He recommended doing this instead of taking statins. But the strawberries must be organic, since they are one of the most heavily sprayed crops, and easily absorb the pesticides because they are so soft with thin skins.

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