A Visit to a California Strawberry Farm

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when California Strawberries invited me to the 365 Day of Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event, and to take a tour of a California Strawberry Farm, i would have to say, that i was beyond excited. to me, strawberries are the perfect fruit. when i eat a strawberry, there is something about it that makes me so happy….whether it’s the color, the taste or it’s smell, i’m not sure, probably all the above, but i just love them. being able to tour a working farm to learn about strawberries, how they are grown, how they are harvested and where they go after being picked was a big treat.

and besides learning about my favorite fruit (sorry watermelon), i was also able to experience the beauty of natures goodness in pure form. i mean, just look at these views.

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so myself, my littlest son Vann and my mom, headed up to Terry Farm in to Oxnard, California, where a lot of the California strawberries are grown. more than four hundred family farmers grow strawberries on approximately 40,000 acres from Orange County, all the way to the Monterey Bay. rich, sandy coastal soils, western ocean exposure and moderate temperatures, give California the perfect combination for a year-round strawberry growing season.  yes, a 12 month growing season!

we took a tractor pulled wagon around the fields and learned so many fun facts about strawberries. who would have thought there was so much to learn.

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we learned the importance of training the people who work in the fields and handle the strawberries to have the cleanest, germ-free hands possible. here is Vann using fluorescent particle infused soap to check if he removed all the germs and dirt from his hands. it takes a very thorough hand cleaning to make your hands clean enough to work with the berries in the field. clean hands are important to reduce the risk of disease from humans to food.

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this is William Terry, a fifth generation farmer teaching us how to properly pick a strawberry, how the fields are set up, and how the strawberry workers harvest the strawberries. workers at this farm are paid a minimum of $9 per hour with a bonus per box wage. with that bonus, the average worker is making around $22 per hour.

California’s strawberry farmers are among the most progressive and environmentally conscious in the state. they have invested millions of dollars in research and sustainable farming practices to reduce pesticide use and environmental impacts. he shared with us how they are able to use less pesticides by only using what is needed for a specific problem, and how they reduce bad bug populations with other bugs…a sort of “bug warfare.”

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each row of strawberries are planted in mounds that are about 18″ high. this makes it easier to harvest the strawberries because workers don’t have to bend over as much, reducing back problems. the plastic is used to keep the mounds of dirt moist with water. if they dry out, the mounds would collapse. inside the plastic, there are laser cut strips of irrigation material that is placed every 6 inches along the row. this cuts down the amount of water used to water the strawberries significantly, and makes water usage very efficient.

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the fields are planted and then completely plowed and replanted twice a year, February and October. here are some fields that are getting plowed and prepped for planting season.

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in the fields we picked and ate so many strawberries. they are so delicious! here’s my mom…she enjoyed the strawberries as much as i did.

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let me tell you some great facts that i learned about California Strawberries…

nearly 90%  of U.S. grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 billion pounds harvested annually. if California were a country, it would be the world’s largest producer of strawberries!

Strawberries are a Superfruit 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than the average orange. they are low in sugar, with only around 50 calories, and are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium.

Strawberries are good for your health  nutrients and phytochemicals in strawberries help maintain a healthy heart, boost memory, reduce total cholesterol levels and may lower the risk of developing some types of cancer. eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging up to 2.5 years, potassium found in strawberries can help control blood pressure and fight strokes AND the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has identified strawberries, as one of the top 10 superfoods for a diabetes meal plan.

did you know that there is no such thing as a GMO strawberry? that is right, there are no genetically modified strawberries commercially grown and shipped. varieties of strawberries are developed for different climates and growing conditions, but these varieties are developed using traditional breeding methods that involve two parent plants that are crossed using their flowers.

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by the end of the day, Vann was in awe of the farmers. they really know their stuff. growing strawberries is more technical than i would have ever imagined…and they do a great job. Vann told me he wanted to be a farmer when he grows up. i could get used to having fresh strawberries all the time.

terry-farm-strawberry-oxnardbut i would have to say…eating the strawberries was the best part. and i haven’t even shown you all the yummy food. you can use strawberries for appetizers, entrees, dessert and even ketchup. i will be sharing all about the food in another post.

it was a good good day!

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touring the strawberry fields was really incredible. you can take a peek at the events of the day here.  or head over to the official California Strawberries website for more strawberry facts and some amazing recipes.

I Love California Strawberries Badge{disclosure: this is a sponsored post. i was an invited guest of California Strawberries to tour the farm and learn about the strawberries. all thoughts and opinions are a bazillion times my own. psssst….i LOVE strawberries. }

 

Family Travel: Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar

This is a sponsored post on behalf Hotel Indigo Del Mar.

Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar Review | Family Travel

a few days ago i wrote about our family’s great weekend getaway to the beach city of Del Mar, California. i mentioned that we stayed at the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del MarHotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar, and due the the amount of photos i took, i decided to talk about our hotel stay in separate post.

the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar is an upscale boutique hotel that brings elements of its beach surroundings and city’s horse racing roots into its decor and architecture. it had such a refreshing beach feel, and kind of made me feel like i was an expensive beach cottage. the weekend was all about seaside wellness, and that’s what we got.

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the room was beautiful, and decorated with a fun twist of traditional, modern and beachy.  it had wood floors, a large bathroom, television and really comfortable beds that i could have layer in all day long.

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there were fun decor elements around every corner. the lobby had a great vibe…bright and cheerful! i loved every bit of how it was decorated, from the colors and architecture to the fun artwork. the boys loved hanging out in the lobby.

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on our first morning at the hotel, we decided to drive a few blocks to the local bagel store and enjoy a quick breakfast while deciding what to do for the day. we sat on the street corner and enjoyed watching all the people walking by, some with dogs, some riding bikes, some jogging. everyone seemed so happy and fit. this little beach city is full of life and healthy living. read about all of the fun things we ended up doing here.

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and if you have a dog or are a dog lover, Del Mar is the city for you. we saw water bowls and treats outside all the restaurant and store entrances. people just love the doggies here.

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you will also find outdoor corner flower shops, and unique little boutique stores lining the streets. a walk to the beach is just blocks away and breathtaking beachside hiking trails and grassy knolls flank the beach.

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later on during the day, we decided to enjoy lunch back at the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar which also has a beautiful restaurant and bar located adjacent to the lobby. the menu was full of mouth-watering choices and included breakfast, lunch and dinner. all menu options were also available to be delivered as room service. i was especially surprised at the prices which were so reasonable with entrees starting at around $10. i expected the prices to be a lot higher for such a nice restaurant.

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plus the food is fantastic. the hubby and i opted for a poolside lunch and shared this awesome cheeseburger. it was soooo good!

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the hotel manager was so friendly and treated us like family. beside telling us where all the fun things to do were, he also helped up send a personal greeting and photo from our family to all of the Hotel Indigo locations around the world. it was like a photo booth that connect travelers to each other…so fun.

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some other amenities at Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar are, a fitness room with cardio machines and free weights, a sauna, and a in-house spa that offers a full range of spa and massage treatments.

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and of course the pools…..my boys favorite part of the hotel. within the hotel there are two large pools and a hot tub. the main pool is surrounded by hotel rooms, the hotel restaurant and lobby, and the other pool and hot tub is more secluded by another group of hotel rooms that are setup more like condos.

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we had so much fun swimming and enjoying the beautiful weather.

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evenings at the hotel are also a great time to relax and enjoy yourself. just outside the hotel’s restaurant are two big fire pits with nice seating areas. you can order drinks, food or enjoy hot chocolate by the fire. this was definitely a favorite activity of my boys. we had a lovely evening chatting with them and talking about all the fun we had during the day.

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i would say that we had a fabulous stay at the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar and hope to return very soon. and if you haven’t read about the rest of our Del Mar vacation, be sure to read all about it here.

if you would like to take a getaway to the Hotel Indigo San Diego Del Mar, i have a special promo code just for my readers. use “DREAMDELMAR” when you call the hotel directly and get a special discount for your stay. i hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did!

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have you ever been to Del Mar before?

 

 

 

Family Travel: Getaway to Del Mar, California

Family Getaway to Del Mar, California Southern California Family Travel - Popsicleblogtwo weeks ago, we took a little family getaway to the lovely city of Del Mar, California to celebrate my birthday weekend. Del Mar is located in north San Diego just south of Carlsbad. i have always thought of Del Mar as horse racing city, and never knew that it offered so much more. it ended up being a great little southern California family vacation.

we took all three boys, and stayed at the refreshing Hotel Indigo San Diego Del MarHotel Indigo, just wait till you see the pictures. i will write all about in another post. and if you just can’t wait…use this promo code for a great deal “DREAMDELMAR“. considering that we were taking this vacation as sort of a seaside wellness excursion, we were hoping to be able to relieve our mind and bodies of stress and fatigue and just enjoy natures seaside beauty. and that we did.

throughout the city of Del Mar, you will find unique details of its horse racing roots, but what you will also find is a beachside community full of small city charm and friendly people. as we walked around exploring the city, people were out and about; walking their dogs, taking a jog on the beach, enjoying a meal at the local eateries and just being active. everyone seems so happy and healthy.

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Del Mar’s main beach was awesome. it has hiking trails lining the scenic cliffs and a beach that is flanked with green grass, park benches, barbecues and even a playground. we spent the good part of the morning walking the trails and just taking in the beautiful views of the ocean.

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around lunchtime on Saturday, we headed over to the Del Mar Farmers Market. we were so glad we did, as we found so many great finds. if you decide to visit the Del Mar Farmers Market, be sure to come hungry and to bring a big bag for all the goodies you’ll want to buy and bring home with you.

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you will find vendors selling yummy things to eat like sandwiches and pasta, homemade spreads and sauces, and foods from all different cultures.

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you won’t be able to resist the fresh popped kettle corn, the homegrown veggies and fruits, and the freshly baked breads and desserts.Read More…