The only cure for the depression that rises with the final few days of a long vacation is a fun outing for the entire family. For us, it was a trip to Tanaka Farms in Irvine to pick strawberries with our good friends. If you live in the area, you owe it to yourself and your children to plan a trip this spring.
Here's how it works. You pay thirteen bucks a person for a guided tour of the farm -- complete with samples of each different crop along the way -- and a basket to fill with strawberries at the end. The farm is completely organic, and the vegetables taste nothing like what you're used to. The onions are sweet and biting, the carrots explode with flavor, and even the spinach tastes good. Henry was in heaven, and even Alison and Kate were brave enough to try everything.
The best, though, is saved for last. You haven't really had strawberries until you've plucked them directly from the plant and popped them straight into your mouth, still warm from the afternoon sun. I walked up and down the rows, first helping Henry and then Kate as they searched for the largest and juiciest strawberries. Alison did just fine on her own.
We brought home five boxes of strawberries which Leslie magically transformed into seventeen jars of jelly by Friday evening, spinach which I paired with balsamic vinegar for a nice salad on Saturday night, and a bag full of green onions and carrots which I sautéed for Sunday's dinner. It was a great trip, and a great way to spend one of our last days of freedom.