California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event
A little less than a month ago, I had the opportunity to attend the 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event with a group of other bloggers. I love that my family and I were able to drive to and participate in the event. One of my favorite things about living on the Central Coast of California is that we have access to a plentiful supply of fresh strawberries. We love strawberries, so this event was definitely one I was super excited about attending!
We headed down to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura on a Friday afternoon. After we checked in to the hotel, the boys made themselves while Frank and I got ready for dinner. We were excited to head down and see what California Strawberries had in store for us for dinner.
As we entered the dinner, members of the California Strawberries team greeted us. Appetizers included a variety of cheeses and crackers, as well as chips with salsa and guacamole. There were also a variety of drinks, including soda, water, wine and beer.
After snacking on some appetizers, we listened to a brief safety meeting for the next day’s Strawberry Farm tour. The representative shared how important it was for everyone to have clean hands in the strawberry fields and that the workers must have clean hands when picking the strawberries. She had the kids put lotion on their hands and then put them under a black light to see the germs on their hand. I did it too and it was pretty gross. We were quite eager to wash our hands after that.
Dinner was awesome because several of the items incorporated strawberries into the recipes. Menu items included Chicken with a Strawberry BBQ Sauce, Salmon, Risotto Salad, Tomatoes and a Spinach Salad with Strawberries, Feta Cheese and Candied Walnuts. There were even kid-friendly foods, including Chicken Strips, Quesadillas, Pasta and French Fries. They loved that! And of course, I grabbed them a bowl of strawberries to eat as well.
Dessert was also amazing! We had Chocolate Covered Strawberries (oh my gosh they were good!!!) and Strawberry Shortcake. We even took some of our leftovers to finish in our room since we were kind of full when dessert came around. I LOVED the Chocolate Covered Strawberries (as did the kids) and Frank really loved the Strawberry Shortcake.
We woke up the next morning to a beautiful view off our hotel balcony and then headed to a breakfast buffet on the top floor of the hotel. After the buffet, we all met down in the lobby and took a shuttle over to Terry’s Strawberry Farm. The Strawberry Farm was located in Oxnard, California.
During the event, the kids made Stuffed Strawberries (and so did some of us parents). It was a lot of fun! They had scooped out the insides of a strawberry so the kids could fill the strawberry with a sweet cream cheese mixture. Then they topped them with brownies, chocolate chips, sprinkles, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
After filling the strawberries, it was time to jump on the hay ride and tour the farm. The hay ride was pulled by a tractor. The strawberry farm was huge!
We made several stops and were allowed to pick and eat a LOT of strawberries! We were also participating in an Instagram contest, where we took pictures of different items on the farm. Examples include a heart-shaped strawberry we found, our favorite view of the farm and a strawberry selfie.
When we came back from the tour, it was time for lunch. Lunch was prepared and served by The Lobos Truck, owned by Jasmine Wolfe (who is also the Chef). Lunch included the following:
– Salad (Lacinato Kale Salad with farm fresh strawberries, red grapes, candied pecan and bleu cheese in a raspberry honey vinaigrette).
– Appetizers (1 – Grilled chicken tacos with savory Strawberry, Serrano, fire roasted corn, red onion and avocado salsa with Anejo cheese; 2 – PB, Strawberry Jam & Bacon Kobe slider served on Brioche; 3 – Turkey Brie Sliders with Strawberry Compote)
– Lunch (1 – Babyback Ribs with Strawberry BBQ Sauce & Crab-Cakes with Strawberry Honeydew Salsa & Crème; 2 – Fresh Kids Waffle Fries with Strawberry Ketchup; 3 – Old Mac ‘N Cheese; 4 – Picky Boy Burgers (meat, cheese and bun)
– Dessert (Strawberry Shortcake Popsicles)
– Beverages (1 – Strawberry Italian Soda with Rosemary Syrup – sweet bubbly & reminiscent of summer; 2 – Strawberry Seltzer with Meyer lemon and macerated strawberry and mint leaves unsweetened, refreshing, tart and tangy).
After lunch, the kids had the opportunity to take home their own strawberry plants. The boys have been wanting to plant strawberries for some quite time now and had a great time putting the plants in the pots. I can’t wait to see how these strawberries grow!
We headed home from the event with lots and lots of strawberries and a Strawberry-shaped Tea Kettle! Plus we left with lots of knowledge about California Strawberry Farms and the strawberries they grow. Here are some fun facts:
– Today, nearly 90% of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 BILLION pounds being harvested annually. Basically, if California were a country, it would be world’s largest producer of strawberries!
– With rich, sandy coastal soils, western ocean exposure and moderate temperatures, California has 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. With a 12 month growing season, California strawberries are a nutritious fruit to be enjoyed every day!
– 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange. Low in sugar, with only about 50 calories, strawberries are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium.
– Nutrients and phytochemicals in strawberries help maintain a healthy heart, boost memory and may lower the risk of developing some types of cancer.
– According to a recent study, eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years!
– Potassium found in strawberries can help control blood pressure and fight strokes. Plus, antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals in strawberries have been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels.
– The American Diabetes Association (ADA) identified berries, including strawberries, as one of the top 10 superfoods for a diabetes meal plan.
– In California there are more than 400 strawberry farmers, many from multi-generational farming families who grow both conventional and organic strawberries. California grows more organic strawberries than any other place in the world.
– California’s strawberry farmers are among the most progressive and environmentally conscious in the state. In fact, they have invested more than $13 million dollars in research and sustainable farming practices to reduce pesticide use and environmental impacts.
– California’s strawberry farmers use less than one percent of California’s cropland, but create nearly 10 percent of all California’s farm-related jobs.
What is your favorite way to eat a strawberry?
Do you have a favorite recipe you use strawberries in?
This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.