Newport tykes tour Tanaka Farms

IRVINE — As the tractor-pulled wagons slowed to a stop, smell was the first indicator that the youngsters were about to come face to face with barnyard animals.

The first-grade students were not pleased.

"It smells stinky," said Taylor Park, 6, making a face as some of her classmates covered their noses.

Lincoln Elementary School on Friday took its three first-grade classes on the Newport Beach school's annual field trip to Tanaka Farms, a 30-acre working organic farm on University Drive.

"I want them to realize where their food comes from and how important it is to take care of the Earth," said teacher Chandra Prough.

The smell aside, the students' hesitation seemed to subside as they laid eyes on the dozens of sheep, goats and pigs — most smaller than the first-graders — for them to pet.

"I liked petting the pigs," Taylor said. "I love the baby ones."

The students got a full tour of the farm as they bumped along past neat rows of vegetables; tall trees the will yield avocados, limes, grapefruits and oranges; wild tangles of watermelons growing on the vine; and field upon field dotted orange and yellow with pumpkins ready for picking.

Charles Warmington, 7, said seeing a farm for the first time was "great," as was the aptly named Corn Maze.

"It was great but long," he said, puffing after running the entire maze.

The students didn't just look around; they got their hands dirty as well. They each pulled — and got to take home — carrots, onions, yellow beans and radishes, yelling excitedly as the vegetables were unearthed.

Parent Shanyna Wein said she wants her daughter, Erika, to see that vegetables don't come from the grocery store wrapped in plastic but from the Earth.

"It's neat for them to see and experience," agreed parent Cherie Hemphill, who oversees the school's Green Team. "It's all about teaching them to go back to simple ways and connect."

The first-graders also picked their own pumpkins, which in Prough's class will be used to reinforce their lessons by seeing if the gourds float and counting the seeds.

Abraham Amoroz, 6, also hoped to use one to make his first ever jack-o'-lantern. He wasn't sure how one is made, but he did know he had the perfect canvas.

"I got one!" he shouted in the pumpkin fields. "I got the best one!"

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World