Strawberry field takes root at Harbor Learning Center

They had already tilled the soil, mixed the compost and leveled the ground. On Tuesday, it came time for students at Harbor Learning Center to carefully dig out the small plots for the tiny strawberry roots.

students and teachers plant strawberriesIn a few months, this field will produce plump, juicy strawberries in the farm inside the Harbor Learning Center campus in Fountain Valley, a school operated by OCDE’s ACCESS division for students in alternative education and those with special needs.

Tuesday’s strawberry planting event was led by Paul and Yvonne Murai. The Murai family originally farmed Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley after World War II until the 1970s. The Murais gave students a historical talk on family farming in Fountain Valley and shared plant knowledge and the proper way to grow strawberries. They also donated 100 strawberry plants.

“Much of the land surrounding us used to be strawberry fields,” Murai said. “It’s good to see that at least a small piece of this ground is being returned to the strawberries.”

For students, the event offered another opportunity to learn about Orange County’s rich farming heritage. Their campus’ farm grows a variety of lettuce, herbs and other products. It also includes a chicken coop, where hens lay fresh eggs daily.