Fresh Farm Food for NatureCoasters’ Good Health

Florida’s Nature Coast has a cornucopia of fresh farm produce available throughout most of the year. While the local grocery store may carry Florida fresh fruits and veggies throughout the year, a local produce market can provide foods that have been grown closer to home, and a trip to the farm provides the freshest food available, u-pick or prepicked.

Citrus, Hernando and Pasco Counties are blessed with quite a variety of locally grown crops, as well as u-pick farms to get them from. April begins the blueberry season, with farms throughout the area offering everything from picking out on the back 40 to picnic tables, hammocks and farm animals to interact with while the family makes an adventure with memories.

NatureCoaster.com wants to connect you with the best our area has to offer, so check our Directory in the Agritourism section for participating farms throughout the year.

Aggie Gainer of Tampa tastes a fresh picked Florida peach at Florida Sweeties You Pick in San Antonio.

Peach farms are in full production, primarily in southeast Pasco County.

We will begin providing you with local farms and upick opportunities next week with our Bountiful Bodacious Blueberries article, so stay tuned and share NatureCoaster.com with your friends.

Ann Altman of Bramble Creek Blackberries shows us the size of a couple of the farm’s thornless blackberries.

May brings in blackberries and fresh sweet corn. Many veggies are available from the farm, including onions, peppers, kale, lettuce, tomatoes and more. Once I tasted farm fresh, I was hooked. You may be too.

There are area farms that have corn and sunflower mazes that attract people from near and far to enjoy the fresh air, lack of screens and wholesome delights that are available. May and October are usually the time of year for these festivities.

David takes one of his farm workers out to pick more of that sweet, golden corn.

The summer is generally a respite from farm production. It is just too darn hot to grow and to pick. In late August, olives become available and there are local olive farms that offer tours, tastes, and festivities to celebrate the harvest.

Let’s not forget muscadine grapes and wineries.

October brings harvest festivals and mazes, providing family fun on the farm once again. Hayrides, petting farms, climbing structures and farm-fresh produce are on the docket.

jill111 / Pixabay

And then Citrus season is upon us. While u-pick citrus is not common since the infiltration of the citrus canker disease, there are still a few farms where you can enjoy the experience and others where you can fill your own bag from the seasonal varieties that are displayed for your pleasure. Tastes are always available and some farms have fresh squeezed orange juice and orange soft serve ice cream delights. There is a local citrus grower that provides a huge attraction for family fun before you choose your take-home portions.

Families have a blast picking and cutting their Christmas tree at Ergle Farm in Dade City

As Christmas rolls around, there are tree farms where you can choose and cut your very own Florida Christmas tree. The farmers and helpers will provide assistance and tools, and your family will take home memories that last a lifetime.

Ferris Berries, grown right in Floral City, are featured at the Floral City Strawberry Festival.

And let us not forget strawberry season! From December through March, strawberries are rocking the Nature Coast. There are several upick farms and we even have our own Strawberry Festival in Floral City each March.

Farm fresh eggs and meats are available year-round throughout the area. If you are looking for a supplier, let us know and we’ll do our best to connect you to one. You can always check our directory under Agritourism.

You can hand feed the chickens at J G Ranch in Brooksville.

 

Hernando and Citrus Counties have county-owned canneries available to the public for packaging and preserving your fresh picked treats. There is assistance at these locations and the cost is minimal.

Take advantage of the many locally grown, farm fresh opportunities that are available in Florida’s Nature Coast to put delicious, nutritious food in your family’s diet, and lifelong memories in their banks.

Mamma piggy and her piglets.

Follow our series throughout the year on farm fresh opportunities and send us pictures of your adventures or post them on our Facebook page to share!