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Don’t miss Osceola County “you-pick” season!

It’s spring harvest time for pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farms in Osceola County. Blueberries, peaches, blackberries, and lots of vegetables are available this season. Harvest seasons are short, so plan your picking days now!

 Why support local agriculture?

Farms and ranches provide us food, offer scenic places to explore, exercise, socialize, learn, and be entertained. They offer important habitat for wildlife, from butterflies to birds to bears. They preserve natural ecosystems like wetlands that we need to filter our water. We are losing Florida agricultural lands to development at an alarming rate. If we don’t actively support agriculture, it will disappear. When agricultural lands are developed, we lose the benefits they provide. If you want to keep our farms and ranches, buy Florida-grown foods and support local policies that protect agriculture and conservation lands.

Planning a farm visit

Remember to bring cash. Leave dogs at home; Farm Food Safety Standards do not allow domestic animals in areas where food is harvested. Always watch kids carefully to keep them safe from possible dangers like ponds, cars, and farms animals. Wash everything before eating it. Ask the farmers how to select ripe fruits and how to best store and prepare them.

Check fruit availability and hours of operation before visiting these St. Cloud-area farms. The farms’ Facebook pages offer the most up-to-date information; farmers are often too busy working during harvest season to answer phones. These farms also offer a variety of other items like vegetables, homemade jam, honey, crafts, and plants for sale.

 Veggies/Strawberries – get em’ while they’re there!

 Blueberries – In season March through April

 Peaches – In season during April

Blackberries – In season during May

 After picking
Put fruit into the refrigerator as soon as you bring it home to preserve fruit quality. Florida peaches are different than peaches you may have had before; many varieties are firmer and are harvested ripe and ready-to-eat, so don’t leave them out to ripen.  All fruits should be eaten or preserved within a day or two of harvest. For delicious fruit all year long, wash, bag, and freeze it.

For information about farming and gardening and food preservation in Osceola County, FL contact:

http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/osceola/ , 321-697-3000.

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