What was the 2022 Seminole County Farm Tour?
On the morning of Friday, March 25, 2022, we embarked on our journey of learning about local agriculture and food systems. We started at the UF/IFAS Seminole County Extension Office and then took a tour bus to 5 of our local farms. Throughout the day, we heard directly from our local farmers about the hard work that goes into producing our food. Participants also had the chance to ask our farmers questions about food production and more.
This was a very fast paced day filled with a variety of additional speakers including extension agents and other educators speaking about natural resources, growing your own food, the challenges faced by farmers and the history of agriculture in Seminole County. Not to mention, we also got to enjoy the fresh air and BEAUTIFUL weather of Florida springtime.
Where did we stop on the tour?
We visited 5 of farms located right in Seminole County. We started our day with a brief, self-guided tour of the Museum of Seminole County History learning a little about the long standing agricultural history locally. Did you know that Sanford used to be called “the celery capital of the world” due to large-scale production of celery?
At our first stop, we visited South Seminole Farm and Nursery. Here, Farmer Jim Hunter taught us all about nursery plant production and popular ornamental crops in Central Florida. Did you know that Florida’s nursery industry ranks second in the U.S. next to California? Participants had the chance to walk around the farm and enjoy the beauty of the many ornamental plants.
On our second stop, we hopped off the bus at the Old Red Barn of Geneva. Shelley Nelson taught us all about her goat farming operation and value added products like goats milk soaps, jams, jellies and more. A value added product, according to the USDA, is an agricultural product that has been changed to enhance its value. For example, harvesting strawberries and then turning them into jam means you have created a value added product.
The third stop of the day was at the Ed Yarborough Ranch, Inc. Traveling along the dirt road to the main part of the property, participants got to see the cattle grazing in the fields and learn about the history of cattle operations in Florida. This was also the stop where we enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch and learned all about the ranch from the Yarborough Family.
For our fourth stop, we made our way to Black Hammock Bee Farms to get a close look at honey production and beekeeping. Dennis the Bee Guy taught us all about the importance of honey bees to agriculture and all of the unique types of honey his bees produce. Do you know the difference between orange blossom and wildflower honey? Orange blossom honey is made by bees that have been visiting the flowers of orange trees. Wildflower honey is made by bees visiting a wide variety of flowers including flowers like those seen in gardens, throughout natural areas, and on farms.
Our last stop of the day was Big Daddy’s Organic Farm where Rex Clonts talked to us about sustainability and organic agriculture. He shared all about his work to use biological control agents and other integrated pest management strategies to produce some gorgeous, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Do you know what a growing season is? At certain times of the year, some crops grow better than others because of the change in the season. In Florida, we have relatively mild winters that allow us to grow fresh fruits and vegetables nearly all year long.
For a snap shot of our tour, check out this map guide.
Will there be another farm tour in the future?
Yes! This is an annual event hosted every spring. We plan to have another Seminole County Farm Tour in March 2023. More information and registration will be made available in December 2022. Be sure to check back with us around then as tickets sell out fast!
Who helped make this event possible?
A special thanks to the many Seminole County Extension Agents involved in the planning and orchestration of the 2022 Seminole County Farm Tour. Also, a big thank you to the Museum of Seminole County History for sharing the history of agriculture with our tour group. We also thank the volunteers and staff for their behind the scenes assistance throughout the day and leading up to the event. We also thank our Seminole County Government TV crew, and our Seminole County Graphics and Communications Teams for helping to document the event through photos and videos.
We also want to thank Seminole County Farm Bureau for sponsoring the event to help cover the cost of the tour bus. Another thanks to Farm Credit of Central Florida, Orlando North-Seminole County, and Seminole County 4-H for donation of supplies and food for the event.
Interested in sponsoring our 2023 Farm Tour or donating items?
Please reach out to Morgan Pinkerton, firstname.lastname@example.org.