What was the 2023 Seminole County Farm Tour?
On the morning of Friday, March 24, 2023, we embarked on our journey of learning about local agriculture and food systems. Two busses started at the UF/IFAS Seminole County Extension Office and then toured around to five of our local farms. Throughout the day, we heard directly from our local farmers about the hard work and challenges of producing food. Participants also had the chance to ask our farmers questions about food production, life on the farm, 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 like water, growing your own food at home, and the history of agriculture in Seminole County. Participants had a chance to taste test some of our local agricultural products like orange juice and more. We also enjoyed lots of fresh air and the wonderful weather of Florida springtime.
Where did we stop on the tour?
We visited five of farms located right here in Seminole County. Our two tour busses took different routes along the tour, but met again for our luncheon. Both busses started the day with a self-guided tour of the Museum of Seminole County History introducing us to the long standing agricultural history in Seminole County. Did you know that Sanford used to be called “the celery capital of the world” due to large-scale production of celery? Maybe you will think of that the next time you are driving down Celery Ave.
For a snap shot of our tour, check out 2023 Farm Tour Map.
White’s Red Hill Grove
Our tour busses visited White’s Red Hill Groves throughout the day where Farmer Ed White showed us his citrus grove. He talked about the challenges of citrus production since the spread of citrus greening in Florida. Farmer Ed also showed off his BBQ stand, chicken coop, and vegetable plot. Participants even got to harvest their own sweet onion straight from the soil! Everyone got the chance to enjoy their BBQ at the Farm tour luncheon.
Black Hammock Bee Farms
At one of our farm stops, we visited 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.
Ed Yarborough Ranch, Inc.
In the middle of the day, both busses stopped 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 from White’s Red Hill Grove. Here we also learned all about ranching from the Yarborough Family.
Dutch Mill Nursery & Lommerse Honey
Both busses visited Dutch Mill Nursery & Lommerse Honey and Plants where we learned all about nursery plant production. Farmers John and Robert Lommerse sent participants home with a beautiful wax begonia to remember their visit. 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.
BigDaddy’s Organic Farm
One of our stops was at BigDaddy’s Organic Farm where Farmers Rex and Denise Clonts talked about organic agriculture. They shared all about their use of 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.
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 2024. Every year, we try to rotate farms, see new places, and learn more about our local agriculture. More information and registration will be made available in January 2024. Be sure to check back with us around early 2024 as tickets sell out fast!
Who helped make this event possible?
A MAJOR thank you goes out to all of the farms that participated in this year’s tour! Another special thanks to the many Seminole County Extension Agents involved in the planning and orchestration of the 2023 Seminole County Farm Tour. Also, a big thank you to the Museum of Seminole County History for sharing the history of local 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 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 Farm Bureau Insurance for sponsoring one of the two busses on the tour, Seminole County Farm Bureau for sponsoring some of the food at the luncheon, and the Seminole County 4-H Association for sponsoring the dessert table. Another big thanks to Farm Credit of Central Florida, Seminole County Farm Bureau, and Orlando North-Seminole County for donation of supplies for the event.
Interested in sponsoring our 2024 Farm Tour or donating items?
Please reach out to Morgan Pinkerton, email@example.com.