A Recap of the 2024 Seminole County Farm Tour

What was the 2024 Seminole County Farm Tour?

On the morning of Friday, March 22, 2024, 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 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 our local farmers. Extension agents and other educators speaking also spoke about growing your own food at home, Florida Friendly Landscaping practices, how to incorporate fresh produce into your diet, and the history of agriculture in Seminole County. Participants had a chance to taste test some of our local agricultural products like honey. We also enjoyed a BBQ lunch catered by one of our local farms too!

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 2024 Farm Tour Map.

Gabriella Plants

Shane Maloy, owner of Gabriella Plants, showing off their greenhouses.

Both busses visited Gabriella Plants where we learned about Florida’s nursery industry. Owner Shane Maloy and his team took us on a tour of their greenhouses and packing house. They showed us the many species and varieties of house plants that they sell in their store and online. They had quite the collection of orchids and other gorgeous plants ideal for indoors. Did you know that Florida’s nursery industry ranks second in the U.S. next to California?

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 about the importance of honey bees to agriculture and different types of honey. Do you know the difference between orange blossom and wildflower honey? Bees make orange blossom honey by visiting the flowers of orange trees. Wildflower honey is made by bees visiting a variety of flowers like those seen in gardens, natural areas, and farms.

4-H project displays hung up on the wall.
4-H Youth projects on display at the Yarborough Ranch

Ed Yarborough Ranch, Inc.

In the middle of the day, both busses stopped at the Ed Yarborough Ranch, Inc. While on the bus, participants learned about the history of cattle ranching in Florida and specifically, Seminole County. Traveling along the dirt road to the main part of the property, participants may have spotted cattle grazing in the fields. This was also the stop where we enjoyed a delicious BBQ lunch catered by White’s Red Hill Grove. Here we also learned all about ranching from the Yarborough Family. We also heard from some of our local 4-H youth that gave presentations at the luncheon and set up an eye-catching display of their recent projects.

Old Red Barn of Geneva

The busses also stopped at the Old Red Barn of Geneva. Farmer Shelley Nelson taught us all about her goat breeding 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.

Tom Minter in strawberry field
Farmer Tom Minter, Pappy’s Patch, discussing the challenges of agriculture in Florida.

Pappy’s Patch

One of our stops was at Pappy’s Patch, a local strawberry U-pick operation. Agritourism farms, like this one, provide a unique way for people to connect with agriculture, learn about farming practices, and enjoy outdoor activities. At this stop, we learned how variable the harvest can be from year to year. The weather can have major impacts on agriculture and this farm has faced some major challenges over the past few years. This year, in particular, we had a very wet winter which has impacted strawberry production not only in Seminole county, but across the state.


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 2024 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. Thank you to our Seminole County Government TV crew, and our Seminole County Graphics and Communications Teams for helping to film the event.

We also want to thank Farm Bureau Insurance for sponsoring one of the two busses on the tour, Seminole County Farm Bureau for sponsoring a portion of the luncheon. 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.

Farm Bureau Insurance Logo    Farm Credit of Central Florida Logo     Orlando north logo4 H logo

Interested in sponsoring future Farm Tours or donating items?

Please reach out to Morgan Pinkerton, morgan0402@ufl.edu.


Posted: March 27, 2024

Tags: 4-H, Agriculture, Beehives, Bees, Farm, FarmTour, Florida Farm Bureau, Goats, Houseplants, Local Ag, Nursery, Ranch, SeminoleCounty, SeminoleCountyAg, Spring, U Pick

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