Growing Local in St. Johns County – A New Event in October!

This fall, the St. Johns County Extension Office will be Growing Local!

For many years, we have hosted the Datil Pepper Fall Festival the first weekend of October in St. Augustine at the Ag Center. While we have enjoyed bringing the community together over the years to honor our iconic, heritage pepper, many things have changed, and we have an opportunity for growth.

For one, the pandemic has made it difficult to gather in large groups, and we are still taking precautions. The restaurant industry has suffered greatly as they struggle with rising costs of food, and lack of a full staff to service their customers. Our Datil pepper production has become limited to small farms and home gardens. Since potatoes, cabbage and vegetables of Asian-origins being the larger representation of St. Johns County, we feel that our educational events should represent all commodities.

With that said, the St. Johns County Extension Agents decided as a group (with stakeholder input), to make some changes as we all evolve with the change in times. On October 21st – 22nd of 2022 in St. Augustine, we will be offering…

Growing Local in St. Johns County!

Growing Local Avatar
Growing Local in St. Johns County

So what does this all entail? A brand new vision and opportunity for you to engage with us and the agricultural community! By “Growing Local…,” we mean that literally. Growing your… produce, mindset, health, youth’s creativity, livestock, community awareness, etc.

Your Extension Agents are part of the county and our state educational institution – UF/IFAS. While we have enjoyed working with local vendors and restaurants, it is time bring more awareness of the purpose of our County Agricultural Center, and the contributions of local farms to our county!

For two days, you will have access to the Master Gardeners and their fabulous plant sale. These plants are all Florida Friendly, and non-invasive. Your purchase supports the volunteer organization. Youth in the 4-H Pumpkin Project will be offering a wide variety of pumpkins (for carving, decorating or baking) as part of their fundraiser too! Ask them which variety is good for what purpose – they’ve been studying for a while!

There will be educational sessions and lectures on Saturday, along with farm tours on Friday! The Ag Agents will take you on a 50-passenger bus to visit retail/u-pick/small farms in St. Johns County. You can learn about the operation of local farms who regularly sell at our local markets and restaurants. Saturday’s educational sessions are FREE and do not require pre-registration. You can simply enter the Ag Center’s auditorium at the time of the talk.

  • 10:00 AM – Microgreens – Terra Freeman
  • 10:45 AM – Fall Vegetable Gardening – Barbara Purple
  • 11:30 AM – Food Preservation – Wendy Lynch
  • 12:00 PM – Lunch
  • 1:00 PM – Cracker Cattle – Tim Wilson
  • 1:45 PM – Cooking with Local Produce – Paul Brock

If interested in participating in our farm tours, register on their Eventbrite page before October 18th. Prissy Fletcher and Tim Wilson will be leading the tour.

Curious about canning? To register for our water bath canning food preservation workshop with Wendy Lynch, visit her Eventbrite page before October 16th! Both events take place on Friday, October 21st. The St. Johns County Ag Center is located at 3125 Agricultural Center Dr., St. Augustine, Florida.

Please contact our office at 904-209-0430 for more details or email us: We will also have a local food truck from 11am – 3pm on Friday! Hope to see you there!

Jarrahdale pumpkin
Jarrahdale pumpkins
Long Island Cheese pumpkins
Long Island Cheese pumpkins

Prissy Fletcher
Posted: July 23, 2022

Category: Events
Tags: Ag Awareness, Community, Education, Food Systems

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