I’m all for locally grown, farm raised produce or organic food; however, one of the lacking aspects of being able to support local farming operations in Florida is availability and location. For example, a local u-pick blueberry place is at least an hour away and charges $4.50 per lb of berries, which you pick. Our local grocery sells locally grown blueberries at $5.00 for 2 pints (which equals approximately 1 ½ lbs.). As much as we would want to support our local farmers, it would cost us more in time and gas to go out of our way. That sucks.
When people think of Florida, they think of a lush, tropical paradise where anything grows. The truth is, not much out of citrus or very exotic tropical fruit grown near Miami is available. Sure, we have “two growing seasons” but even that is limited, especially with the weather getting warmer every season. It’s just too damn hot! Besides that, Florida is just not hip on farmer’s markets or CSAs. Forget apples, pears, plums, peaches (unless you’re near Georgia), asparagus, really any kind of berries, most root veggies as it is ether too hot or too wet for them, cold-loving veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, lettuce mixes. We do get strawberries, sweet corn, cucumbers, and tomatoes, however. And don’t even get me started on “other” aspects of a true farmer’s market, like artisanal cheeses, or breads, or preserves.
I guess my beef is other places make it look so effortless. When we went up to Virginia, we stopped at a local farmer’s market in Charlottesville. We found artisanal cheeses, spring lettuce mixes by the pound, grass-fed beef, free range eggs, more homemade breads and pastries than we could count, and even a man GIVING away unpasteurized, organic goat cheese because the government would not let him sell it! These sort of things are unheard of in Florida, and it makes me sad. Florida needs to get with the program of what a farmer’s market is all about, and I’m not talking about those fancy-schmancy, quasi craft-fair markets either. I’m talking about places like this. I won’t even mention what the farmer’s markets are like in the Pacific Northwest. I’ll start crying.