Now’s the time to get your family to one of Tampa’s u-pick produce farms! Before it gets too warm here in the Tampa Bay area, put on some sunscreen and make a day of it. Pick your own produce and enjoy the freshest foods, straight from the plants. Many local farms are certified organic and pesticide-free, and all of them are worth a family field trip. Here are a few to include on your next outing.
Parke Family Hydrofarms
They sell by the pound, so be prepared to do a lot of picking! They grow everything from zucchini and tomatoes to beans and peppers. Their produce is both insecticide free and hydroponic, so you get the healthiest produce for your family. The more you pick, the cheaper the veggies: pick between 5-10 pounds, pay $3 per pound; pick between 10-15 pounds, pay just $2.50 per pound. Selection varies by date, so check their website for currently available produce and a complete price guide.
Parke Family Hydrofarms is located on an acre of land at 375, Tanner Road in Plant City, just west of Tampa. Visit Tuesday through Saturday by appointment only. Call (813) 927-4049 for more information.
Fort Lonesome Farm
Fun for your kids and easy on your wallet, this farm is a u-pick produce farm and a petting zoo all in one. Right now, they’ve got chicks and baby ducks for the little ones to see, and the sweet onions and blueberries are ready to be harvested! Pack a picnic lunch — there’s a picnic and play area for you to enjoy a break together. Fort Lonesome Farm is open weekends and all holidays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m (don’t forget to wear a hat and sunscreen).
To reach Fort Lonesome Farm, take exit 240 from Interstate 75, and head north on County Road 39. They’re located at 15433 County Road 39 South, Lithia. For more information, call (813) 699- 2058.
Proctor Family Farm
This is the best time to harvest blueberries ‘” get them before they’re gone! Your kids will never forget the fun they had with you, picking their own berries. The Proctor Family Farm is open every day from 8 am until sundown (get there early, when it’s still fairly cool, and to get the best berries). If it’s too hot to pick them yourself, grab some of their already packaged berries. Make muffins when you get home, eat them with cream, or just wash them and eat them straight from a bowl! The Proctor Family Farm only accepts cash, and they supply all the buckets and containers you need to pick your produce and take it home.
The farm is located at 7105 Kinard Rd., Plant City. Call 813-323-8822 for detailed directions. They don’t have a website, but you can find directions here, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You’re lucky if you live in the Tampa Bay area this time of year. You can still get berries fresh from the farm, and summer produce is ready to be picked, thanks to the great warm weather. Why not save some money at the grocery store and provide your family with a wholesome good time? Visit one of our many local u-pick farms and see why the simple things are sometimes the best.