The Best Ways to Support Farmers in Florida

support farmers in Florida, FFVA Influencer Farm Tour 2024

Farmers are so important to our community. They work hard and spend long hours making sure we receive the best food for our families. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of learning about Florida’s agriculture thanks to a sponsored tour hosted by the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. I want to share the best ways to support farmers in Florida. These tips are also helpful for anyone outside of Florida who would like to support their local farmers.

support local farmers, melon 1

Make sure to subscribe via email to stay updated on the latest posts. Also, follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest for more amazing content. This post is sponsored by Fresh from Florida, the American Seed Trade Association and Florida Radish.

FUN FACT: Florida agriculture is the state’s second largest industry (behind tourism).

How to Support Farmers in Florida

Purchase locally grown produce to support our farmers.

Next time you are at the grocery store, look for the “Fresh from Florida” logo. This will require you to make more of an effort to shop responsibly.

Buy produce that is in season.

Seasonal produce is fresher, healthier and tastier. If you want to know what is in season, check out this guide by Fresh from Florida.

Attend events or u-picks hosted by farms.

There are a lot of local farms that hosts events and u-picks throughout the year. My family recently attended a blueberry festival and there were a lot of local vendors as well as the opportunity to pick blueberries.

Request local products at grocery stores.

Speak with the produce manager if you do not see any local products in the store. If you are visiting a farmer’s market, ask if their produce is from local farmers.

support farmers in Florida, Florida agriculture

FFVA Influencer Farm Tour 2024

I had an amazing experience touring different facilities and farms in southwest Florida. This trip made me realize how much goes into providing food for the world. I would like to share a summary of what I learned and experienced at each stop during the tour.

Sakata Seed America

  • Traditional breeding methods can take up to 10 years to develop the best seeds for produce.
  • There is a lot of research that goes into breeding to eliminate diseases, improve shelf life and enhance flavor.
  • This company offers a variety of seeds, including tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, peppers, and flowers.
  • Seed development at this facility requires a dry environment.

Lipman Family Farms

  • Produce is cultivated by 5 generations of farmers.
  • All the tomatoes are handpicked.
  • Less than 10% of their workers are locals. They rely on H-2A workers.
  • They have specialty crops like watermelon, green beans, peppers and more.

Fresh from Florida

  • Create a recipe based on produce that is in season.
  • Healthy doesn’t have to be boring.
  • Chef Justin made a refreshing mocktail, delicious salad and a seared beef with potato salad and green beans. He also prepared a blueberry tiramisu.

Tamiami Citrus

  • About 90% of the oranges grown in Florida are squeezed for orange juice.
  • Citrus greening, also called Huanglongbing, is a bacterial infection of citrus plants. A tree dies within a few years once it is infected and there is no cure. It’s causing the decline of Florida citrus production.
  • Florida is not the top citrus-producing state. (California is the winner)
  • Hurricanes significantly reduced citrus production. (Ft. Myers area is still recovering)
  • A lot of major orange juice brands now blend their juice with imports from other countries. (Check the labels when you are grocery shopping)

Troyer Brothers

  • It’s a third-generation family owned and operated company.
  • They produce red, yellow and white potatoes.
  • Picking potatoes is lot of work. I struggled but I was able to fill a bag.

Mobley Plant World

  • They germinate seeds for farmers.
  • Seeds are EXPENSIVE!
  • Fruit blotch affects plants and spreads through contaminated seeds. Can be a major problem for farmers.

Melon 1

  • One of the country’s oldest and largest watermelon growers and shippers.
  • Seedless watermelons are not GMO! They are hybrids created by cross-pollination. They have an odd number of chromosomes.
  • Buy the whole watermelon to help farmers plus it’s less wasteful.
  • The field is used only once every 10 years for watermelon to allow the ground to replenish nutrients.
  • Honey bees are rented to pollinate the watermelon flowers.
  • The shelf life of a watermelon is 21 days after it is picked. Typically, 14 days once it reaches the grocery store.

Here are some things that I learned during the FFVA Influencer Farm Tour:

  • Farming is a calling. Farmers care about the food they grow and strive to deliver the best quality to the community.
  • Farmers deal with a lot of things that can be very discouraging. They have to worry about the weather, insects, diseases, labor shortages and politics.
  • The H-2A agriculture program is vital to Florida agriculture.
  • Development is the biggest competition in finding land for farming. There is a large percentage of farmers that rent their land.
  • Bees play an important role in Florida’s agriculture.
  • Food security is national security.
  • There are times when farmers don’t make a profit.
  • Farmers that need help with their mental health have a program called Mind Your Melon.

You can find these adorable books about farming and agriculture on Amazon (As an Amazon Associate, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. This only applies if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!), your local library or visit a local book shop.

Looking for fun family activities? Check out these ideas!

Kids Eat Free in Tampa Bay

Blueberry Picking with Kids

40 Spring Activities for Families

Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland, Florida

Florida Children’s Museum

Things to do in Tampa Bay

30 Indoor Activities for Kids

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *