Friday, June 12, 2009

New Farm in Sumter - Center Hill Berry Patch

Delicious and thornless, the blackberries at the new Center Hill Berry Patch are ready for picking next week (June 15). Owners Richard and Bonnie Vencis have created a peaceful and scenic spot for berry picking on their farm in Center Hill.
Blackberries are a promising new fruit crop for Florida and according to Bonnie, they were able to produce their two acres of blackberries without using any synthetic pesticides. They also have a blueberry "patch" that just finished producing for the season.

Both Bonnie and Richard have attended AGRItunity Conferences and used the resources available through our UF/IFAS Sumter County Extension office to gain the knowledge needed to start their farm. They are a testimony to what can be done when applying the research-based information distributed through county extension programs from the University of Florida! Plus a lot of hard work and creativity.

Be sure to visit the Center Hill Berry Patch to pick your own blackberrries starting June 15. The price is expected to be $3.00 per pound and they will be picking 7 days a week. Call (352) 568-8154 before coming to make sure there are berries available. The farm is located on 8142 CR 702 in Center Hill. Enjoy this delicious summer treat and a relaxing country outing - and no scratches!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pea Pickin at Wildwood FFA!

Wildwood FFA decided to try a cash crop this spring to help support the activities of the organization. If you are not familiar with FFA, it used to stand for Future Farmers of America but as the agricultural industry evolved into many related careers the name became simply FFA. Wildwood High has a great group of students who are learning the applied science of agriculture through plant and animal production and other aspects of the industry. They are very active in career development events, leadership activities and can boast about having a State Officer from Wildwood High currently serving the Florida Association.

Teacher Susan Swartzfager, with help from community supporters and her students, has planted two fields of conch peas on the campus of Wildwood High School. The production of the peas has been a real learning experience for the students; they have learned about fertilizer, weeds, pests and the parts of the plant. Now it is time to learn about direct marketing of a fresh agricultural product.

The conch pea fields will be open for U-Pick June 16 - 18 and again in the second field June 29-30. The cost is $8.00 for a 5 gallon bucket. And by the way, these are fresh, nutritious local vegetables produced without pesticides!

Wildwood High School is located at 700 Huey StWildwood, FL 34785 and the telephone number is (352) 748-1314.