Fall in Florida
Fall in Florida is such an incredible season for many reasons. While many regions within the United States are preparing for cooler temperatures and the incredible colors of the fall foliage, Florida only slightly cools down and the sunshine and warmth remain. In the Sunshine State, fall is a time of abundant harvests of both fruits and vegetables that provide a burst of color and flavor to the state.
Florida is renowned for its citrus fruits and fall marks the beginning of their debut. Beginning in September until November citrus groves begin to fill up with ready to pick oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines. The state is renowned for its sweet and juicy oranges that find their way into orange juice and make for a refreshing treat.
Farmers and orchard owners across Florida eagerly anticipate a successful fall citrus harvest, as it represents a large portion of their yearly income. While some of these farms often sell their citrus to juice companies or distributors, others open up their farm to visitors for a U-Pick experience, providing an authentic taste of Florida’s agricultural traditions.
Another incredible crop that Floridians look forward to are strawberries. These sweet and fragrant fruit are a delicacy. In many states strawberries are primarily a spring crop, Florida’s strawberry season however begins in late November and extends well into the winter months. The state’s sandy soil and mild temperatures create the ideal conditions for growing, making Florida one of the top strawberry-producing states in the nation.
The fall harvests in Florida extend beyond fruit, from October until December farms throughout the state are harvesting delicious vegetables including sweet potatoes, collard greens, okra, bell peppers, sweet corn, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Long and Scott Farms in Mt. Dora, FL offer Scott’s Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn and Great Scott Kirby cucumbers each fall. This family farm has been in operation for 60 years, with the farm opening in 1963. Each fall the farm offers corn, cucumbers, conch peas, black eyed peas while in the winter months items such as cabbage are available. This farm is also known for its unique, themed corn mazes that change each year in which locals can enjoy all of October until November 26.
The agricultural diversity of Florida isn’t limited to traditional crops, exotic and tropical delights also find their way into the fall harvest. Passion Fruit, Guava and Avocado are available during this time.
Knowing when items are in season is helpful when shopping. Consumers can look for the Fresh from Florida label to find Florida grown seasonal items. Consuming local fruits and vegetables supports local farmers, is more economical, supports the environment, encourages a diverse diet and creates harmony with nature’s production cycles.
The Villages Grown features many of these fall favorites and more from its farm partners including, Long & Scott Farms, Mick Farms and Little Pond Farm, at The Market at Sawgrass Grove.
You can also find these items at the weekly farm market on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4pm – 6pm at 4571 Wright Lane, The Villages.