Now Available: Kroger Delivery + Farm Tours
Its products soon will be available via Kroger Delivery, with greenhouse tours also available to residents.
The Villages Grown is adding to the ways local residents can access and learn more about their produce.
Starting next week, consumers can buy Villages Grown crops through Kroger Delivery and take a peek behind the scenes at Villages Grown farm tours.
“The foremost goal of The Villages Grown is to provide nutrient-dense, fresh, yummy produce to the residents, and I think what we’re going to see through each of these avenues, through the events, and then even here at the farm, is just continuing to expand on that in meaningful ways,” said Drew Craven, executive director of The Villages Grown.
For about four years now, The Villages Grown has used modern growing methods to cultivate fresh, local produce for The Villages and surrounding communities. The farm participates in popular local events like The Villages’ strawberry and blueberry festivals, and its produce has become available at a growing number of stores.
In addition to its retail location inside The Market at Sawgrass Grove, shoppers can find the produce at all Publix and Winn-Dixie stores in The Villages, as well as at some other Publixes in surrounding communities.
Starting June 22, that list of stores also will include Kroger. Villagers will be able to buy all of The Villages Grown’s products, including bibb, red butter and hydro crunch lettuce; herbs like basil, chives and cilantro; and microgreens through the grocery company.
Because of the area Kroger Delivery serves, The Villages Grown products now will be available to communities all across the state.
“They don’t even have to leave their house and they can still have this healthy produce delivered to their doorstep,” Craven said. “I think as we expand into other cultivars or crops, other herbs, other lettuces and other options, and continue to expand on the offerings and the tie-ins to their lifestyle, that’s really where we’re gonna see things go.”
The Villages Grown also is expanding its educational offerings to allow local residents to learn more about the health benefits of its fresh produce, as well as how it is grown.
Recently, the farm began a partnership with The Villages Health to allow residents to shop with a dietician in small groups at The Villages Grown retail shop in Sawgrass Grove.
Starting Tuesday, new farm tours will allow residents to get a look inside The Villages Grown’s greenhouses, which are near Rohan Recreation on State Road 44. Tour guides will explain how the farming operation works.
“I think when it comes to a lot of what The Villages does, the residents are able to see it so transparently,” Craven said. “They can see the houses being built, they can see a square being constructed, they can see the entertainers and the events get conducted. The farm isn’t something that they’ve ever really gotten to get that inside scoop on.”
Residents have been requesting tours ever since the farm began, said Rebecca Reis-Miller, director of business development and distribution for The Villages Grown.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from residents wanting to come and check it out,” she said.
The tours, which will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, will allow consumers to see the entire process of what happens at the farm, from planting the seeds to harvesting the crops.
Participants will witness how staff seed, propagate, germinate and place plants into the greenhouses. They also will get to see various stages of the crops’ lives and learn about the technology used during the growing process.
So far, residents have jumped at the opportunity. All the tours on Tuesday are sold out, as are the majority of tours this month.
Single tickets, deluxe tickets and tickets for children ages 10 to 17 are available. Ticket cost varies. For tickets, visit thevillagesgrown.com.
To shop with a dietician, go to thevillageshealth.com/learning-center/.