Thursday, August 26, 2010

Creating New Market Opportunities With High Tunnel Greenhouses workshop by U of F IFAS extension

Dear Growers and IFAS Professors,
Thanks for allowing me to attend your very informative workshop day. I learned a lot about high tunnel greenhouses and their applications in Florida, specifically at  Farmville Organics in Ft. Pierce.  I never knew the market was first developed in Europe and that we here in the States are so far behind the rest of the world when it comes to using of this technology. But we are learning and changing for the better it seems, at least by the number of people that attended yesterday.

The tunnels help reduce water  (acre-inch) use in frost prevention techniques to nothing, at least according to a 2007 to 2009 study, by Dr. Bielinski Santos, Asst. Professor of Horticulture, Gulf Cast Research and Educational Center, Balm, Florida. Dr. Santos said, even with just a roof over the plants the ambient air temperature in the tunnels increased in winter to keep strawberries in Plant City, FL warm during a frost event in the winter of 2009 (outside 27 degrees, inside 43 degrees). Tunnels also help with crop diversification, early production edge, reduction of foliar & fruit disease, according to Dr. Santos.

This technology, when perfected for Florida (excessive heat in the tunnels in summer is a problem), could allow the growing season to go longer than the typical one from September to May, helping the State to become more competitive with other markets.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Useful Conventional and Organic Farm related sites, Updated

Here are some sites you might like to check out for more information on Farms both conventional and organic:
Organic Certifying Agent

My South Florida Small Farms List as of August 2010, Updated 2014

My knowledge of South Florida farms is ever growing.
Here's my list:
1.  Bluefield Certified Organic Farm, Okeechobee (Certified Organic) *NOW CLOSED*
2.  Worden Farm, Punta Gorda, (Certified Organic, CSA, farmers markets sales, sells vegetables, berries and edible flowers)
3.  Dakin Dairy Farms, Myakka City, Manatee County (Grass-Fed Dairy farm, sustainable agriculture practices, sells pasteurized milk and cream)
4.  Sea Breeze Organic Farm, Ft. Pierce (Certified Organic, no website, sells at farmers markets, 772-489-7905)
5.  D&D Farms, Palm City (Conventional, CSA, u-pick-it, sells at farmers markets) *NOW CLOSED*
6.  Verticle Horizon, Hobe Sound (Hydroponic, sells at Ft. Pierce & Stuart farmers market, sells vegetables and berries)*
7.  Erickson Farm Inc, Canal Point (Conventional, organic growing practices, CSA, sells mangoes and tropical fruit)*
8.  Swank Specialty Produce, Loxahatchee (Hydroponic, Organic growing practices, CSA, sells fruit, vegetables, edible flowers, preserves)*
9.  Kenari Groves General, Inc, Loxahatchee (Merchant Circle website; Conventional Farm, no pesticides, sells tropical fruit)
10.  Farmhouse Tomatoes, Inc, Lake Worth (Greenhouse, sells at West Palm Beach & Palm Beach Gardens Green Market, sells heirloom tomatoes)*
11.  Bedner's Farm Fresh Market, Boynton Beach (Conventional, organic growing practices, on-site sales of veg, fruit, Florida meat...etc.)*
12.  Green Cay Produce, Boynton Beach (Conventional, sustainable agriculture practices, CSA, sells berries and vegetables)
13.  Pero Family Farms, Boynton Beach (Conventional, sustainable agriculture practices, sells bell peppers to Publix and other grocery stores)*
14.  Capella Triple C. Groves, Delray Beach (Hydroponic, organic growing practices, u-pick-it, on-site store) *NOW CLOSED*
15.  The Girls Strawberry U-Pick-It, Delray Beach (Hydroponic, u-pick-it, on-site store, sells berries, tropical fruit and vegetables)*
16. Kai Kai Farm, Indiantown (Organic growing practices, CSA, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Garden green market sales, sells vegetables, berries, herbs, and mushrooms).*

Central Florida Farm selection
1.   Uncle Matt's, Clermont (Certified Organic orange juice, sells to most groceries)

*Updated July 2014