Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fellsmere Community Farm Project, Fla: Edible Cactus & More

Fellsmere Community Farm Project helps low-income Florida farm workers eat better. Located in Indian River County, this four-year old cooperative with the City of Fellsmere has two sites that grow many types of vegetables including edible cactus.
Yolanda Gomez in a cactus field at The Fellsmere Community Farm Project
tour, Fellsmere, Fla.
"It started because a lot of farm workers don't have healthy food. We thought the farm workers would be interested but they work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Instead the families of the farm workers are here, so it's more of an education center," said Yolanda Gomez, one of the founders of the farm and active member of the Farmworker Association of Florida.
Newer site of Fellsmere Community Farm Project, Fellsmere,
She added that it only costs $30/year to lease a plot. Unfortunately, many people come to learn how to garden and then abandon their plot before the year is up. These plots then become community run.

The land is provided by the city, the water comes from a well, and the fertilizer comes from a horse farm and compost bins on one of the sites. Everything is grown sustainably and organically although it is not certified.

I joined a group of farming enthusiasts, on the Viva 500 U-Drive Farm Tour, earlier this year. The event was organized the Slow Food Gold and Treasure Coast Chapter.

"We are very good on green beans. We are very good on radishes. We are very good on onions but we are not good on tomatoes," said Gomez to our tour group. "We can grow anything that is legal," she added with a smile.

Yolanda Gomez serving edible cactus dishes at Fellsmere Community
 Farm Project tour, Fellsmere, Fla.
After the tour, guests were invited to try cactus six ways with other vegetables from the farm. In the raw form, after the spines were removed, the cactus was crunchy but slimy, and had a slight lemony flavor. I tried five styles and left the sixth made with hot chilies.

Edible cactus made five ways at Fellsmere Community Farm Project
tour, Fellsmere, Fla.
In the future, the Fellsmere Community Farm Project hopes to expand their cactus production and have a farmers market.

The community farm project is supported in part by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. But they are always looking for support, volunteers, and new members. To find out more you can call Yolanda Gomez at (772) 571-0081 or email her at

1 comment:

  1. Live on a Country farm in a safe, unspoiled country environment and enjoy Farm Fresh dairy, fruit and vegetables produced on site.
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