Florida is most well known for sunshine and orange juice, but any resident will tell you that this state has so much more. Due to our mild climate, many crops do exceedingly well here. When you get outside of the theme parks, you will see how vast the land around the state is, lending way to many different farms.
As a result of Florida legislation in 2018, agritourism was defined as “any Florida agricultural related activity consistent with a bona fide farm or ranch or in a working forest which allows members of the general public to view or enjoy activities related to farming, ranching, historical, cultural or harvest-your-own attractions for recreational, entertainment or educational purposes.”
And ever since then, and even long before, farms around the state have been welcoming visitors. These farms have become great opportunities for families to see where their food is grown, and get up close with working animals making milk, and cheeses. We’ve compiled a list of all the U-Pick and local farms we have visited over the years, and think are worth putting on your list!
Florida’s Agritourism, and how you can Explore the Local Farms
Hunsader Farms is one of our favorite all season farms. Mostly well known for their Fall Festival, they also have multiple crops available for U-Pick through out the year. They also have a really unique KOA site set up with Covered Wagons to Stay In!
Throughout the year, you can find tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries, green beans and okra. You’ll also find some additional fresh picked vegetables like broccoli, cucumbers, sweet corn, and pumpkins available at the farm’s market. You can also hang out with the animals on the farm, even feed some of them like the goats, ducks and kangaroos.
Whether you visit for a U-Pick adventure, or the Fall or Christmas festival, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the farm lifestyle while you are at Hunsader.
Southern Hill Farms
Southern Hill Farms is settled in the hills of Clairmont, and has amazing views of the rolling hills surrounding the farm. The farm is wildly popular on social media, and it’s no wonder given how picturesque it is. They go to great lengths to set up some very Instagramable spots, including an adorable purple couch in the sunflower field, a classic old truck, and a perfect pumpkin patch for posing.
Throughout the year the farm offers U-Pick options including blueberries, strawberries, pumpkins and flowers. The most unique thing that Southern Hill Farms offers is peach picking. Not commonly found throughout Florida, the peaches at Southern Hill Farms are delicate and juicy.
If you visit the farm during a festival, you absolutely have to stop by the food hall, and enjoy some of their specialty dishes, including cider doughnuts, and blueberry pastries. And then top off your visit with a tractor pulled wagon ride to explore the fields and see the crops first hand.
Keel and Curley Winery
With a little bit of something for everybody, Keel and Curly is a great stop off of I-4 in Plant City. During the spring season the farm celebrates its main crop, blueberries. Even celebrating with a Blueberry Festival in April each year. They welcome guests onto the farm for games and vendors and u-pick festivities to enjoy the mild spring weather.
Throughout the rest of the year, the farm welcomes visitors for tours, wine tastings and good eats at their restaurant. The winery, only getting its start in 2003 now produces more than 35,000 cases of fruit-based wines. They produce the wine right next to the blueberry fields, making tourists really appreciate the farm to table approach, or farm to barrel in this case.
The tours include a ride around the farm on a trolley, a behind the scenes look at the winery, and a tasting of their most popular wines. You can then stay for a meal at the restaurant, including farm fresh ingredients. Make sure you designate a driver for your group, because the wine tasting is quite generous.
Dakin Dairy Farm
Not far from Hunsader Farms, you’ll find Dakin Dairy Farms. We actually visited here while we were staying at the KOA at Hunsader. The farm is a large dairy supplier in the region, with a variety of products available. They are most widely renowned for their chocolate milk, and various cheeses.
When heading into the farm you’ll see quite the vast amount of land that the cows are free to roam. You’ll also catch a glimpse of goats on your way to the market. The onsite market is a great place to sample the products they have on site, but really you’ll want to head there just for the house-made ice cream.
The highlight of your trip to Dakin Farms will be the tour. You start by getting up close and personal with the dairy cows in the free stall barns, and then see how the cows are milked, and then on to the production. This is such an in-depth experience, its a great opportunity to get a glimpse into Florida’s dairy industry.
Just north of the Tampa area, you’ll find the quite little farm called Sweetfields. They open their doors to the public twice a year, once in the spring for sunflower season, and in the fall for a pumpkin patch. At the Spring event, you can also browse the u-pick fields as well as gather your own sunflowers and zinnias. There is something so magical about Wandering Through a Sunflower Field, you have to try it.
During the fall festival, in addition to food vendors, and a huge pumpkin patch, you can enjoy a hayride through the farm. They also have some adorable spots set up for photo ops for the whole family. Once you’ve picked the perfect pumpkin, head into the harvest barn to pick up some of their fresh picked vegetables.
One of the most popular activities in both the spring and fall is the farm’s maze. Each season they create a fun, life-size labyrinth for you to challenge your navigation skills. In the Fall, the maze is made of corn, and in the spring the maze is made from sunflowers. They have some maze helpers to make sure you don’t get too lost, but that’s half the fun of it.
Starkey Farm and Market
Starkey Farms is a little farm settled in the middle of a bustling area in Trinity, Florida. The farm is a whole complex including a local artisan market, a barn for group events, and the u-pick farm. Throughout the season the u-pick farm includes blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries.
At the market you can pick up local produce grown throughout the Tampa Bay area. You can also visit the the barn to enjoy to local selection of beer and wine. Sit down and enjoy the live music, and appreciate being surrounded by the fields just beyond the barn.
The Pickin’ Patch
Fall is a relative term in Florida. The weather can be all over from hot to mild, so any opportunity we have to experience a little bit of fall is welcomed. At The Pickin’ Patch in Dunnellon, you get the opportunity to get out into the field, and pick the pumpkins right off the vine.
During the month of October, the patch welcomes visitors to browse the fields and choose from a variety of pumpkins, including traditional orange pumpkins, white heritage pumpkins, and gourds. During pumpkin season you can also explore their corn maze, and in some seasons, pick up some sunflowers.
This is a true in-field u-pick experience. It’s recommended to wear long pants, closed toe shoes, and from our experience, you might want to bring some gardening gloves for the vines which can be a little prickly. We also recommend bringing a wagon and pair of clippers if you have them. They also create this really unique experience called the gourd tunnel, where you can become surrounded with a tunnel of green hanging gourds.
Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest
When the winter holiday season rolls around, its a little hard to tell in Florida. We don’t get snow, it doesn’t get too cold, and the trees don’t lose their leaves. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t like to get festive. Many houses are fully decorated with lights and sparkles, inside and out.
One of the ways to bring in some winter spirit is with a live Christmas tree. Many cities have local tree tents for pick up, but go one step further and take a tree out to a Christmas tree farm. At Santa’s Christmas Tree Forest, you can handpick the perfect tree for your living room right from the forest. The farm provides bow saws to cut the trees, so don’t worry if you don’t have your own power tools.
The farm is also open during the fall season for pumpkins, and offers field trips for schools. This may seem like a unique farm for Florida, but it’s definitely an active and vital part of our agritourism industry.
Whether you head out into the field to pick some beautiful flowers, or grab some vegetables for your next meal, you’ll have a great time exploring the farms around the state. We are constantly exploring new farms and ranches throughout the state, so leave us a suggestion of some more places we should visit!