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There is something incredibly exciting to me about the thought of picking my own food and knowing where the food I eat comes from. Maybe it’s the fresh farm air, breaking away from the hustle and bustle of city life, consuming food super rich in vital nutrients, or just the romantic idea of knowing I am providing my family with nourishing real food that hasn’t ever seen a barcode sticker or the shelves of a grocery store.
A couple years ago, our family started the tradition of annual strawberry, tomato, and blueberry picking during their appropriate seasons. Since we live in the heat of Florida, it’s been hard to find much else to pick. When I found out about a local farm in Bradenton that was open for u-pick peaches, my heart fluttered. The thought of juicy peaches growing just miles away from me?
Photo Credit: King Family Farm
King Family Farm is located just minutes off the interstate in Bradenton. It took our family an hour from Mid-Pinellas, a drive that proved worthwhile. Once we arrived it became clear we weren’t the only ones excited about the idea of peaches in Florida (note to self: next time arrive first thing in the morning around 9am). We were given buckets for picking and made our way to 8 acres of beautiful peach trees, all full of big orange peaches, just waiting to be picked!
It proved to be a beautiful day for picking, we spent about an hour maneuvering our way through the acres of peach trees, taking a few breaks to socialize with the sheep on the farm and the horse, both which proved to be big hits with my animal-loving son.We picked pounds and pounds of perfect peaches, filling our buckets at each tree. We looked for firm peaches that could easily be pulled off the tree (if a peach is difficult to separate from the branch it’s not ready…leave it alone!), ones that were no longer yellow but rather a beautiful orange-red color on its base, had a little “give” to them, and smelled slightly sweet.
After about an hour, we had picked 45 lbs of peaches (we are big believers in the “go big!” motto). A wagon would have been incredibly useful for hauling our sweet prizes back to the farm stand for weighing, but who needs a wagon when you have a more than willing husband (hey, he works for good food). We enjoyed the lunch we packed at one of the many picnic tables, picked up more buckets, and headed down the many rows of blueberry plants. The blueberry plants were no where near as plentiful as the peach trees, but we were still able to pick a good amount, around 5 lbs.
Photo Credit: King Family Farm
We headed home, at the end of the day, having filled out bellies with juicy peaches, sweet blueberries, and lots of great memories. The King Family Farm is the perfect example of local farm we love to support, a farm which prides itself on organic practices and sustainable farming, allowing city people like ourselves to enjoy the sweet pleasure of picking our own food. I was incredibly impressed with how friendly the farm was and how much they enjoyed seeing our kids partaking in the opportunity to pick their own food.
Now, the fun begins! We have a lot of work ahead of us this week, processing peaches. It makes me giddy just thinking of all the peaches that are about to fill mason jars and baggies in my freezer! I look forward to sharing with you all this week my plans for all those delicious peaches that have taken over my kitchen table. Peach scones are calling my name!
Get out this weekend, find a local farm, and “Shake the hand that feeds you.” (Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto)
King Family Farm is open till the end of May for u-pick peaches and blueberries, Saturdays 9-2, http://www.kingfamilyfarmandmarket.com/