I’m heartened to see the emergence of the local farm. They seem to be moving into our communities at a steady pace, and I for one am grateful. Not only does this mean a continuous supply of fresh, locally grown produce at my fingertips, but local farms can provide invaluable education for kids and adults, alike. Recently, I blogged about a new local farm opening in my area, Dirty Dog Organics. I’m happy to say it’s going to be a regular stop for me!
And while my town is new to the local farm rage, I visited a commercial farm in South Florida that has been around and doing quite well. On my trip home from the Miami Book Fair, I stopped at Bedner’s, located in Boynton Beach, where I was fortunate enough to hitch a ride on a school field trip tractor ride. Literally.
Bedner’s is a farm fresh market with two locations; Boynton Beach and Delray Beach. The market is open to the public and backs up to the farm itself where visitors can ogle acres and acres of strawberry fields, corn, eggplant, peppers–and more!–lined by sugar cane. My first question when I saw the sugarcane was, “Is sugarcane a good companion plant for these others?”
Sure, I’m originally from Miami where I was used to delight in fresh sugar cane on a regular basis, but so far as my endeavors as a backyard gardener, I’m clueless. Luckily my tour guide, David, is an expert on all things Bedner’s informing me that the farm uses sugar cane as a wind break for their fields. Protection from the wind?
Now THAT I can understand. My own garden sits on several open acres in my backyard, and wind can definitely be a nuisance!
Bedner’s sells its homegrown produce on site, but they also offer U-Pick opportunities, season and supply permitting. As if that’s not enough fun for the kids, they host Pet Parties for the wee ones on weekends! Nothing better than a visit to the petting zoo after a tractor ride through the farm, right?
Part of my tractor ride took me for a scenic tour through the natural Florida wetlands habitat which border the farm. Not only an important part of our ecological system in Florida, but beautiful to behold.
Guests will also get a glance of the bees that are responsible for pollinating Bedner’s lush fields of green, along with another quick lesson. Did you know that bees are highly territorial and will always return home to the Queen Bee after a hard day’s work? And did you know that if you remove their Queen while they’re away, they’ll hover until she returns, or die waiting.
Whoa. I didn’t know that about bees. I also didn’t realize that every silk strand on a corn cob represents one kernel of corn. Think of each strand as the “feeder” for each kernel. Wow. Who knew!?
Not me. But I think it’s very cool. In fact, I’m thinking about starting my own backyard beehive, though I must confess that I’m a bit intimidated by the thought. Aside from the general anxiety over bee stings, I really have no idea how to care for bees. Will they make honey? Will it be messy? Do they need a special dwelling?
Sounds like someone needs to do a little more research!
If you’re ever in the neighborhood, a stop at Bedner’s is well worth your time.