Picking Hydroponics Veggies Near Sarasota, Fla.
Living in an apartment and spending much of my time traveling, I don’t have the ideal situation for a garden. I’ve tried growing herbs and tomatoes but they usually wilt away due to lack of watering.
That’s why I was soooo excited to learn about Hydro-Taste U-Pick Hydroponics Farm in Myakka City, Fla., near Sarasota. The farm is part of a recently formed association, Florida AgVentures, to promote agriculture-based businesses in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
Last Saturday I headed out to Hydro-Taste to pick some veggies. I realize U-pick farms are not new but this is a hydroponics farm which makes it unique. Yes, hydroponics just isn’t for growing marijuana, the process can be utilized to grow fruits, veggies and herbs. The way the plants grow means no kneeling on the ground to pick your fruits and veggies which means no unwanted aches and pains.
Visiting in October meant squashes, collards and some green beans were in season. I was hoping for strawberries but will have to return in December when they are in season.
Orientation to Hydro-Taste U-Pick Farm
I was the first visitor of the day and the staff, including two teenagers, were extremely welcoming. The young man (teenager) walked me through the process of how to pick my veggies. He handed me a red plastic basket for squash, a smaller basket lined with a plastic bag for the green beans and a pair of scissors for the beans. Before we left the market, where you can purchase fruits, vegetables, juices and baked goods, I was instructed to sanitize my hands with the dispenser.
We walked outside and was instructed to snip the green beans at the stem and twist the squash off. My young, yet wise guide demonstrated how. He made it look so easy because when I went to twist off my zucchini, the whole plant began to twist and the first go around, I used the scissors (which were for the beans) to snip it off. The second, third and fourth attempts at gathering squash it broke off at the stem meaning the stem was still attached to the plant.
When I returned to market to bag up and pay for my findings, I was expecting to be scolded for not properly removing veggies but thank goodness, a distraction arrived. A customer who had purchased a hydroponics growth unit and had grown an eight-pound sweet potato! Yes. Eight pounds! No, I didn’t grab a photo but it was almost the size of a football. Amazing.
Green beans were slim pickings, as I was told, but still picked enough for a meal. Between the squash and beans, the total was less than $5, much more affordable than if I had gone to the grocery store, plus I had the experience of seeing where my food came from and even a farmers market can’t offer that.
Nuts & Bolts About Hydro-Taste U-Pick Farm
When visiting Sarasota and looking for things to do consider a visit to Hydro-Taste U-Pick farm, especially if staying in a condo. You can pick and bring back fresh veggies for a dinner or two.
Hydro-Taste U-Pick Farm
7308 Verna Bethany Rd.
Myakka City, FL 34251
Tel: (941) 322-0429
Open: Tues. – Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Depending on season, pick strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, green beans and other vegetables. Check with the farm to learn what’s in season and available.