I started out writing a post for Valentine’s Day, but I found myself distracted by a juicy little berry. It began early this morning when I ducked into Sam’s Club. I stuck my hand in the cooler to grab a box of strawberries. They weren’t too expensive and strawberries go so well on pancakes, don’t they? As I reached for the box, the label caught my eye: “Product of Mexico.”
Plant City Strawberries
Whoa. I don’t have anything against Mexico personally, but my husband grew up on a strawberry farm in Plant City, home to the famous Annual Florida Strawberry Festival which has run since the 1930’s. And Plant City is just a couple of hours away. Only last week, I bought a little basket of Plant City strawberries at a local farm stand. Packed with flavor that can’t compare to more well-traveled berries, Plant City strawberries taste amazing! I knew the Strawberry Festival was due to happen sometime soon. I just didn’t know when, but I was keeping an eye on the price of strawberries. Everyone always says the price of strawberries drop in Florida when the Strawberry Festival ends. Long story short, I put down that box and walked out of Sam’s Club and then supported a local farmer (Sorry, Sam!) and we ate fresh-from-Florida produce- yeah, they didn’t make it to the morning pancakes!
I am not necessarily touting Plant City, but I am supporting local produce. In fact, our daughter raised an award-winning strawberry plant. For years it produced luscious red tasty berries- all pesticide-free. We all had to race to get the berries from that hanging basket of hers. That plant won second place, best-in-show, ribbon at the local youth fair. Once you taste a fresh strawberry- really fresh- all others pale in comparison.
The Florida Strawberry Festival
Our daughter’s plant has since perished, but the Annual Florida Strawberry Festival looms in the near future. Over-flowing with midway rides, live entertainment, youth fair and yummy strawberry shortcake, the Florida Strawberry Festival is one of the most popular events in our state. You can even buy flats of strawberries! (Of course, you can buy flats of Plant City strawberries at the farmers’ markets in Plant City as well.
We attended the Florida Strawberry Festival when our kids were little. Ate the cotton candy, went on a few rides and played some games and of course, tried the strawberry shortcake. That day, the kids walked away with a goldfish apiece which they won in one of those “every-kid-gets-a-prize” games. We went home and dropped the two fish into our 40-gallon tank at home and they promptly killed all of our other fish- except the Gourami (but nothing could kill that Gourami). Needless to say, we were shocked but learned you can’t mix goldfish with other kinds of fish. So if your kids come away from the festival with goldfish- buy a fish bowl- or trade them for strawberries!
The Florida Strawberry Festival runs from March 3-12, 2017
Admission: Adults $10; Children 6-12 $5 and 5 and under free with paid adult admission.
Located at: 303 N. Lemon St, Plant City, FL 33563
Floral City Strawberry Festival
Though certainly the mother-of-strawberry-festivals, Plant City is not the only place celebrating that juicy red fruit. This year, Floral City celebrates its’ 30th Annual Strawberry Festival (2 days only) March 4-5, 2017
With arts, crafts, live music, plants and strawberries!
Floral City Strawberry Festival:
Located at: Floral Park, 9530 S. Parkside Avenue, Floral City, Florida 34436
Admission: Adults $5; Children 12 and under free.
There’s a shuttle from the over-flow parking area at the Citrus County Auditorium to the event area.
4th Annual Habitat Strawberry Festival
The 4th Annual Habitat Strawberry Festival is on March 4, 2017
Located at: The McPherson Complex, SE 25th Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471
No admission, but they are accepting donations. This event is to raise money to build houses for families in the local community. Live music, children’s area, pie-eating contest, and yes, there will be flats on strawberries for sale!
And if you’re a fan of that blue- berry, there’s a festival for you too!
Florida Blueberry Festival
The Florid Blueberry Festival is on April 22-23, 2017
Admission: Adults $10; Teens: 13-17 $5; Children 12 and under free
Located at: 201 Howell Avenue, Brooksville, Florida 34601
**Always support the local farmers wherever you are and buy fresh and local when possible**
Do you know of any local strawberry festivals? Leave a comment below.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook!
Still yearning for some Valentines’s Day Romance? Check out this post:
Wondering how to surprise your beloved on Valentine’s Day?
Give the gift of adventure! Here are some posts to inspire:
- Zip-lining Across Canyons
- Paddling Juniper Run: Florida’s Natural Obstacle Course
- Kayaking on the Chassahowitzka River
- Hike to the Edge of the World
- North Central Florida’s Hidden Japanese Botanical Garden