TAVARES — More than four dozen Lake County residents were treated to a special tour of a few select agricultural operations on Thursday during the First Annual Lake County Farm Tour.
Lake County Extension Director Juanita Popenoe (center) and Commissioner Linda Stewart (left) listen to Hank Scott from Long & Scott Farms.
“Good morning and welcome to the first-ever farm tour,” said Juanita Popenoe, Director of the Lake County Extension to a group VIPs attending the tour, including County Commissioners Elaine Renick and Linda Stewart. “We will get a chance today to see some great Lake County farms.”
The self-guided tour included stops at DeLeon’s Bromeliads of Mount Dora, Mo Brangus of Sorrento, Long & Scott Farms of Mount Dora, G & L Farms of Yalaha and Florida Fruit Company of Howey-in-the-Hills.
Visitors to Long & Scott Farms were invited on a narrated hayride through the fields of growing pickling cucumbers. The fourth generation, 1,200-acre farm is best known for its trademark Zellwood Sweet Gourmet Corn, however, the farm also produces pickling cucumbers, red and green cabbage, watermelons and turf grass. It is also extremely popular during the fall for its corn maze and for its market, which is open in the spring and fall when the farm harvests. During the tour at Long & Scott Farms, guests learned the farm recently converted to a drip irrigation system.
“It conserves water, saves money and it is more efficient as it gives the plants the water and nutrients they need,” said Hank Scott.
During a tour of G&L Farms, Lake County Extension Agent Ryan Atwood and farm owner Gary Miller explained how blueberries are quickly becoming a hot commodity in Florida. According to Atwood, Florida has unique window in the spring when it is one of the sole providers of blueberries. Lake County has seen unprecedented growth in blueberry farms, including a 500-fold increase in the past couple years, which today totals more than 200 acres.
For more information about the Lake County Farm Tour, call the Lake County Extension at (352) 343-4101 or log on to http://lake.ifas.ufl.edu.