Pick, Grow, Catch

Lois keeps talking about a place not too far away where the vegetables are unbelievable, Piney Point Farms in Palmetto.  After searching for, passing, missing, and trying again, I finally find this highly secluded farm, and pull down a dirt road, into a clearing with a rustic vegetable stand building off to the left.  Off to the right are fields of produce as far as I can see.

I get out and step into the veggie stand.  OMG it’s mutant vegetables!

Never saw such big beautiful spinach in my life.

Never saw such amazing huge green peppers in my life.

The sweet onions.  Gigantic with huge green tops.  Unbelievable.

Giant heads of broccoli and cauliflower.  Giant!

Super, duper giant heads of fresh lettuce!

The tomatoes, oh my! And they actually smell like tomatoes and don’t feel like wax. 

I’m told that if I don’t like what I see here, I am welcome to go pick my own out there. But oh, what’s here looks fantastic! I can call ahead to see what they’ve got from day to day.  Piney Point is open from November through April. They grow just about anything you can imagine, from cucumbers to greens, eggplant, beans, beets, radishes, potatoes and peppers, and the cost is a buck a bunch for this a buck a bunch for that, it’s all so inexpensive! You can spend $6 and have produce for two weeks, which is basically what I’m doing.  I quickly conjure up a two week health menu in my mind, collect up my produce and get on my way.  Now that I know where it is, it will only take a few minutes to find again!

Driving back, I recall hearing about a place that does Hydroponic gardening. It can’t be too hard to find, it must be somewhere along the way back, so I decide to try.  In just a short drive down Shell Point Road, I find what looks like the entrance to a greenhouse, but it’s so much more. I park and walk up. Right inside, I have the distinct pleasure to meet Hydro Harvest Farms owner, Dave, who is eager and willing to give me a thorough background and education on the whole process of Hydroponic Gardening.  The information is extensive, but in a nutshell,

Plants don’t need dirt, they just the nutrients found in dirt.

Hydroponics uses a nutrient mixture rather than soil, to grow plants in vertical containers with electronically controlled water and nutrient feedings.

Hydroponics allows people to grow food virtually anywhere where traditional agriculture simply isn’t possible; hot areas, dense urban areas, cold areas or places where the soil is just plain crappy.  It’s feasible to enjoy year’ round gardening through Hydroponics, no matter where you are, if you really want to.

Plants grown via hydroponics grow faster. Because the plants are given direct access to water and nutrients, they don’t waste time growing root systems to find the nutrients they need. Better, healthier, plants are produced in half the time as traditional crops.

It’s also better for the environment. Hydroponics systems recycle and reuse their water and nutrient solutions, so no water is wasted.  The process calls for almost 80% less water than traditional gardening processes.  Less water is used plus virtually no pesticides are used, meaning less chemicals are being emitted into the air, or consumed by us. 

Hydroponic gardening also gives more control of and protection of your crop.  At least for me, growing “up” rather than “across the ground”, would clearly protect my plants from the rabbits, and I could grow more in less space. No need to cut plans short because you have to dash home and water the garden—it waters itself!  And how much easier to weed?  Oh my!

The bad news is that starting a Hydroponic garden is somewhat costly up front.  Dave offers a 3 tiered pole set up for about $125 plus minerals.  The savings after that are huge, so it really is a no-brainer.  I am on board with the whole Hydroponic idea and am tempted to buy, but decide I need to examine my situation at home first, and come up with a smart plan for 2014.  After thanking him for an extremely educational visit, Dave invites me to grab a basket and pick whatever I’d like. I wander along the rows of towers, and pick some amazing fresh rosemary, oregano and basil to go with my two weeks of giant produce.  He already knows I’ll be back next year to buy.  And he’s right.

As I pull out of the parking lot, I have a hankering for some fish, and get an idea. I cross the highway, heading the other way down Shell Point Road.

I found The Fish House by accident a few weeks ago when driving around trying to find a private beach area for me and the kids. It looked like a closed down fruit stand and was barely noticeable.  Little did I know it was only because they were closed that day. Not thinking much of it, I kept going. Now I’m back, and they are open. Oh my, yes, they are! 

This is somewhat of an open air restaurant – a cooking shack, and an old pavilion roof with picnic tables under it. The Fish House specializes in fresh caught seafood and fish.  Literally, the food you are served was caught that day or the day before.  They are only open Thursday through Saturday.  The rest of the week is spent fishing for their menu.  And the droves of people that seek out this off the beaten path shack –well it’s simply crazy! For example, right now, I’m parked a block away on a side street, and joining one of three ordering lines that have to be 20 people deep each.  But their food is Five Star Excellent, and very reasonably priced.  Worth the wait?  I’d say.  What a treat to stop by and grab a fresh caught Fish House Dinner to take back. Maybe make a fresh spinach salad to go with.

What a great way to wrap up a grow, pick and catch fresh food day!

Don’t Want to Miss a Thing? Subscribe to My Blog

Speak Your Mind

*