By: Kara Franker
Where to shop and visit local farms in Homestead and Florida City.
The lush tropical farmland in Homestead and Florida City is not only a great place to visit, but a great place to stop and shop.
Shopping at Local Farms
One of the most popular reasons to visit Florida City and Homestead is the area’s many well known farms where you can pick berries and other seasonal fruits. Make a day trip out of driving down and get some fresh air in the fields where you don’t have to settle for a grocery store.
If you’re in Homestead between November and April, you owe it to yourself to visit Knaus Berry Farm. Famous for its gooey cinnamon rolls and delicious strawberry milkshakes, this farm and bakery is a Miami staple. What is now Knaus Berry Farm first opened in 1956, when brothers Ray and Russell Knaus started growing strawberries and selling them at a fruit stand. As their stand gained popularity, their business grew, and the brothers added baked goods, vegetables, ice cream and a farm, where you can pick your own strawberries and tomatoes when in season. Knaus Berry Farm is closed during the summer months and on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. During the rest of the year, it is open Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Family owned and operated since 1965, Burr’s Berry Farm is an iconic must-try in Miami that’s become known for its yummy strawberry milkshakes. The farm was started by Charles Raymond Burr, a WWII veteran and proclaimed the “Strawberry King,” who planted his first crop of strawberries in 1960. That signaled the start of what would be a lifelong passion, and he spent the rest of his life growing produce on his farm, as well as including a menu of milkshakes and ice cream. Today, this popular berry farm and fruit stand is still run by the Burr family. It sells everything from fresh-picked strawberries, avocados, peppers and tomatoes, to chocolate-dipped strawberries, homemade jams, tropical fruit, and of course, ice cream. Burr’s Berry Farm is open daily from December through early May, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Looking for a Bohemian-meets-luxurious adventure? Paradise Farms Organic is just the place. Owned and operated by Gabriele Marewski, this sprawling a five-acre organic sanctuary and eco-stylish bed and breakfast was once nothing more than an abandoned avocado grove. Founded in 1999, it has since flourished into an oasis of circled beds of micro greens, 52 varieties of edible flowers, a popular baby greens mix, assorted basil and mint tops, baby root vegetables, oyster mushrooms, honey and various tropical fruits like carambola, jackfruit, monstera, mango, avocado, cotton candy fruit and bananas. Paradise Farms Organic has become the vendor of choice for high-end restaurants throughout Miami. Bed and Breakfast “farm stays” are available, and tours can be arranged for groups by request. Paradise Farms is open daily.
Located in Homestead, Robert is Here is a popular fruit stand and farm that has been around since 1959. Since then, Robert Is Here has expanded into a quite the attraction, selling a range of locally-sourced fresh fruits and vegetables, like carambola, mamey, lychee, atemoya, papaya, and like any Miami farm, mangoes. Robert, who still mans the store today, also has plenty of delectable homemade jellies, preserves, key lime pies, and of course, its variety of famous fresh fruit milkshakes. During the winter, head there on the weekends for live music and sunflower-picking -- a treat Robert believes always leaves his customers smiling. The farm is a part of the National Food & Beverage Foundation's National Culinary Heritage Register, a prestigious list for signficant establishments that are at least 50 years old. Robert is Here is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Not only does Verde Community Farm & Market in Homestead offer fresh produce for sale, it's a not-for-profit organization that uses proceeds from sales to hire and train local at-risk community members to work at the farm and market. Home to one of the nation’s most innovative supportive housing programs, Verde Gardens includes a 22-acre certified organic farm, public farmers’ market and the Verde Kitchen Café – all of which are staffed by the Verde Gardens community’s formerly homeless residents. The café is open for lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday.
Cauley Square Historic Village
Get a taste of Old Florida at the Cauley Square Historic Village. Discover a collection of unique mom and pop shops housed in colorful bungalows surrounded by lush tropical foliage. If you’re nostalgic for a time before mega-malls and online shopping, this bohemian historic square is a must-stop on the way to the Florida Keys or during a Homestead exploration day. Shops include an aviary specializing in exotic birds and custom cages, a boutique featuring everything from incense to artifacts, several bungalows with handmade arts and crafts like porcelain and rag dolls, linens, stationary and all sorts of items for around the home. Sip tea at the Tea Room Restaurant, a historic building with large chandeliers, quaint old–Florida style décor like dark wood French doors and framed pictures of the good ol’ days.
Florida Keys Outlet Center
Right off the exit to Florida City, the gateway to the Florida Keys, is the Florida Keys Outlet Center where you can shop 55 brand name outlet stores. Here you’ll find name brand stores with discounted pricing like Nike, Aeropostale, Gap, Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger, Izod, Gymboree, OshKosh B’gosh, Famous Footwear Outlet, Sketchers, Nine West, Coach, Sunglass Hut, Toys “R” Us and more. Stop here on your way to the Keys and score some great deals.
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