A must-see, must-taste, must-experience edible, historical, food extravaganza, all Florida, all the time. A product of The FOOD Museum. For the Archives, please click the file folder icon at right.
Florida Food History: Land Boom Era (1918-1945): Sarasota Agricultural Fair
“Sarasota County was formed in 1921, a year that coincided with the developing Florida Land Boom. Community leaders decided to call attention to the advantages of visiting and living in Sarasota by establishing a county fair and bringing a major league baseball team to town for spring training.” (Read more)
Florida Farm Markets: Amelia
“Feeding the communities of Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, And Beyond!” Enjoy a trip to the Amelia Farmers Market, nestled in the old oaks at the Shops at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Mingle with local farmers and entrepreneurs and wander through a dizzying selection of fruits & vegetables harvested just before Market day, including organic and specialty products. You’ll also discover gourmet baked goods, from crusty breads to delectable desserts, and prepared foods such as cheeses, honey, sauces, soups, and jellies. The Market is also the perfect location to find specialty tropical plants and landscaping plants, including orchids, herbs, and garden flowers. Do your shopping quickly and easily or spend a relaxing morning strolling the Market with family and friends. And, there’s plenty of easy access parking. The Amelia Farmers Market, a not-for-profit organization, is proud to be serving the communities of Amelia Island and beyond for 10 years.” Learn more here.
Florida Food Businesses: The Proper Pie Company
“The Proper Pie Company owner, Derek Gibson, quit his corporate job in London and looked for a different challenge. He moved from the UK to Florida about four years ago. He started out attending Farmers markets selling frozen entrees and family size british style pies. A customer made the suggestion to make the pies in an individual pub size and the suggestion has paid off. Derek made 36 individually hand-made double crust pies for the next farmers market and they sold out within half an hour. The Proper Pie Company is now selling all over Florida and are working hard to keep up with demand. They attend the St Augustine Old City farmers market, Fernandina Beach farmers market and the Saturday Morning Market in St Petersburg.”
Florida Farmers Markets: St Augustine’s Old City Farmers Market
“Come visit the Old City Farmers Market for fresh produce, baked goods, hand-crafted items and plants directly from the producers. There’s even fresh seafood in season. The Farmers market is always a lot of fun for the whole family with live entertainment and much more. The Old City Farmers Market takes place every Saturday morning at the St. Augustine Amphitheater on A1A South in St. Augustine. 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Admission is Free.”
“A true farmers market with great offerings from some of the areas finest organic farms and talented crafter’s,” says Julie, St. Augustine FL.
Florida Food Symbols: Key Lime Pie
Key lime pie (the state pie of Florida) is made of key lime juice, egg yolks, and sweetened condensed milk in a pie crust. The traditional Conch version uses the egg whites to make a meringue topping. The dish is named after the small Key limes (Citrus aurantifolia ‘Swingle’) that are naturalized throughout the Florida Keys. While their thorns make them less tractable, and their thin, yellow rinds more perishable, key limes are more tart and aromatic than the common Persian limes seen year round in most U.S. grocery stores. (source)
Florida Food Pioneers: Henry Plant & the Winter Strawberry
“Following the Civil War, the steamship and railroad industry expanded rapidly. One of the big industrialists in the Southeast was Henry Plant. As part of his transportation network, he built a large resort hotel in Tampa, FL as a winter playground for the wealthy to enjoy hunting, fishing, and the beaches.
He noticed the farm community 25 miles away was producing strawberries in the dead of winter. Being a smart businessman (and railroad owner), Mr. Plant built a rail spur to the fields. This not only provided a unique winter treat for his hotel guests – it allowed the farmers access to interstate rail distribution.
Soon the farms were shipping crates of strawberries in ice-cooled rail cars to stores and restaurants from Atlanta to New York. Florida winter strawberries became a commercial success, and the farm town was renamed Plant City in Henry Plant’s honor.
Today Plant City, Florida is still called the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World, but our healthy, delicious fruit is no longer just a luxury for the wealthy. Our farmers are proud to produce over 200 million pounds of America’s most popular berry from November through April every year, and we can deliver in less than three days from harvest to Chicago, Kansas City, or Montreal.”
British Florida Food History: Andrew Turnbull’s New Smyrna Colony
“The New Smyrna settlement was the product of British attempts to populate Florida with colonists who would benefit the Crown. Britain had obtained Florida and the Mediterranean island of Minorca from Spain in 1763, following a global war involving several European powers. Britain’s desire to colonize Florida was spurred by the need to offset her costly dependence on imported commodities such as indigo, silk, cotton, rice, cochineal, wine, and oil.
To encourage agricultural development, land grants were offered to prospective plantation owners at easy terms, and financial rewards were bestowed if planters grew cash crops for export to England. Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish-born physician and wealthy member of London society, was one who accepted the challenge. For workers he turned to the island of Minorca, where a three-year crop failure had left many farmers destitute. He was able to recruit about 1,100 Minorcans as indentured servants and added 200 more laborers from Greece and about 100 from Italy, France, Corsica, and Turkey. The colony experienced a cycle of bad and good years during its short history. The end of the New Smyrna colony came in 1777 when the plantation was virtually abandoned by most of the surviving colonists who fled to the safety and security of St. Augustine.
Turnbull raised cattle and grew rice, corn, sugar, hemp, cochineal (a native parasite of the prickly pear cactus that was used to manufacture a red dye), and cotton.” (Continue more here.)
Florida Food People: Bertha Palmer
“As Bertha Palmer reached the beginning of her sixth decade in 1910, there was a marked transformation in her desires and priorities. There was no lull in her pursuit of profitable enterprise. She retained that fire within her. But the Mrs. Potter Palmer of royal castles and silks and diamonds compromised her elegant life style for something different. She evolved into a woman who was not above walking through the wet muck of the Florida hinterland and acknowledging among her friends the cowboys and farm hands she employed. She chose family, not social acquaintances, to fill her life. The joy of growing flowers meant more than wearing diamonds. The grande dame of Chicago, the pacesetter of London, Paris, and Newport had not disappeared, yet she had slipped into the shadows. In this new setting she became a woman wearing simple dresses, entertaining her family at picnics and cherishing every moment with her grandchildren. She took great pride in the successes of her ranch, croplands, and gardens and took an active role in the conception, implementation, and administration of the properties.”
Continue reading here.