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Eating straight off the vine

While the majority of the United States has suffered through a frostbitten winter, Southwest Florida has been experiencing clear skies with temperatures rising to the 80s. This perfect weather is primetime for springtime fruits and vegetables to ripen under the sweet Florida sunshine.

While farmers markets seem to be the best places to purchase cheap, organic produce, their once-a-week appearances tend to make attending the hardest obstacle. Rest assured, there is another great option for Florida Gulf Coast University students.

The Farm is a locally owned U-pick farm and produce stand located on Corkscrew road and Via Coconut Point, less than 10 minutes from FGCU, and it is open seven days a week.

The U-pick allows customers to grab a red bucket and walk through the rows of ripened strawberries and lanes of tomatoes on vines. Talk about eating from farm to fork! It doesn’t get more simplistic than that.

Customers pick produce directly from the source. After frolicking through the rows of strawberries and tomatoes, customers bring their produce-filled buckets to the farm stand for checkout.

Strawberries cost $3.99 per pound, and the price for tomatoes varies by variety; Herloom,  grape and cherry tomatoes are $1.99 per pound, and vintage-select tomatoes are $1.59 per pound.

For those in a rush or wanting more produce to choose from, The Farm offers a pre-picked selection. The produce includes tomatoes and strawberries from the U-pick as well as eggplant, a variety of citrus fruits, peppers, green beans, potatoes, squash and much more.

The real question is: organic or not? While The Farm isn’t certified organic, they use OMRI (Organic Material Review Institute) approved pesticides. The OMRI is a group that decides what can and cannot be used in organic produce. So the answer is yes, The Farm’s produce is organic.

The Farm is open between December and May, when the produce being sold is in full harvest.

About The Author

Aubrie Gerber

Aubrie Gerber is a senior studying journalism with a minor in marketing at FGCU and is the Entertainment and Lifestyle editor for Eagle News. She just completed a 9-month internship with the Taste section at The News-Press where she filmed, photographed and wrote about all things foodie related happening in Southwest Florida. When she isn’t reporting, this travelholic can be found at local farmers markets or venturing out of her way to taste the next best thing. (Follow Aubrie on Twitter: @AubrieGerber)

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