Sunday, December 23, 2012

BerryStacks Hydroponic U-Pick Farm

When we stopped for two days in St. Augustine, we stayed at the St John's Marketplace which included a giant flea market (never before have I seen so much stuff for sale in one place), a RV park and a hydroponic u-pick farm.

We are Passport America members and stay for 1/2 price at participating parks. The RV park, which was recommended by Linda, a friend we made at the Jekyll Island Campground, is a participating park and this, combined with Linda's recommendation, is the reason why we stopped there. We would go back again just so we could get our vegetables from the hydroponic u-pick farm.

At the entrance to the farm there was a market selling a small selection of vegetables from another farm, as well as prepared sauces, jams and pickles.

The farm occupied 5 acres of property and produced an amazing amount of food.

Everything is grown in a stacks of pots on a centre post that turns for ease of picking:

Everything is grown in a non-soil mixture and fed and watered from above:

When you arrive you are asked to use hand sanitizer (we liked that part) and are given a basket and a pair of scissors and then (if you are a first-timer) a tour of the farm and a demonstration of how to pick (ie cut) the berries and veggies. 

The main feature this time of year was the strawberries, which were plentiful and delicious.

While the farm had lots to offer we headed straight to the strawberries. What a treat this was.

When that basket was fill we moved on to other treats:

Broccoli (not quite ready)





Sugar snap and snow peas


Swiss Chard
We picked a little of everything to stock up the refrigerator, washed the berries to eat in the car, and headed out to enjoy the day. As the season progresses the farm will ave much more, including tomatoes, for sale. There is a video explaining how the veggies are grown on the St John's Marketplace website.

There were zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, onion and garlic for sale at the little market as we entered so we purchased these to round out our veggie shopping

For supper I made a delicious fresh tomato sauce for pasta.

Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce


fresh tomatoes
fresh garlic
olive oil
fresh basil
Parmigiano Reggiano (you can use any parmesan cheese, we prefer Reggiano)


Depending on size I use 1 tomato and 1/2 head of garlic per person.

Peal the garlic cloves, place on foil, sprinkle with olive oil to moisten, wrap and cook on the grill (barbecue) until soft and lightly browned.

Chop the tomatoes (you could get "chefy" about it and peel and seed the tomatoes, but I don't)
Place on a separate piece of foil, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil per tomato, Wrap and heat on the grill. about 10 minutes, until heated through.

Cook pasta - your choice, I usually use liguini. Toss with the hot tomatoes, roasted garlic, fresh, chopped basil and parmesan cheese and serve.

We had this for supper with grilled chicken and a salad made from lettuce, fresh herbs and snow peas.

One thing we love - everywhere we go in Florida we are able to purchase fresh tomatoes WITHOUT THAT AWEFUL CENTRE CORE. What a treat that is!

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