The amount of events happening throughout Central Florida this weekend is astounding. However, when I saw that Chad Crawford, host of “how to Do florida” would be hosting the 50 year celebration of Long & Scott Farms in Mt. Dora, FL, I knew just how to spend my Saturday morning. The morning drive provided some much needed relaxation. The vast, open fields flanked the sides of the country road. I took it all in, gave into my Southern roots, and played country music on my radio.
I pulled into Long & Scott Farms and anticipated the upcoming morning of homegrown, family friendly celebrating. The entrance to the farm is home to Scott’s Country General Store and an open air produce stand. The bounty of Florida’s farm ground spread out for the taking. The warm, friendly staff welcomed every one. Although, I consider myself a proponent of Southern Hospitality, I felt like a city slicker in comparison to these ladies.
I arrived as the set up for the celebration continued. I snapped pictures here and there, strolling through the grounds. Tucked in the back left corner of the welcome building, a little cafe provided coffee and breakfast for the morning patrons. A few picnic tables sat alongside the welcome building, to the left a group gathering area with mini-mazes, to the right the widespread fields of corn, cabbage, cucumbers and other produce. I continued to the left and found a giant play area. As this was the morning of the 50 year celebration, local vendors were setting up tents.
Once the vendors finished their set up, I explored. Chatting away with the vendors was delightful. I met authors, farmers, and craftsmen. All were willing to chat and share their stories. I spoke with Mr. Farmer at length. He moved to Florida from Virginia about the same time my grandparents, mother, and uncle did, and for the same reason: Martin Marietta (now known as Lockhead Martin). We discovered that the chances were good that he had worked with my grandfather.
I continued my stroll, stopping briefly at each stand. Then I saw the “how to Do florida” booth. I had to snag a few Florida themed t-shirts and a few DVDs as well, but I wanted to make sure I was ready and available to snap photos of the stage when the festivities officially began. Then, I saw Chad Crawford and had to introduce myself. He is just as friendly as one would imagine him to be after watching his show.
Soon he took the stage to kick off the festivities. I listened intently to the stories shared by the guest speakers and became engaged in the discussion of the importance of supporting local farms. Every part of the world has the ability to grow food. Each landscape providing different soil making it possible to grow specific types of produce. Why not enjoy the foods grown and produced in your local area? You’ll support local business, local jobs, and enjoy fresher and often times healthier food.
Soon Executive Chef Frank Brough took the stage. Chef Frank is at the helm of one of my favorite Disney World restaurants: The Wave. This Disney restaurant is located at the Contemporary, mere steps from the Magic Kingdom. The Wave specializes in fresh American fare made from locally sourced food. As a Flordia lovin’ girl I can’t help but to fall in love with this place. I have visited many times and after hearing Frank speak and conduct a cooking demo of one of my favorite dishes, I am ready for another visit.
I spent the rest of the morning exploring the play area of the farm. Playgrounds, mazes, and a super, 3-story slide allowed kids and families to enjoy the Florida fresh air. I enjoyed snapping pictures of the fun-filled farm land and walked the labyrinth. Time ticked away, I longed for my husband and stepson to be at my side. Soon it was time to head out to the day’s next adventure.
I left the farm with a renewed sense of pride in Central Florida. There is so much here. You need only open your eyes and explore. Long & Scott Farms is a simple 45 minute drive from the attractions area, and now Toll Road 429 provides a direct route to Mt. Dora and the neighboring areas. As I pulled back onto County Road 448, I decided I couldn’t come this far and not make a stop in historic downtown Mt. Dora for the best cupcakes I have found in Central Florida.
Downtown Mt. Dora was bustling with a BBQ festival and live music in the park, another example of the many weekend events happening throughout Central Florida. No time for me to enjoy this event though, I was on a mission. After parking on 5th Avenue I made a bee line for Cupcake Delights. It is so difficult to choose from all the decadent flavors, but I made the tough decision and brought home half a dozen for myself and the boys to enjoy. I am definitely going to have to write a more detailed post very soon.
The first half of my Saturday was spent supporting local business and I can’t think of many ways to better spend the weekend. No matter if you are lucky enough to call Florida home or not, wherever you may be, your hometown is sure to offer a plethora of local businesses ready to make your day. So get out there and enjoy!
Long & Scott Farms
26216 CR 448A
Mount Dora FL 32757