This fertile little corner of Florida produces lots of commercial crops such as tomatoes, green beans, strawberries and corn. But tucked away in the back roads amongst the shady groves and lush foliage there are small farms and farmers dedicated to more exotic fare. Heirloom tomatoes, Carambola, Dragonfruit, Mango, Avocado, Lychee, Longan...the list goes on and on. Many of these farms are operating organically, others practice conventional agriculture methods but regardless of their means of production the variety of this region is breathtaking and delicious.
|Roughly the area we are talking about|
In future posts I'll be including a lot of photographs, a lot of times it'll just be a "photo safari" edition with small captions. The idea is that you get inspired and excited to come out and explore for yourself. One of the good things about driving around out there is that the roads are built like a grid, like the rest or Miami so you can't really get lost.
I have a deep rooted appreciation for agriculture in all its forms. It's a family tradition. My grandfather was a rancher and farmer. A quiet and stoic man who still rode horses well into his 80's and tended his land until his 90's. An important figure in the islands agricultural community and avid contributor to the sport of Paso Fino horses, he made agriculture his purpose and livelihood just as generations before him had.
|Dulce Sueño, legendary Paso Fino stallion belonging to Genaro Cautiño.|
Dulce Sueño is buried on my grandfathers ranch, La Tuna in Guayama, Puerto Rico
Unfortunately in our native Puerto Rico they pay more to "plant cement" than to plant crops and traditional farmers and ranchers have found it increasingly more difficult to stave off developers and urban encroachment. In the case of my family, the family farm was sold and a development of cement boxes was slapped upon it, smothering generations of growth and harvest.
The real estate bubble has left many empty promises in it's wake. Half finished housing developments lay empty and useless on previously fertile farm land. It's a sad site to see. I hope we learned something from all that, and hope we don't further encroach on the things that make this area different. It's not the shopping center with the Walgreens and the Publix on every corner that give this corner of Miami its character.
|A snapshot of the agricultural border close to Homestead.|
|One of the many unfinished housing developments in southern Miami-Dade Co.|
|Will it spread? Agricultural lands adjacent to new residential construction|