It began with a simple request.
Fresh and LOCAL produce.
Doesn’t seem such a tall order. Especially in Florida. But, while shopping at the local Publix, I’ll be damned if I could find a single item from the region. As I approached the oranges, I was CERTAIN, they would be local. When I picked up that little, succulent beauty, and began to investigate – rolling her over and over in my hand, I spied her sticker of origin.
I read – from PERU!
You’ve got to be kidding me!
Agast with anxiety, I looked up and saw ”Mark” – the dude working in the Publix produce department – and asked, “Where can we find LOCAL produce?”
He said, “Try the Red Barn.” Seemed simple enough. He tried to tell us how to get there, which after one millisecond, I was lost (I had no idea where I was at that moment, let alone how to get anywhere else!) Luckily, Sexy Hubby doesn’t go anywhere without his Garmin Nuvi (GPS navigation tool).
Once back in the car, we punched in “The Red Barn.” The address appeared instantly, and seemingly, it wasn’t too far away. Yippee! I could already taste the juicy, fresh fruit. Grown right here in the Sunshine State.
Or so I thought.
We navigated through the streets of Sarasota easily enough. Although there was a bit of traffic (for a Montanan, anything more than five cars at a stoplight feels a bit overwhelming!) Yet, we plodded along, following the instructions from the throaty GPS British voice, whom Sexy Hubby fondly refers to as simply, Linda.
Linda called out turns hither and yon, and announced when we were “approaching destination on the right.” So, we turned right.
Right into the Red Barn.
The Red LIQUOR Barn. Not a piece of fruit in sight.
After a round of uproarious laughter. The hunt become nearly desparate. Everyone in the car resorted to whatever digital device was handy and began the detailed search for local produce. Instead of the Red Barn (which was a dead-end) we searched more likely terms such as ”Local Farmer’s Market.”
Another option appeared. The Fruitville Grove. Of course, back the same way we had come. So we turned around and resumed the hunt.
At this point, one of our participants began to get a little testy. His iPhone wasn’t exactly cooperating, and the location of the new destination wasn’t appearing clearly on his GPS phone navigation system. That’s when I chimed in, saying “Let’s just drive to the address listed and see what’s there, if it’s a bust, we’re done.”
Oh, how I was praying for fruit. Like I never have before.
Upon Linda’s step by step instructions, we kept on. And it appeared like we were getting closer to the country, exactly where one would expect a fruit stand to be located.
We got closer. I saw a storage unit facility. Oh God, please let there be a fruit stand.
Upon Linda’s final instruction, “Destination on right. Turn right.”
We turned right.
And saw this…
I breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
We were out of the car faster than kids at a carnival and began roaming around.
Searching. Squeezing. Smelling. Smiling.
Of all the wonderful things we saw, there was one item clearly missing.
Where oh where are the Florida oranges?
That’s when we approached the owner’s daugher, Kim, and asked.
Kim said, ”Oranges aren’t in season.”
Whop. Whop. Whop.
“But, I can take you out to the grove and let you pick some, if you’d like.”
“Just don’t tell anybody, ” she smiled.
Um, and exactly whom I going to tell? The only people I know in this state are standing right there next to me.
Off we went.
After we picked our fruit, we cruised back and chatted with the gals from Fruitville Grove.
Of course, we meet a gal named Pam, who also worked there. She was telling us how she just returned from her youngest daughter’s wedding over the weekend.
She even talked about hiking the “M”.
Even from Florida, we were greeted by Montana.
The fruit and treats from here were all delicious.
Thanks to the gals at Fruitville Grove. We enjoyed meeting you!