Learn a New Appreciation for the Farmer by Picking Tomatoes at Hunsader Farms
We like to go to Hunsader Farms for tomato picking. At $5 for a five gallon bucket (you bring your own buckets), they aren’t quite as cheap as last year’s $1 per bucket bonanza, but it’s still a great price.
Open from Mid-September to Mid-June, Hunsader Farms roots run deep in this part of Bradenton since 1967. Located on County Road 675, the farm market and U-Pick fields are easy to access and well laid out. While there are sections for commercial pickers, 250 long rows are reserved for the general public.
My husband worked on the right side and I worked the left.
Here’s another perspective:
Our own garden has a lot of green tomatoes, but I needed a serious amount since I intend to can them. One 5 gallon bucket cooks down to one quart sized jar of spaghetti sauce and one quart of tomato juice. We filled eight buckets, so I’m looking forward to a good yield.
It’s back breaking work and we only worked for an hour. Lifting the heavy buckets, bending over to pick the tomatoes, and sweating under a hot Florida sun gave me a new appreciation for the Florida farmer.
After we picked, we did a little shopping in their market: some flavored honey, cucumbers, and carrots. I have plenty of onions and eggplant in the garden, so I didn’t buy any but I do enjoy looking at their prices, to see what I’m saving.
After shopping, we stopped and ate lunch at the picnic tables in a lovely, shaded glen. The restrooms are nearby and very clean. I wandered over to the petting zoo area…always a big hit with kids, but since I had no feed (you can buy 25¢ bags), I was a huge disappointment to the animals. I found the emus and deer amusing.
Birthday parties are big here, because the cost is so reasonable ($5 per child, 10 children minimum), but adding a hayride, train ride, or helium balloons can add to the final price. Adult parties (weddings, reunions, company picnics, etc.) are popular, as well. Depending on your venue, the grounds can accommodate up to 1000 people and the “Country Club” barn facility offers indoor protection from the elements for up to 175 people. Rentals run for the entire day: $2000 to rent grounds and country club or $1200 for grounds alone or $800 for Country Club alone. A $100 per hour extra charge is levied for every hour the party continues after 5 PM and ALL venues must cease by 11 PM. Hay rides and children’s train rides are available at additional cost.
There are fun little touches here and there…I loved these two carved characters:
If you’re in the area during the month of October, try not to miss the Pumpkin Festival. There are numerous activities for the kids, including rock wall climbing, face painting, pony rides and craft booths. There’s even a corn maze ($2 extra fee)!
The real joy at Hunsader Farms, though, comes in the picking. Depending on the month, the fields may be open for strawberries, beans, and other produce, including, yes, tomatoes.
The visit was a much-needed break from the busy-ness of our city, offering a new appreciation for the…not simple, because rural life is never simple…reflective viewpoint.