Spring Harvest Means It's a Good Time to Reap the Rewards
Produce stands and farmers markets offer spring harvests in St. Johns County
Spring is here — and with it comes the opportunity to score some delicious produce at markets and stands.
During this time of year, farms have some of the largest and most diverse harvests. Winter crops such as greens, lettuce and broccoli overlap with spring and summer crops such as squash, cucumbers and corn. More produce is locally available now than in other seasons.
St. Johns County is home to many farms, from the endless fields out west to the little gardens in town. Growers share their bounty at farmers markets and produce stands at all corners of this area — and each place has its own flair.
Farmers bring loads of vegetables by tractor to replenish the stock at County Line Produce, while the more urban Currie Bros. Market sells their produce alongside other food shops. Farmers markets vary from a small assortment of vendors to dozens, with everything from produce to trinkets to homemade jams and honey. For those who aren’t hungry for local produce, many markets offer home cooked goods, art, gifts, live entertainment and more.
This guide takes a look at farmers markets and produce stands around the county where produce, homemade goods and more are regularly available.
St. Augustine Amphitheatre Farmers Market
WHAT: Under the oaks in the lot outside The Amp, a farmers market offers produce, plants, homemade food, art, gifts and more are available from a large number of vendors.
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Saturday
WHERE: The Amp | 1340C A1A S.
INFO: Call 904-209-0367 or go to bit.ly/2GrEYqC
Nocatee Farmers Market
WHAT: While this market offers selections of produce, homemade jams and jellies and other foods, plants and art, there are also activites, shows and demonstrations for the whole family.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | third Saturday
WHERE: Nocatee Welcome Center | 245 Little River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach
INFO: Call 904-924-6863
Salt Air Farmers Market
WHAT: Whitney Laboratory hosts dozens of vendors in Marineland with produce, local art, gourmet food, artisan crafts and textiles.
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Sunday
WHERE: Whitney Laboratory | 9505 Ocean Shore Blvd.
WHAT: This market places an emphasis on handmade crafts, good and art from more than 90 vendors. Dinner options, a full bar and live entertainment make this market an option for a fun night out.
WHEN: 6 to 9 p.m. | second and fourth Tuesday
WHERE: The Amp | 1340C A1A S.
WHAT: Approximately 60 to 80 vendors offer produce, baked goods and other homemade foods, arts, crafts and more from their stands in a beachfront setting.
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Wednesday
WHERE: St. Johns County Ocean Pier Park | 350 A1A Beach Blvd.
INFO: Call 904-347-8007
COUNTY LINE PRODUCE
This roadside gem is locally famous for many things — including but not limited to its “ugly” carrots, 3-foot long Brussels sprouts stalks, silver queen corn and the green John Deere tractor that drops off fresh loads of produce throughout the day.
County Line offers vegetables grown on the farm in Hastings, and a list of the farm-raised crops are shown on a white board by the cash register. Current offerings from the farm include radishes, collards, beets, lettuces, romanesco cauliflower, celery, carrots and more. Local produce is usually a couple days old or fresher — sometimes harvested that day — before it’s sold at the stand.
Local produce is supplemented with crops from around Florida, including mangos, avocados, bananas and more often sourced from Plant City or farms in South Florida. The stand also carries honey, peanuts, herbs, datil pepper sauce and other goods.
County Line opened 53 years ago under the Bland and Mathis families, who still own and operate it today.
Kelly Bland helps run the stand and farm with her husband and son, Brad and Bradley. She said the stand started when all they farmed was cabbage, and surplus product was sold by the roadside. After the cabbage ran out, people still came seeking produce, she said.
“We thought, well, maybe we’re onto something here,” she said. “So we expanded.”
County Line broadened its crops on the farm and produce sold in the stand over the years. One thing that stayed the same, Kelly Bland said, was consistency in product and availability.
“It can be raining, hailing, really bad weather, and people will think we’ll be closed, but we’re still here,” she said.
County Line is cash or local check only, but there is an ATM onsite.
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily | closed on Easter Sunday and other major holidays | open the weekend before Thanksgiving through the first or second week of June
WHERE: 848 State Road 207, Hastings
INFO: Call 904-692-9400
Spuds Farm has seen many changes over the years, but the red barn off of State Road 207 is still open for business.
The Elkton family who runs Spuds Farm has been farming there since 1922. It long raised crops to be distributed elsewhere in the state and country, but it recently switched focus to selling produce and other goods from the red barn by S.R. 207.
Produce including potatoes, watermelon, tomatoes, cabbage, green beans and more are sourced from St. Johns County farmers. Spuds Farm also sources other produce from around Florida throughout the year.
Perhaps one of the tastiest offerings are the assortment of pies, fresh baked daily. Spuds Farm offers many kinds of fruit pies, as well as coconut pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie and more, all from family recipes.
The newest addition to Spuds Farm is a nursery, located directly behind the barn. Plants including annual and perennial flowers, palm trees, shrubs and more are available onsite.
WHEN: produce stand open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday | nursery open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday | open year-round
WHERE: 7780 State Road 207, Elkton
INFO: Call 904-692-1244
CURRIE BROS. MARKET
This produce shop has been selling fruits, vegetables and more out of its St. Augustine location on N. Ponce de Leon Boulevard for more than 20 years.
Owned and operated by George Currie, the open-air market has a diverse stock of produce. With berries, citrus, apples, peaches, tropical fruits and more, most common types of fruit are available. Vegetables include herbs, lettuce, different types of potatoes, tomatoes, squash and more. There also are peanuts and a selection of honey.
Currie Bros. sources produce as locally as possible, with availability depending on the season. If produce is not available in St. Johns County, it comes from elsewhere in Florida.
Kyle’s Seafood, which carries local catch, and a bakery are right next door. Customers have the convenience of checking multiple items off grocery lists in one stop.
WHEN: 10 a.m .to 5:30 Monday-Saturday | open year-round
WHERE: 3874 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd.
INFO: Call 904-824-6919
COASTAL CROWN PRODUCE
This stand in the northwest part of the county sells its baskets of fruits and vegetables alongside locally baked bread and bagels, pasture-raised eggs, honey and jams and seasonal crops such as pumpkins and summer berries.
Baskets are the specialty, with a different combination offered for different seasons. While baskets can be customized, they also come in different themes. The produce included depends on what’s available during the season.
A summertime “rainbow basket” in past seasons included neon eggplant, Carolina peaches, tomatoes, squashes and peppers, while the “black and white basket” was comprised of blackberries, eggplant, white peaches, mushrooms and more to complete the color scheme.
Coastal Crown sources its produce first from local farms, then to surrounding areas in Florida, and finally to regional farms as far away as South Carolina. It has served St. Johns County and Green Cove Springs from its location near the St. Johns River since 2011. The stand is open year-round and delivers produce to local communities from online orders.
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday; noon to 4 p.m. Sunday | open year-round
WHERE: 6200 State Road 13 N.
INFO: Call 805-405-4548 or go to coastalcrownproduce.com
RYPE & READI FARM MARKET
Both the downtown farm market and the Elkton location are closed for renovations. Rype & Readi will remain closed for approximately one year.