Florida Farmers are Selling Directly to Consumers to Avoid Produce Dumps

Farms that normally serve restaurants, amusement parks and cruise lines are transforming into community supported agriculture

Last month, Florida farmers let countless tons of produce rot in their fields after the restaurants, theme parks and cruise lines they normally serve this time of year were suddenly closed due to nationwide quarantines.

This month, they are changing their business model, selling directly to the consumers who are doing a whole lot more home-cooking these days.

Changing course was a bit like turning the Titanic around, but now Florida farmers are getting help from the state department of agriculture, which has created a website to connect them to local buyers.

Floridians can search the website for farms and co-ops near them and a list of what each farm offers.

While some farms grow primarily mono-crops – such as tomatoes for ketchup – some are bio-diverse, organic farms with a wide variety of specialty produce that used to be sold in high-end local restaurants, including:

Caimito, citrus, mamey sapote, papaya, sapodilla, jackfruit, chard, collards. kale, escarole, greens, beets, cabbage, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, green peppers, peppers, okra, tomatoes, scallions, turmeric, yellow squash, zucchini, oyster mushrooms.

Some farms are even offering milkshakes, poultry, seafood and shell fish.