After all the hubbub of company in our homes, work gatherings and family get-togethers, it feels nice to slow down. The time between October 31 and December 31 has become one extended holiday. There used to be a small but noticeable time slot following Halloween where you could catch a breath. But now there is pressure to put away the costumes, choose your turkey size and Amazon shop for Christmas all on the same weekend.
So, when the champagne glasses have been clinked and holiday totes put away, it is all done with a collective sigh of relief. Time to slow down and enjoy a slower pace for a while. As you get back into your daily routines and are looking for a fun way to enjoy a leisurely Florida winter day, consider a country drive out to Hunsader Farms.
Hunsader Farms has grown to be a destination, not only for their immensely popular Pumpkin Festival and Country Christmas, which was brought back this year after a 20-year hiatus, but also for its charming appeal to children and the young-at-heart, alike. Set among large oaks trees who act as pillars of the country community, tall and stately with stringy moss strung across their stately limbs, as soon as you get out of your car, you are aware of a beautifully quiet and serene setting. There is something about Old-Florida that combines visual elements such as old red barns with scents like orange blossoms for something uniquely Florida and completely intoxicating.
Today, Hunsader Farms offers a variety of activities and reasons to come see what they are all about. It is a nice drive out in the country; from I-75, head East on SR70. If you’ve had their produce, chances are you know all about the sweet corn, tomatoes, strawberries and other popular produce selections. They have You-Pick times throughout the year and offer a farmer’s market where selections like squash, cantaloupe, cucumbers and Florida sweet onions are piled in a rainbow of colors among homemade items like jams, jellies and other goodies. They have three barn shops on site where you can peruse homemade crafts and t-shirts for sale, grab an ice-cream cone, or enjoy a myriad of antique farm equipment and interesting items from yesteryear. A petting zoo has grown to include deer, bunnies, pigs, goats, ponies, donkeys, sheep, alpacas, lemurs and even a camel, (Phew! That is a lot, but there are many more animals), along with a playground area for the kids which makes for a fun family afternoon.
Hunsader’s has become a popular choice for private parties and receptions with a 6000-foot barn available for large gatherings. They are perhaps best known, though, for their Pumpkin Festival, a yearly event that finds tens of thousands of people descending upon Manatee County for this hugely successful event. A corn maze, hayride, and costume contest are just the starters on this regional draw as live acts, a large craft area and hundreds of vendors come out to celebrate Halloween in the country. As mentioned earlier, this year Hunsader Farms resurrected its Country Christmas after nearly two decades. The event was a hit, and guests thoroughly enjoyed seeing the farm covered in 250,000 lights with a Christmas Village and live carolers to keep the mood festive. We are hopeful this event will make it onto the yearly schedule again!
As you get back into the groove of planning a weekend activity, be sure to give Hunsader’s a try. Even if you’ve been there in the past, you’ll be surprised at all they’ve added. Without compromising their country charm, they’ve turned Hunsader Farms into Hunsader World. Hours are Monday through Saturday 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. For more information on Hunsader Farms, please visit their website at https://www.hunsaderfarms.com/.
Photos courtesy of Hunsader Farm’s Facebook page