POSITIVE PUBLIC AWARENESS is a significant aspect of agriculture today. In fact, I would say that the issue of public awareness is almost as important today as repairing our soils’ microbial populations with compost and compost tea. As the agriculture community becomes smaller and more diversified, our farms, groves, and ranches are encroached upon by urban communities. This is creating additional scrutiny on our operations by our neighbors and policy makers.
One way our family chose to help educate those who have not been blessed, as we have, to live the ag life was to host a family-friendly Fall Festival on the weekends in the month of October each year. Out of this decision was birthed the Fox Squirrel Corn Maze. The name comes from the colony of Sherman Fox squirrels that inhabit the live oak ridge on our Single R Ranch in Plant City. We have found that most people aren’t aware of this species of squirrels that grow so large in size here in Florida.
The labyrinth of the maze and serenity of the hayrides through the live oak ridge scattered with tall native pines where cattle are grazing are fun, but also educational as families from the Tampa Bay region enjoy a day in the country. Kids and adults roping hay bales, playing corn hole games, racing rubber ducks back and forth between stock tanks, pumping the water by hand with old-fashioned pitcher pumps, and small toddlers playing in the corn-filled play box are just a few of the ways we have chosen to create a hands-on experience for all who wish to come for a day in the country. So come on out, and help us to build some goodwill between the country and city folks!
FOX SQUIRREL CORN MAZE
Oct. 3–25 — Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Adults, $11; children ages 3-18, $10
This column is sponsored by P&H Solutions, Inc.
column by CARSON A. FUTCH
BIO: As the owner of P&H Solutions, Inc., Carson A. Futch assists growers in Central Florida with organically composted soil amendments and other crop growing products. He is a Plant City native and a fifth-generation Florida cracker who grew up on a working ranch and citrus operation. He received his B.S. in Agriculture from the University of Florida in 1981. During his 34-year career, Carson has been involved in various management and ownership aspects of production agriculture, harvesting, marketing, and agri-tourism. He has also been blessed to serve on various councils and committees for the betterment of his church, community, and the agricultural industry. For more information about Carson and P&H Solutions, Inc., visit www.pandhsolutionsinc.com.