From the Editor’s Desk: Our photo shoot at Smith Family Ranch in Lakeland


THE LOCATION of our shoot for this edition is no secret spot, but it is a beautiful one. In fact, it’s not just a beef cattle ranch — it also happens to be the location for the Cornfusion Crop Maze and Fall Festival once a year (which we featured in the September 2015 edition of CFAN). Plus, the barn that we photographed Bailey Buchanon in (see the story and photos here) also happens to be a beautiful wedding and event venue.

When Donna Smith was giving me a tour of the barn, she was explaining to me the great lengths they went to in order to make the barn event-ready. Since the barn is on a private ranch, it had served other purposes in the past. At its original construction, it served its purpose as an airplane hangar. After being a plane hangar, it served as an equipment barn. So the larger, more intricate version we see today includes several add-ons. From the comfortable dressing rooms and restrooms, to the food prep and catering area, to the leather chairs and custom barn doors (complete with horse shoe handles), everything was designed with the thought to make it a beautiful, rustic setting for any event.

It was the perfect backdrop for the AgriStyle edition of Central Florida Ag News! My heartfelt thanks to Donna Smith and the Smith Family Ranch for hosting us, and for showing us the warm Southern hospitality that makes our state the most beautiful place to live.



Celeste Jo Walls is managing editor of Central Florida Ag News. She may be reached by e-mail at

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