In the May 2017 Issue of Florida Grower
How Florida Growers Are Agritaining and Gaining
by Paul Rusnak
Nearly 113 million people! That mind-blowing figure represents the number of tourists the Sunshine State welcomed last year, according to statistics from Visit Florida. Not an anomaly, the number marked the sixth consecutive record-breaking year in that regard.
So, where are all those people going? Many, of course, flock to the beaches. Droves drive to Disney. And yes, a fair share visit farms. A lot of you are aware of that fact. According to the latest USDA Census of Agriculture data, more than 700 farming operations in Florida offer some kind of agritainment. The segment continues to surge and evolve as new waves of opportunity come knocking at the door each and every year.
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Rype & Readi, which is just down the road from Sykes, is a relatively newcomer to the area, having been established there for less than five years. However, Wells notes the owners scored big when it comes to being strategically located for success. Jean-Sebastien Gros, Operating Partner for Rype & Readi, concurs and says making a move from South Florida to set up a community of farm-to-table-based businesses in the heart of the TCAA was a no-brainer. “This particular area really appealed to us because of the population center. And at the same time, you have this rich, agricultural land that is multigenerational in history,” Gros explains.
Rype & Readi features a 22-acre farm where hydroponic herbs and lettuce are grown, and serves as a site where the public is invited to come, see, learn, and do. Gros says they often play host to farm feasts, have a petting zoo, and welcome field trips — lots of them. “Last October alone, we had 17 field trips of local elementary schools.”
Amid the success, Gros recognizes the importance and value brought to the table by teaming up with local growers and chefs. “We’re all working together to find ways to add value to each other’s products.”
Though Gros has many years of business experience fueled by a love for farming, he says the Agritourism/agritainment part of the equation has kept things fresh. “For us, it’s a lot of fun. We’re looking to grow the concept.”
So far, so good as Rype & Readi’s sister location — a retail market in the heart of St. Augustine’s historic district — is feeding off the farm’s success and reaping rewards of a steady sales flow.
Read entire article HERE