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Photo TR: Southern Hill Farms

Update: Blueberry picking at the farm!

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This weekend we ventured out to Clermont (only about 15 minutes from Central Florida's major tourist attractions) for some fresh strawberry picking at Southern Hill Farms. We'd heard about this experience from friends but despite being Orlando natives, had not had the chance to go out before. Keep in mind, that strawberries are not available year-round in Florida, and Southern Hill Farms rotates their pickable crops throughout the year to match the season. 

Given the fact that we missed the Florida Strawberry Festival in 2020 due to COVID, this was a nice multi-hour diversion where we could experience something unique and indulge in some delicious Florida strawberries! I was also surprised to find that Southern Hill Farms has a few rides and attractions for the younger guests and a few food and beverage venues for those looking to stay for a little longer!

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Southern Hill Farms is a very open property, so social distancing is a little easier to do.

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In case you were wondering what kind of equipment goes into moving large quantities of crops here on the farm.

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While we didn't participate during this visit, Sunflower Picking was another activity available for guests at Southern Hill Farms.

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When ready, you pick up a box and wander out on the giant strawberry fields to begin picking. The basic rules are, don't eat any that you pick until you've checked out and don't put anything back down that you've picked, so pick wisely. It is strongly recommended that only the most red strawberries are picked, with the advisement that in a week, those not yet ready will be ripened and primed for the next pick. 

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You get a sense of just how many strawberries each bush can produce... 

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You start off with a few picks but before you know it, your box starts to fill up!

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It is strongly recommended that you plan to get to Southern Hill Farms just at (if not right before) opening. There are a limited number of strawberries available to pick and there aren't spares somewhere else for those that missed out. We arrived 10 minutes after opening and an hour later, the farm's social media accounts announced that the day's crop had already been entirely picked. 

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Walking back towards the main pavilions, my attention was caught by these bounce pads because, outside of videos from Toverland, I hadn't seen these kind of offerings anywhere, especially not in Florida...

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Sadly they are meant for guests that are shorter than I... 

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There are a few other offerings for the younger guests to enjoy while at the farm.

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They have rides, so it fits on Theme Park Review. 😉

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They have a tractor ride too!

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It was cool to see a food truck on site offering a few unique bites.

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Under the pavilion are a series of food and beverage venues... The Beer Shed is aptly named.

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I'm a sucker for a good baked treat... Especially one using fresh-from-the-farm ingredients!

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There was no scenario in which I didn't walk out with these when I found out that they had fresh Strawberry Bread Pudding (left) and Blueberry Cobbler (right). Both were delicious!

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Another stand offered fresh donuts that appeared to be quite popular!

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Live entertainment was a nice touch on this cool January morning. 

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Just in case you need anything in a jar...

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They've got you covered. 

022.thumb.JPG.e775755d0be88b06eac67c5594de758e.JPGNeedless to say, it was a successful visit for us... And we've been indulging in these amazing strawberries every day since!

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This weekend we ventured out to Clermont (only about 15 minutes from Central Florida's major tourist attractions) for some fresh strawberry picking at Southern Hill Farms. We'd heard about this experi

This looks pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing.  And yes, I believe that is the first "bouncey cushion" I have seen in the US! It's the smaller kids version, but still a step in the right direction!

Strawberry bread pudding, eh?  

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This looks pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing.  And yes, I believe that is the first "bouncey cushion" I have seen in the US! It's the smaller kids version, but still a step in the right direction!

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$1 a donut is an alright price with me! Are the EXPRESS LINE donuts pre-packaged, etc? Just curious of me. 🍩

(And those jars of pickles look mighty good to me, too!)

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On 2/1/2021 at 1:33 PM, SharkTums said:

This looks pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing.  And yes, I believe that is the first "bouncey cushion" I have seen in the US! It's the smaller kids version, but still a step in the right direction!

But could it really get as good as this....in the U.S?

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And where oh where are the children, here? 😛 TPR 2014 Scandi Tour. Farup Sommerland.

And speaking of other places...

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One big happy kid. Hansa Park. TPR 2014 Scandi Tour (w/A Bit of Germany).

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Thanks for the report! I love strawberries. But...

On 2/1/2021 at 1:01 PM, jedimaster1227 said:

010.thumb.jpeg.73b1038be7106810b66dc779a8765652.jpegSadly, they are meant for guests that are shorter than I... 

Lame. Just because I almost killed KidTums on one (okay, two) of these in Europe doesn't mean adults shouldn't be allowed to play!

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Are the EXPRESS LINE donuts pre-packaged, etc?

Nope! Pulled fresh and put in an open-top box to enjoy!

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Have you ever visited Showcase of Citrus in Clermont?  Also a quirky, fun place to spend a couple of hours.

Haven't been yet but it is definitely on the list! 

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  • 1 month later...
On 2/1/2021 at 3:33 PM, SharkTums said:

This looks pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing.  And yes, I believe that is the first "bouncey cushion" I have seen in the US! It's the smaller kids version, but still a step in the right direction!

In Missouri, we have one at the KOA campground in Eureka, across the freeway from Six Flags St. Louis. There also used to be one at Route 66 Carousel Park in Joplin, but that park closed a few years ago.

 

This place looks really fun. Fresh berries and beer? Yes please!

 

Edit: Yeah, here it is. I've got a photo of the one at Route 66 Carousel Park on my 2014 trip report here: 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a few months after our strawberry picking adventure at Southern Hill Farms, we found that it was time to come back for a new crop, this time fresh blueberries to be picked! Once again we trekked out to Clermont and found ourselves with walking the fields to pick the best looking produce fresh from the farm. Thanks to the sheer volume of the blueberry plants, the mad rush of the morning wasn't nearly as crazy and even by mid-day as we left, there was still plenty of fruit ready to pick. The beauty of this crop is that with so many at various stages of growth, it was clear that in just a week or two, there would be more blueberries to replace those picked during the day we visited. 

Southern Hill Farms was also hosting sunflower picking like before, along with tractor rides, a small child's play area with rides, slides and those awesome bounce pads. The food and beverage options from our prior visit were all available again but with expanded options thanks to the addition of several more food trucks and vendors. 

Southern Hill Farms continues to be a really neat local experience for Central Florida, and a tasty one at that! Peach season starts soon so we'll definitely be back for more in the coming weeks!

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And we're back!

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Love it!

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Freshly cleaned buckets are your tool to collect all of the blueberries you'll find in the fields.

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Tractor rides are available at an additional cost for those that don't want to walk to the far end of the property (or just want to enjoy the ride experience). We opted to take the walk given how beautiful of a day it was. 

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You start out with just a few in your bin but before you know it...

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You've done some serious damage!

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You have to spot the deep blues and purples to know which ones to pick, but with so many light greens and pinks being grown, there'll be plenty more to grab in the weeks ahead.

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Two bins later and we ended up with 4 lbs of blueberries. It cost about $18 for everything we picked! 

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After you're done picking you can enjoy some of the other offerings the grounds have to offer.

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Can't forget about The Beer Shed.

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Lots of new food truck options this time around!

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Just a few months ago these were the strawberry fields we picked from... We can't wait to get more strawberries during their next season here. 

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Some shading has been put up over the bounce pads!

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Rides and slides for the little ones...

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This generator-powered chair swing is here too!

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A sneak peek at peach season, coming to Southern Hill Farms in just a few weeks!

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