Over the last 50 years, the historic farming community of Redland—20 miles southwest of downtown Miami—has grown from a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it agricultural byway to a destination all its own. Named for the pockets of red clay that cover a layer of limestone, Redland produces much of Florida’s winter agriculture, especially tomatoes and strawberries. But the rich soil and tropical climate also make it a prime spot for more exotic produce. With its fruit stands and orchid nurseries, U-pick fields and even a winery, Redland offers a fun day trip from Southwest Florida. With cooler temperatures and the growing season at peak production, spring is the ideal time to visit.
WHERE TO FIND EXOTIC PRODUCE (AND PET A GOAT)
Though there are plenty of fruit stands throughout Redland, the indisputable king is Robert Is Here (19200 SW 344th St., Homestead; 305.246.1592; robertishere.com). Over the last 40 years, the open-air fruit and vegetable stand has expanded to include an animal farm, a play area and live music on the weekends. Though shoppers can find plenty of familiar produce such as cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes— all grown locally—Robert Is Here is famous for its exotics: canistel, carambola, sapote, soursop, jaboticaba, longan, lychee and jackfruit, to name just a few.
WHERE TO VISIT A TROPICAL HOTHOUSE
Redland doesn’t just grow fruits and vegetables, it’s also one of the top producers of orchids in the United States. R.F. Orchids (28100 SW 182 Ave., Homestead; 305.245.4570; rforchids.com) is one of the most renowned local growers, with a record number of awards from the American Orchid Society and a cameo in Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief. Visitors can browse the lush varieties of cattleyas and vandas (and hundreds of others) inside the nursery, and garden tours are available on the weekends. Call ahead to check the latest visiting policy around COVID.
WHERE TO SIP VINO
Tropical agriculture and wine production don’t seem to go hand in hand, but the Schnebly Winery (30205 SW 217th Ave., Homestead; 305.242.1224; schneblywinery.com) has turned avocados, guavas, mangos and passion fruit into award-winning wine. The winery’s beautiful and expansive complex offers tastings and tours, as well as a top-notch restaurant and musical events on the weekends. Don’t miss the sparkling lychee wine, a favorite among local connoisseurs.
WHERE TO GET A STRAWBERRY FIX
Winter is prime strawberry growing season in Redland, and the Knaus Berry Farm (15980 SW 248 St., Homestead; 305.247.0668; knausberryfarm.com) is famous for its U-pick strawberry fields. Owned and operated by the Knaus family since 1956, the farm also has a bakery and farm stand where you’ll find its two signature items, strawberry milkshakes and homemade cinnamon rolls (among other delicious eats). It’s the perfect place to pick up a pint of strawberries— or two—and treats for the road.