Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Season Starting

Florida strawberry growers start season with lighter volumes

Starting their season slower than normal, Florida strawberry grower-shippers are benefiting from higher prices caused by lighter North American supplies.  Lower California volume and Mexican production problems are keeping early season prices abnormally high.

The supply shortage has pushed prices to $28.90-$30 for flats of 8 1-pound clamshells medium-large from central Florida, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Dec. 2.

Last year in early December, the USDA reported those same containers and sizes from central Florida selling for $18.90-20.90.  Though higher than in recent years, those prices were more common during the 1970s and 1980s when California didn’t harvest a lot of November and December berries and before Mexico began bigger production, said Gary Wishnatzki, president and chief executive officer of Wish Farms.

Wish Farms began “scrapping” or harvesting small amounts in...

Complimentary Coffee

Free coffee for 10 days at new Plant City Wawa

Nothing tizzies the masses like the words "free coffee," which means "free coffee FOR 10 DAYS" just might make heads explode. You know, in a good way!

On Thursday, at the grand opening of a new Wawa store in Plant City — the 58th Wawa to open in Florida, by the way — the convenience chain will commence 10 straight days of no-strings-attached free coffee.

The new location, at 2701 Thonotosassa Rd., will also celebrate...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Barbecue Bash

Plant City Pig Jam opens Friday

Plant City Courier

Some of the best barbecue around will be available at the 12th annual Pig Jam, which for the first time includes two days.

Cooking teams from across the country will compete for the prizes and bragging rights at the festival, which will be open 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

The teams typically sell barbecue meat to help pay expenses, so the extra day also gives the teams and other vendors the chance to make more money, he added.

The jam will be at the Randy Larson Softball Four-Plex, 1500 S. Park Road, next to Plant City Stadium.

The event includes...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Road Relief ?

State may spend $800,000 to ease congestion near Starbucks

Plant City Courier

The state is planning improvements at Thonotosassa Road and Interstate 4 to ease congestion around Starbucks that’s likely to get worse when a convenience store opens next door.

The Florida Department of Transportation’s plan includes closing the median opening on Thonotosassa Road across from Starbucks and realigning the eastbound I-4 exit ramp, which is just north of the coffee shop.

The work will start next June or July. The completion date has not been set, DOT spokeswoman Kris Carson said.

The Wawa is expected to open soon and will share a driveway with Starbucks. The coffee shop at 2701 Thonotosassa Road recently filed plans with the city to alleviate congestion by adding parking and relocating its drive-through, among other changes.

The state’s plans include...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Maize Maze

Corn maze returns to welcome fall season

Plant City Observer

It’s that time of year again, when children and adults alike will get into the true spirit of autumn and navigate their way through Single R Ranch’s maze made entirely of corn.

This is the third year that the Futch family will have operated the Fox Squirrel Corn Maze and its corresponding festival. It is the only corn maze in the county.

Their motto proposes a challenge to all visitors: “Can you out-fox our squirrely maze?”

Wayne Futch grows, maintains and cuts the corn, and is responsible for other farm-related tasks. His wife, Denise Futch, also makes important contributions to keep the festival running. Wayne’s sister, Janet Futch, manages the technical aspects of the operation, which she is able to do remotely from her home in Atlanta.

A rare species of squirrel is the maze’s namesake. Sherman’s fox squirrel is listed as a species of...

pc observer photo

New Neighborhood

Development planned for northern Plant City

Plant City Observer

A number of residential developments are in the works for Plant City, but North Park Isles stands out among them because of its large scale and geographical placement.

North Park Isles will be located north of Sam Allen Road and Park Road. Its single-family homes will likely be priced around $225,000 to $235,000, and they will be designed in a variety of styles. LandBuilder, the project’s developing firm, also plans to add a pond for kayaking, a walking trail and a clubhouse.

LandBuilder acquired the land in 2004. The property contains floodplains, which slowed the project’s progress. City officials would not allow the rezone until flooding issues had been solved. Even more of a roadblock was the mid-decade recession.

“I’ve got partners who have held it since 2006 — just been sitting on it,” Devon Rushnell, president of LandBuilder, said. “Right now, we’re just picking it back up, dusting it off, deciding which...

via pc observer

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Closures Coming

Plant City roads to close for gas pipeline safety test

PC Observer

Several Plant City roads will be closed on Wednesday, Sept. 24 as Florida Gas Transmission Company plans to re-test 17 miles of natural gas pipeline using water.  The test is part of its ongoing pipeline safety management program.

The test will take place from midnight to 4 a.m. The pipeline runs primarily along the streets of Hillsborough County.  The following closures will occur in Plant City:

– Both directions on W Knights Griffin from Stacy to McIntosh.
– Both directions on W Knights Griffin from McIntosh to Pless.
– Entire intersection of Gallagher with West Knights Griffin Road.
– A portion of...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Florida Food

The Weirdest Eating Patterns Of Each U.S. State

We’ve all know how much Philly loves its cheesesteaks. But you know what the data tells us? The most distinctive menu item in Pennsylvania restaurants isn’t the cheesesteak. It’s actually the hoagie.

Co.Design teamed up with food industry analytics firm Food Genius to mine its database of 88,000 menus and 59 million menu items and build this map of the each state’s true crown jewel food. What you’re looking at isn’t the most popular food by state. It’s the food that most distinguishes them from the rest of the pack.

But to really see how food trends play out, we’d recommend toggling through...

co design/food genius graphic

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cool Contest

Vote for the USA's best specialty food festival

USA Today

Food is an essential component of travel, as regional tastes shape and define our experiences. We're saluting the delicious cultures and culinary traditions that appeal to visitors from coast to coast in our Readers' Choice contest for Best Specialty Food Festival.

For this contest category, we focused on festivals which center around a single food or theme, rather than try to include all the wonderful "wine and food" festivals. You have until...

Produce Project

Community garden opening on campus of Plant City elementary school

Planning is under way for Plant City’s first school community garden, where students and community members can study and participate in the art of growing.

Karen Elizabeth is spearheading the effort to create the garden at Wilson Elementary School. Elizabeth is president of the 2-year-old Plant City Commons Community Garden, located on property owned by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

An organizational meeting for the Wilson Elementary community garden was held Aug. 7, with more meetings to follow. Community involvement is essential for the garden to flourish, Elizabeth said.

Wilson Elementary has had a school garden for four years but it was only open to students of the school. This is the first time that members of the community will be allowed to grow produce there.

Elizabeth said organizers have drawn inspiration for the garden in part from...