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BEST U-PICK Miami 2005 -

BEST U-PICK Grandma's Garden 18001 Krome Avenue

South Miami-Dade

305-232-2823 Forty minutes southwest of Miami is the Redland, where secrets of the Tequesta and their Paleolithic forebears lie below massive layers of ancient oolitic rock, which itself is covered in red clay (thus the name). The diverse agricultural district was developed in anticipation of Henry Flagler's railroad, which never came, but that didn't stop the lush vegetation from continuing to sprout upward. Play farmer for a day at Grandma's Garden, a verdant 80-acre farm formerly associated with Norman Brothers but operated by Linda Whitley since 2000. Fill your baskets, depending on the season, with strawberries, tomatoes, peppers (including jalapeños), eggplants, collards, cabbage, corn, and other produce whose equivalents in Publix are but pallid impersonators. U-pick and U-pay but a pittance: Most vegetables run sixty cents to a dollar a pound, explosively juicy strawberries are two-fifty. Afterward head to the stand in front and knock back a milkshake made from those berries, or from pineapple, mango, papaya, mamey, and other exotic fruits grown in the neighborhood. Hours vary year round.

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