Everyone can get in on the action when the iconic U-pick strawberry farm and bakery reopens for the season on Tuesday, October 26. Miami can look forward to six months of baked goods, ice cream, fresh strawberries, and other produce until Knaus shutters for the summer in mid-April.
Knaus partner and bakery manager Thomas Blocher says there is no exact count on just how many of cinnamon rolls are baked each day while the farm's open for business. He'll simply tell you, "It's a lot."
One thing Blocher will share, however, is the history of the infamous rolls.
When founder Ray Knaus' wife, Barbara, began making her cinnamon rolls in the 1960s, they were topped with crushed pineapple and double the size of the ones sold today, Blocher tells New Times.
"They were these massive cinnamon rolls and there was only one other woman making them with her each day, so you can imagine how quickly they ran out," he says. "Along the way, the crushed pineapple stopped, but the lines never did."
In 1984, when Blocher took over the bakery operations, he made a decision some longtime fans might remember. Rather than tackle the mess created by Barbara's giant rolls and keep up with demand, he asked the bakers to make each roll smaller.
"My sales pitch was, 'The middle is the best part, and now you can get two for the same size as one.' To this day, we've never advertised them. Their popularity grew organically, and it's been word of mouth ever since," Blocher says.
If you're ready to get your seasonal fill of Knaus cinnamon rolls, be prepared to wait. Although the farm opens at 8 a.m., locals often line up hours earlier to grab the freshly baked goods.
"We only make so many a day, and we'd like to service as many people as we can," Blocher explains, adding that prices have gone up across the board to cover increased costs and a minimum-wage hike to $15 per hour for employees.
The bakery remains one of the farm's biggest draws, offering a menu that includes breads, pies, cakes, jams, brownies, cookies, and ice cream.
Of course, there's more to eat at Knaus than sticky-sweet pastries. Before the bakery — and a line for cinnamon rolls — Knaus Berry was simply a farm.
In 1956, brothers Ray and Russell Knaus began raising strawberries together in the Redland. While most customers visited the farm's small roadside stand, some strawberries were sold through a broker. As the story goes, he tasted Barbara's cookies and the idea for a bakery was born. These days, it's Ray’s daughters and their husbands — Blocher is one — who oversee the farm's day-to-day operations.
This season, it would be a mistake to visit without a walk through the field for fresh U-pick strawberries and tomatoes, when available, and strawberry- or coffee-flavored milkshakes made with the farm's fresh fruit or Blocher's own Bald Baker's coffee blend.
And don't overlook the farm's other fresh produce.
"One thing we're very proud of is that what we don't grow, we don't sell — from herbs to produce," says Blocher. (Sweet corn is the sole exception.) "That's something I think a lot of people don't really know about Knaus, and it's definitely worth a try."
One last tip: You might need to hit the ATM on your drive south to the farm. Knaus is a cash-only operation.
Knaus Berry Farm. Opens for the season on Tuesday, October 26. 5980 SW 248th St., Homestead; 305-247-0668; knausberryfarm.com.