Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Forbes Road Produce

When it comes to buying fruits and vegetables, it's not the sign that counts.

It's taken me almost three years of living in Tampa to find a great fruit and vegetable stand. Sure, there are small roadside stands and people selling tomatoes from the back of pickups, but Forbes Road Produce stands alone in price, variety and hard-working family atmosphere.
I discovered this unassuming business a couple months back when I decided to make strawberry preserves. If you live around here, you know Plant City is the strawberry capital of Florida. Where better to get your berries than straight from the source? I drove out to farm country, which is 20 minutes or so from my house, and couldn't believe the flats of juicy red strawberries, and the price I was paying for them. I have been buying my produce from Forbes Road ever since, and they offer an incredible variety.

For $33, here's today's catch:

Look at these tomatoes for $2.50 a basket:

They also sell plants:

Another produce business sits directly across the street and I have visited that one also. It looks more polished, but I prefer the grit of Forbes Road. It's easy to find. Going east on I-4, take the Branch Forbes Road exit and turn right. It's right off the interstate.

UPDATE 2012:  Please scroll down and note my comment. Way to go, Forbes Road!


  1. I look for fresh produce no matter where I live and now that I'm out of FL, I've been lucky to find local produce to purchase. It not only helps the small farmer/business but adds great taste and variety to family menus. I live in TN now and discovered a great produce market in Delano. It's run by the Mennonites and they sell homemade apple butter which is the best I've ever tasted as well as whatever other products they grow on their farms.
    Their prices are excellent, so like the woman who writes this site, I spend beaucoup dollars stocking up the crisper drawer.

  2. Woe is me...Here in Broward County, Florida, roadside stands of yesteryear--so "yester," in fact, that I missed them completely--have been replaced by extra lanes of traffic. By and large, our produce comes waxed and wrapped, but fortunately, here and there, some fine folks take on an out-of-the-way storefront to display freshly-picked produce. In these 21st-century instantiations of the roadside stand, we often find prices, sweetness, and succulence that the big grocery chains just cannot offer.

    A south Florida road-trip tip:
    Robert is Here! Fruit Stand in Homestead

    You'll need your gps to get there, but once you find it, you'll see, smell, and taste tropical treats beyond your imagination--mangoes of numerous varieties, starfruit, mamey, guava, etc. Some of the mangoes are the size of footballs, and if you are tempted to cut into one before getting home (you will be), pack a couple of rolls of paper towels!

    They ship, too. AND they sell boiled peanuts!

  3. July 2012 Update: My blog stats indicate people have been reading this old post lately and I am glad to see it. This is still a great stand, and it survived the produce wars with the neighboring business,which is no longer there. Tomatoes are still $2.50 a basket!