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Parkesdale Farm Market

by Meghann on March 28, 2012

There’s a billboard along I-4 that I’ve passed a million times during my countless trips between Tampa and Orlando. It’s a billboard that boasts the ‘world’s best milkshakes’ and advertises seasonal fresh strawberry shortcakes between December and mid-April. It’s a billboard that has tempted me many times to take a slight detour in Plant City and see what this Parkesdale Farm is all about.

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The above photo isn’t the actual billboard I drive by (I didn’t snap a photo and google has failed me), but if you’ve ever been on I-4, I’m sure you know the one I’m talking about near exit 17 – it’s hard to miss. 🙂

After repeatedly telling myself I’ve needed to visit Parkesdale Farm Market in Plant City for a couple of years now, I was more than a little excited when a member of the Parkesdale team asked if I was interested in attending a Tampa blogger meet up at the market. Finally, the excuse I needed to check this place out!

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I passed the invitation along to my friend Diana and we decided to make the 17 mile trip to Parkesdale together. It’s a straight shot on I-4 and really wasn’t that bad without traffic.

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We were greeted by two other lovely bloggers (Jackie from Syrup and Biscuits and Jeanette from Sweet Jeanette) and Xiomara, the owner’s daughter-in-law who runs their website and social networking site. All of the ladies were lovely and we spent close to two hours covering everything from pinterest to the local Tampa foodie scene. It was fun getting to know two new bloggers and learning a bit of history about Parkesdale Farm.

(Did you know the farm started in 1956 by Xiomara’s husband’s grandfather and has remained a family run farm for over three generations? They mainly grow strawberries, but also grow a few vegetables that they sell seasonably in the market.)

While we chatted, we each enjoyed one of Parkesdale famous strawberry milkshakes.

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Oh. My. Word. I don’t even like strawberry milkshakes (I’m not a fan of strawberry ice cream in general), but this baby won me over. It was so decadent and so fresh that it was love at fist sip. Xiomara let us in on a little secret… the milkshakes only consist of fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream – that’s it. No weird fillers or syrups – just fresh from the farm strawberries. I think that’s why it was so good. 🙂 Fresh chunks of strawberries kept getting stuck in my straw and – at the end – there were pieces of strawberries left at the bottom of the cup. I was not complaining. 😉

Once our bellies were full, we explored the market a bit more. This place was hoppin’ for a Wednesday afternoon. The line for strawberry shortcakes and milkshakes went out the door and almost every table was full!

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Parkesdale Farm plays a major role in the Strawberry Festival every year and I love how that same festival feel carries into the market.

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Of course, the best part was the market portion. The majority of the jams, preserves, breads, and cookies are all produced in house or locally outsourced.

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Not all of the produce is local, but they try to carry as much local produce as possible. We asked Xiomara whether they carried any organic produce, but she said there really wasn’t a market for it in rural Plant City. The majority of their customers base is a bit on the older side and don’t fall into the organic movement. She and her husband had big plans for bringing organic produce to the market, but no one bought it – they all favored conventionally grown produce instead. I found this information fascinating.

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The produce they did have was fresh and vey reasonably priced. Everything was just so cheap, that I wanted to buy and try it all.

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Something I learned today – strawberry onions are onions that are grown in the same fields as the strawberries. They’re called strawberry onions because they thrive off of the cast-off water from the strawberries, which gives them a sweeter taste. Good to know.

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I went a little crazy filling my basket.

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All this for only $10.66. Rock on.

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Diana scored too. She and her husband are currently juicing and she was just complaining about how expensive good produce is in Tampa. I think we may have just solved her problem. 😉

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I wasn’t expecting to stay at Parkesdale all afternoon, but it was definitely worth the long outing. I can’t wait to go back when Derek and I have a free weekend or if we have friends or family in town and are looking for something to do. They serve their milkshakes year around (yum!), but only serve their famous strawberry shortcakes from December to mid-April (Florida’s strawberry season). I wonder if we can squeeze in a trip before then? Or I’m sure strawberry milkshakes will taste mighty delicious in the summer heat too. 😉

Before we headed out of Tampa, I had a quick lunch around noon.

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Derek is very anti-butt of the bread, but I think the butts make great sandwiches. I used the two bread butts to make a turkey, cheddar, and spinach sandwich and grilled it on the George Foreman. Butt-perfection. 😉

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A side of pretzel sticks and hummus.

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And pickles!

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Dinner tonight was inspired by my Parkesdale Farm Market purchases.

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Black beans cooked with the Parkesdale fresh peppers, strawberry onions, and avocado.

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Parkesdale kale lightly steamed and seasoned with salt.

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And Parkesdale beets roasted with strawberry onions.

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A mish mosh of Parkesdale’s finest.

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Parkesdale even had a hand in dessert.

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A tiny slice of strawberry swirl bread just to have a taste.

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It was a great pound cake, but needs more strawberry swirl to it. 😉

*I updated the Wedding Page – I bought a dress!*

Derek just got home and we’re about to watch My Week With Marilyn (i’m excited about this one!).

Good Night!

1 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm

That place is adorable!!! I love finding places like that in rural areas, they always have the best stuff and it’s so inexpensive!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..WIAW–Quinoa Style

2 Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm

We have a place around here like that and I used to work there! It was really fun buuut the elderly frequent there a lot and let’s just say, they aren’t the most fun people to deal with sometimes!!
Jessica @ The Process of Healing recently posted..“Feel the Burn”

3 Julie @ There and Back Again March 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I can’t wait for the produce stands and farmer’s markets to open up again (we have a couple more weeks to go here on the OBX)!! This post made me even more excited. Also, did you get your shirt at Target? If so, I got the same one in white last week 🙂
Julie @ There and Back Again recently posted..How To Travel Alone

4 Meghann March 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Yep – it’s from Target. And I’m jealous because all of our Farmer’s Markets close for the summer. Our seasons are a bit switched around down here.

5 Julie @ There and Back Again March 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Ahh bummer! I wonder if there’s somewhere in the world with a perfect temperate climate where farmer’s markets can be open year-round…
Julie @ There and Back Again recently posted..How To Travel Alone

6 Ash T March 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Perfect climate for farmer’s markets = California. We have them year round and its fantastic.

7 Alison March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

That place looks like tons of fun! And I could totally go for a fresh strawberry milkshake like that right now. Yum!
Alison recently posted..Tuesday’s Gone

8 kath March 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I love the sound of that shake!!!!

I do NOT ever want to try a strawberry onion though 🙂
kath recently posted..Stormy Weather

9 xiomara @ Parkesdale March 29, 2012 at 9:17 am

That’s funny because I almost sent you some, but quickly remembered you don’t eat onions!
xiomara @ Parkesdale recently posted..Roasted Corn

10 kath March 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

Hahaha. I would have given them to Karen! She loves ’em 🙂
kath recently posted..All About Spring

11 Sneakers2Sandals March 29, 2012 at 11:41 am

I feel like I have some kind of exotic veggie in my house by having a strawberry onion sitting here! I can’t wait to try it…and Kath – apparently they don’t make you cry when you cut them. One point for the strawberry onion? 🙂
Sneakers2Sandals recently posted..Remove your casings!

12 Meghan R March 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm
13 Hillary March 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I might have to recreate that milkshake at home!
Hillary recently posted..The Second Half: Final Thoughts

14 JessicaE March 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm

I’m a long time reader and I’ve always liked your blog. I am NOT a Grammy Nazi, nor do I care about the occasional misspelled word or error. We are all human and it happens.

But I just can’t understand how someone who makes a living from her blog and has a college education (not that going to college is the only determinate of intelligence) would have so many simple errors. For example in this post: “Her and her husband” should be “she and her husband”.

Its not THAT big of a deal, I know, but the sort of the point… its not that big of a deal to proofread before posting… is it? If it was just an online personal diary I would understand a little better. But I know you consider this blog a part of your profession and you have had some wonderful opportunities because of it.

I think your blog would look so much more polished and professional if the constant errors were not there. Sadly, they are often commonly known errors and simple to catch/fix.

Perhaps you DO proofread and are just not very skilled at grammar/spelling. There is NOTHING wrong with that; we all have our weaknesses. I’m sure there are some errors in my comment. I am not, however, paid for my writing. You are. I think it would do you a world of good to perhaps take a class on grammar or educate yourself further on it somehow.

I hope so much that this comes across as supportive and not snarky. I am really pretty laid back about these sort of things, and if I notice mistakes in nearly every post, I can only imagine what others think… perhaps including those who may want to offer you further opportunities based on your blog and writing.

Again, I truly hope you don’t take this as a snark; I have read your blog for a few years now, and mean only constructive criticism.

15 Meghann March 29, 2012 at 9:25 am

Hi Jessica, It’s actually funny that you mention that particular error because there’s a part at the bottom of the post where I had originally put ‘her and her husband’ but went back and corrected it to ‘she and her husband’. When I read your comment I was like ‘no way, I fixed that!’ Then I re-read the post again and found the error you had mentioned. I proofread every post I write, but some things do slip by. I know that it should be ‘she and her husband,’ but for some reason ‘her and her husband’ comes out as I’m typing – I’m trying, I promise.

16 Elizabeth @ Chocolate Drops and Pearls March 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Wow all that stuff at the market looks amazing and all for so cheap! Do you have any good ideas or recommendations on how to find local markets in other areas say perhaps in Chicago area?
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17 Steph @ 321delish March 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I’m so glad you posted this! I’ve seen the sign for Parkesdale and have been VERY tempted to stop! I’m headed to Orlando this weekend, and I might need to make a quick stop there!
Steph @ 321delish recently posted..Lime Lover’s Nachos

18 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen March 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Now that’s a milkshake I can get behind. I hate all the wacko ingredients most places use! Milkshakes should be simple, not with 10 million ingredients you can’t pronounce!
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen recently posted..No bake coconut lemon chia balls

19 Kristin March 28, 2012 at 10:38 pm

All of the fresh produce looks so good. I’ll have to wait until June/July here in the Midwest for that. I find it interesting that you call the ends of the bread the “butt”. I’ve grown up calling it the “heel”.

20 Meghann March 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

That’s what my family always called it when I was growing up. 🙂

21 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm

That milkshake looks really good, almost more like a strawberry smoothie! YUM! I really need to get to my farmer’s markets more often because I LOVE the fresh produce so much.
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Foodie for a Day // #SingleGirlDinner

22 Jamie@everydaydolce.com March 29, 2012 at 12:42 am

Oh my gosh…that milkshake looks and sound amazing!! I miss stuff like that in Florida…I moved to the Westcoast three years ago after living in Florida most of my life!
Jamie@everydaydolce.com recently posted..Hot Oats & Wise Words.

23 Carrie March 29, 2012 at 1:30 am

Wow! So much strawberry goodness!
Carrie recently posted..Long Run Recap

24 Cait @ Beyond Bananas March 29, 2012 at 6:19 am

You just reminded me that Farmer’s Market season is RIGHT around the corner… and I got really excited!!!!
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25 Serena March 29, 2012 at 7:11 am

I love farmers markets! Last year my garden did the job for me and I hope it will this year too.

26 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope March 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

That farmers market looks amazing! The milkshake sounds delicious! 🙂 You got a ton of stuff for cheap! I love going to farmer’s markets. They are the best!
Hope @ With A Side Of Hope recently posted..Savory Four Cheese Hamburgers…

27 Kathy March 29, 2012 at 8:25 am

These are the kind of days I long for….love it!

Why is all the cool stuff so very far away? ;-(
Kathy recently posted..Church bars gone wrong=sweet tooth disaster

28 Emily N March 29, 2012 at 8:44 am

Oh my gosh. How cool that they hosted an event for you guys! That place looks awesome!
Emily N recently posted..Money Money Money…

29 Beka March 29, 2012 at 8:47 am

I haven’t been to this famer’s market yet, but there are a couple that are open year round over in Brandon/Valrico area. I must pass at least 4 strawberry markets on my way to work in Lakeland. The famer’s market at sr60 and St Cloud is open year round and carries a lot of variety per season (vegetables, fruits, honeys, as well as the milkshakes, cakes, boiled peanuts, etc). It’s pretty great and super close to home, which works out nicely!
Beka recently posted..LONG Weekend Wrap Up!

30 Cait's Plate March 29, 2012 at 9:45 am

I love Farmer’s Markets so much. I can’t wait for them to start popping up around here!
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31 Niki March 29, 2012 at 10:16 am

I can’t wait to hear how that Marilyn Monroe movie was!!!

That strawberry place looks like so much fun, unless you have a strawberry allergy! 😉
Niki recently posted..We love to eat our vegetables…

32 Suzanne March 29, 2012 at 11:05 am

I was bummed that I didn’t get to the event yesterday, but I’m happy for all of you that you got to enjoy the wonderful goodies of Parkesdale. My family used to live 5 minutes away and that was one of our favorites to visit.

Next time, you’ll want to pick up a bag of the strawberry cookies. They are by far our favorite treat to bring home from Parkesdale!

33 Sara@RunningInPinkProject March 29, 2012 at 11:12 am

Ohhhh another place to add to my “must check out” list once I get to Tampa. It seriously feels like Im never going to make it sometimes. :/ In the home stretch now though!! Was the movie good? Ive been wanting to see that and “Midnight in Paris”. Might need to make a red box stop. 🙂
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34 Meghann March 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

I thought it was good. I felt like it was too short though and needed more Marilyn in it, but the acting and the directing were wonderful.

35 SweetJeanette March 30, 2012 at 12:58 pm

It was so nice to meet you at the Tampa Foodie Meet-Up! Had a blast getting to know some other area food bloggers. (I had no idea there was more than two! LOL) I look forward to stalking your blog!
SweetJeanette recently posted..Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

36 Life's a Bowl March 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm

There’s so much tastiness going on in this post, can’t point out something specific! Jealous of your warm weather and farmers markets… I cannot wait for summer!

P.S. The ends are my fave part of the loaf- not toasted and slathered with PB 🙂
Life’s a Bowl recently posted..13 Things Thursday

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