For months, it was hard to figure out what was going on at the lot the east side of U.S. 41 just north of Newberger Road.
First, the field was empty. Then, the land was cleared.
Then a building that looked like a barn was built. Then, the earth was plowed.
In mid-May, it became abundantly clear what was up — a new farmer’s market was opening on the Lutz site, not far from Land O’ Lakes.
The business, called The Family Farm on 41, opened May 23. It is co-owned by Angela Madonia and her mother, Josephine Argento.
The market has a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables, as well as a few flowering plants. Besides the old standbys of corn, potatoes, apples, melons, onions, zucchinis and tomatoes, there also are more interesting choices such as Italian squash, tomatillos, Hungarian wax peppers, specialty squash and jicama.
Beyond produce, the market stocks milk without hormones, farm fresh eggs, honey, cakes, jam, cheeses, ice cream and juices.
“The concept is providing the freshest and healthiest fruits and veggies to our customers,” Madonia said. “We will be growing strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, carrots, corn, radishes, pumpkins and okra. We will start harvesting in late August or early September.”
The market and the field where the fruits and vegetables will be grown are on an 8-acre plot on the north side of Newberger Road. Just across the street, on the east side of Newberger Road, the family is planning a pumpkin patch and hayrides on another 8-acre tract.
The family chose the location because it is ideally situated between Tampa and Land O’ Lakes, on a road traveled by thousands of people.
They chose to get into the fresh food business because they understand that people are becoming more interested in leading a healthy lifestyle, Madonia said. The business also fits her family’s personal goals. Madonia and her husband have two small children, and they want to teach them how to eat properly to maintain good health.
Eventually, the business will offer a “U-pick” option for customers.
The market’s hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day. At some point they plan to close one day a week, but they haven’t determined which day yet. That will depend on customer demand, Madonia said.
Published June 11, 2014
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