There were 150 farms in St. Johns County a decade ago. Today, 15 remain.
Danny Johns, owner of Blue Sky Farms in Hastings, wants to maintain the green space farms provide, offer fresh produce to locals and maintain the quality of life farmers can bring to a community. He wants to save the local farm and is teaming up with other farmers to make that happen.
“First Coast Fresh is a family farm cooperative with a goal of selling local produce to local people and stores,” he informed me. The USDA considers food sourced from hundreds of miles away to be “local” but the First Coast Fresh farmers would like more of their products to stay here on the First Coast. “It’s a win for the farmer, a win for the grocer and a win for the consumer!” Danny insists. In an industry where only 15 cent of every dollar returns to the farmer, a safer margin would allow for better products and practices.
Blue Sky Farms recently added QR codes to bags of potatoes so shoppers can learn the story behind their products including when and where it was harvested and even the backstory of the plant. “Go to your produce manager and ask where your produce is from and if they can order from First Coast Fresh,” encourages Danny. “Keep it local.” Blue Sky Farms potatoes are currently available at Winn Dixie stores.