Sonny Scott is a fourth-generation farmer in Mount Dora, Florida. After his grandfather moved from Virginia, Long & Scott Farms was established in 1963. A true family farm, nearly all of the Scott family is involved in the farm business. After many years in business, the Scotts have diversified their 1200 acre farm to include vegetable production, an annual corn maze, an event venue, playground, cafe, and a farm-market store.
The Scott Family grows more than 450 acres of green, red and savoy cabbage, Zellwood Sweet Corn, Kirby cucumbers, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, onions, strawberries, and much more. The farm also has a sod business where they grow Zoysia, St. Augustine, and Bahia varieties of turfgrass. With the many varieties of produce and the many branches of the farm, Long & Scott Farms employs more than 25 people.
After Covid-19 hit, Long & Scott Farms had to quickly adapt to the rapidly changing situation. After restaurants and businesses shuttered due to the pandemic, the demand for their commercial business in the foodservice market quickly dried up. This coupled with growing pressure from urban sprawl, made the Scott family question what to do next: leave nearly four million pounds of crops in the field or try to salvage some retail business and be left with some degree of uncertainty. The farm decided to proceed forward and harvest, donate what they could, and sell the crops to consumers with some success.
“We pushed as much through the farmers market on the farm as we could. What we couldn’t sell, we donated. We shifted pretty quickly to a direct-to-consumer model. We saw a lot of support from our local community and people coming out to purchase directly from the farm really helped,” said Scott. “We hope that the changes we saw with consumers last, with people coming out to buy produce fresh from the farm. This year we have expanded the cafe with more seating and plan to offer mixed produce boxes filled with local fruits and vegetables.”
“Before COVID even, vegetable prices are going down and costs of growing produce is going up. We have tried to find many things to diversify and keep the business going,” said Scott.
In 2020, Scott decided to grow a new crop by planting 8-acres of organic hemp. They are growing several varieties of hemp. The farm is actively involved in different field trials and methods of planting, irrigation, and varieties.
Scott joined together with the Florida Hemp Farmers to share growing techniques, his findings, ideas and to help create a sense of community growing hemp. Florida Hemp Farmers is proud to have the Scott family join the coalition because of their long history of growing safe food products for our community.
“I hope that our resinous CBD and CBG grow well and eventually I hope that biomass takes off and we start to use this for building products.”
Scott’s Country Market opens every fall and is scheduled to open on September 29 with the corn maze opening on October 3.