Puffy cumulous clouds dot the crisp blue sky above; to the right and left, lush farmland unrolls for miles; and below, a black asphalt road crisscrosses Redland. One of Florida’s oldest agricultural communities, Redland is home to old and new farmers, entrepreneurs and nature lovers who all have a connection to the land, but on the weekends, this fertile stretch near Homestead belongs to urbanites out for an old-fashioned Sunday drive.
The first stop is the Knaus Berry Farm on S.W. 248th Street where royal palms serve as roadside sentries. A black-and-white sign announces milkshakes and baked goods (pineapple-upside-down cakes and thick cookies and brownies, to name a few) are sold inside the white, boxy building with a backyard of strawberry and tomato fields. Barbara Knaus, clad in a blue floral dress and her white hair poking out from her bonnet, offers a coy smile to customers as she packs oven-fresh sticky buns alongside her husband, Ray, a bearded man who’s a fan of suspenders. Both Dunkers, a sect of German Baptists often mistaken for Amish, the couple started the business in the 1950s, and five decades later, the line out the door on weekends signals this is the place for breakfast.
A few miles down the road at R.F. Orchids on S.W. 182nd Ave, Sherry Coussens is deciding if the dendrobium with showy yellow flowers is the right orchid. “I’m getting my husband one for our anniversary,” says the avid gardener who drove up from the Keys. Behind her—past a ceramic Chinese lion, waterfall and footbridge—are tidy green- houses with rows of rainbow-hued epiphytes. Folks like Coussens come here to spend hours browsing; others pop in for one of the greenhouse’s famous Vandaceous orchids. The Vanda sansai blue orchid is one of the prettiest here. For a guided garden tour, come on the weekends at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Intriguing—and unexpected—selections for a midday break are at Schnebly Redland’s Winery on S.W. 217th Avenue. Not your usual grape variety, Peter Schnebly’s wines are made from exotic fruit like lychee, carambola, mango, guava as well as passion fruit, which thrive in this subtropical patch of the state. But then there’s his avocado wine, which sits in French oak for two days (a must-taste), and his Category 3 Hurricane vino, a blend of carambola, guava and lychee. A destination in itself, the winery holds tastings around the wooden, wine-barrel bar, and picnics, complete with a bottle of wine, of course, take place under the Miccosukee-style tiki hut in the landscaped courtyard.
Nobody leaves Redland without a car full of produce. A summer visit to the iconic fruit market Robert is Here on S.W. 344th Street (look for the name written across the roof) turns up mangos, lychees, soursop, dragon fruit, jackfruit and sugar apples—not your usual supermarket fare. For citrus from oranges to tangerines to ugli fruit, youll have to come in the winter. Order a super-thick mango milkshake to sip as you meander among the resident goats, donkeys and gators out back behind the market.
At Burr’s Berry Farm on S.W. 216th Street (open December through May), an American flag waves proudly from the white roadside stand trimmed in strawberry red. Inside, Mary Burr, whose late husband Charlie started the farm, sells strawberries, tomatoes, beans, tomatillo salsa verde, mango jam and canned pickles. But it’s the strawberry shortcake that this 1965 landmark is famous for—and you don’t want to leave Redland without a taste.
Owner Lory Swank decorated Homestead’s White Lion Café with an eclectic touch: Twinkle lights, wagon wheels and a vintage icebox all have a place in this cute cottage. Moderately priced comfort food like fried chicken and meatloaf contrasts with her goofy P.J. & Dom special, the world’s largest peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich with a complimentary bottle of Dom Pérignon ($200).
Make it an Overnight
The two-story Redland Hotel has a frontier-town vibe that dates to 1904. The comfy, revamped inn boasts a collection of vintage sewing machines, washboard art and black-and-white photos from the Florida Pioneer Museum association depicting Henry Flagler’s railroad and 1920s Model T touring cars. The second-floor rooms are reminiscent of an old-time boarding house, and the wraparound porch with paddle fans is a corner spot for relaxing with a cold beer.