The second in a three part series of articles that will give you some insight as to why we chose this particular piece of property.
When chronicling any endeavor or adventure it’s always best to start at the beginning. This certainly holds true when it comes to establishing a sustainable farm in ten acres of heavily wooded Florida pine scrub. Property hunting certainly calls for some selection criteria. It also demands some soul-searching, vision and a very good sense of humor. The property hunt and how we finally settled on purchasing the land we did is as good a starting point as any. Here’s what made our latest purchase the right place at the right time.
The second major criteria we had for any potential property purchase was that we wanted something raw with plenty of trees. You know, a relatively untouched and wooded lot. Why? Well, several reasons, but primarily due to climate concerns. We are in a subtropical environment (USDA growing zone 9B) and the sun is very intense. The premium that shade offers is evident when driving past some of the commercial nursery growing operations. Growers utilizing acres of irrigation under shade cloth in order to protect young plants isn’t unusual. The natural shade wooded acreage affords calls for no major infrastructure investments other than some strategic trimming and clearing.
For us, selective cutting and clearing was something we were willing to invest time in doing. Creating “edge effect” through removal rather than planting and waiting just seemed like a better option. Gotta be thinking Michelangelo’s David here. No way is there room for anything other than a full piece of marble. No pre-shaped slab is going to do (hold that thought).
On a practical note, wooded lots in our area are often undervalued and overlooked. Many potential buyers looking for acreage are horse-loving retirees relocating to a hobby farm with pasture. The last thing many of them can do is clear land themselves or waste precious time waiting for it to be cleared. Also, land clearing is expensive and a good way for capable people to save a bit of coin when starting out. So, concentrating on wooded acreage took some of the property competition (the overpaying horse crowd) out of the equation.
Now, back to Michelangelo. Raw, vacant land was just about the only non-negotiable criteria. Why? Because we wanted to put ourselves in the best position to work WITH the land. We want to make sure we’re in a position to become the best stewards of our plot possible. Rarely is there a perfect piece of property, so why complicate things even further by having to accept a previous owner’s incongruous vision? Again, something that was just a non-negotiable in our view.
So, with an untouched wooded/raw lot, the prices in our geography is more realistic and much less open to any bidding competition. With our fully wooded lot in the raw we’re also able to take our time or open things up full-throttle as we see fit. No wasted time repairing old buildings or broken systems. In essence, our full-sized marble slab is ready and waiting to be chiseled and shaped into our masterpiece.//mr
In 2014 a couple of 40-somethings decided to make a change. The purchase of 10 raw, pine scrub acres along Florida's Nature Coast started it all. This is that story.