Monday, February 27, 2012

Plant City Strawberry Shortcake

‘Tis the season for the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City.  This 10-day celebration draws huge crowds every year.  This years festival starts Thursday, March 1, and runs through March 11th.  The entertainment during the festival includes some pretty big name stars and that always attracts folks, but the real attraction are the strawberries.  And, what’s the highest and best use of strawberries?  Shortcake, of course.

The Festival begins on Thursday, but Tony and Diana are leaving on Wednesday and they wanted to go check things out.  Our reasoning was that strawberries are already coming in and they’ve got shortcake made, why wait for the festival.  So we took off down to Plant City today.

Gene did the driving, so he got to pick the route.  He chose to take I-75 south to I-4 east.  The Plant City exit is only a few miles east of the I-75/I-4 interchange.  That’s a drive of about 60 miles.  Traffic was heavy on the interstate today so he decided to take Florida 301 for the return trip.  It’s a slower, more relaxing drive through rural farmland and only about 50 miles in distance.  Once again we were reminded that we greatly prefer back roads to interstates.

We had heard from those in the know that Parkesdale Farm Market was the place to go for shortcake.  Apparently, that’s correct and word has gotten around.  The parking lot was almost full when we pulled in and the line for shortcake was wrapped around the side of the building.  These folks know how to serve a crowd, though, and the line moved quickly.  We all ordered the #2 shortcake.  That’s the one with a layer of vanilla ice cream between the strawberries and the whipped topping.

Oh my gosh, we couldn’t eat it all. Only Tony cleaned his plate.  Next time (probably next year) I’ll go with the strawberry shake.   It looked really good, too.  The four of us agreed we didn’t think the soft serve ice cream was a significant improvement to the traditional strawberry shortcake.

Plant City has more to offer than just strawberries and Parkesdale Farm Market was selling potted flowers, a variety of citrus and other fruits, and almost any vegetable you might want.  You could also buy strawberry plants if you wanted to grow your own.
Grapefruit ready to be bagged.

Oranges for sale
With our tummies full of shortcake and our trunk full of fresh fruits and vegetables we headed home after a quick stop at Starbucks.  We pulled into our campground just as the next round of thunderstorms passed through.

We probably won’t go to the Festival.  Huge crowds are not something we enjoy.  But, we’ll put Plant City and Parkesdale Farm Market on our annual Florida “to do” list.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Makes me want to go out and get some fresh strawberries and make some shortcake. Glad you guys had fun!

  2. I love fresh strawberries! I'm jealous.

  3. love fresh strawberries!!..they looked yummy!!

  4. We've attended the Strawberry Festival twice and seen some of those major stars in concert, which was wonderful. But, yes, the HUGE strawberry shortcake was really THE major star of the festival. :)

  5. Bill said to me just the other night, "if I hear you say Plant City strawberries one more time, I'm going to scream!" This after I was suffering through some I had bought at Sam's. I'm headed to the Dekalb Farmers Market in Atlanta early next week in the hopes of finding some Plant City originals!

    Did you find an AT thru-hiker to follow this year? I normally do that as well and haven't found one to settle on that really caught my fancy.