Farm-City Luncheon highlights areas growing agritourism industry

Lee Wardlaw,

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – In a big event anticipating the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, the Clay County Farm Bureau and the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences held its 50th annual Farm-City Luncheon.

More than 100 residents of the community were in attendance, who enjoyed a farm-fresh, gourmet lunch catered by Cowboys Barbecue of Archer, Florida. The menu included pulled chicken with three kinds of barbecue sauce, macaroni and cheese, a garden salad, and a roll, along with sweet and unsweet tea.

And while the pulled chicken from Cowboys may have been ‘lip smacking’ good, the true reason that Clay County residents were in attendance was to listen to addresses from prominent business people and elected officials in the county about important topics like agritourism as a potential form of second income, the benefit of economic impact provided by kayaking, fishing, and other top outdoor activities bestowed upon Clay County and the entire state of Florida.

Born and raised in Clay County, Kelly Mosley, a Middleburg resident, is the owner of Amazing Grace Crop Maze and Director of the Florida Agritourism Association.

“I was excited to hear that agritourism was one of this year’s topics, as it’s something that’s near and dear to my heart,” she said.

Mosley then spoke to residents on her journey in the career field and the beautiful story of when she and her husband together decided to take a dive ‘head-first’ into the industry after one of the several leadership development conferences they attended during the process.

“We prayed about that decision for a month,” Mosley said.

Another keynote speaker at the event was County Commissioner, Mike Cella, who noted several facts and figures about how the tourism economy has gone on to fill the coffers of rural Clay.

“You may not be familiar with our tourism effort, but it is an economic development catalyst that is already having a major impact on our economy here in Clay County, and that fact is growing day by day,” he said.

The fun-filled event also included an opening presentation of colors and singing of the United States national anthem, along with a special closing send-off rendition of “God Bless America,” by (name).

More than 100 people attended the luncheon inside the Cattleman’s Arena at the Clay County Fairgrounds.

Additionally, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, giving, and the Clay County community, food donations were collected for those in need.

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