Julianna Rendon: Neighborhood as Text 2022: Homestead, Florida

Taken by Julianna Rendon of FIU // CC by 4.0

“Rural Paradise” by Julianna Rendon of FIU

Map:

South of the busy city of Miami we know so well, lies an agricultural treasure of a place called Homestead. When I was younger I used to beg my mom to make the 20 minute drive from Palmetto Bay to Homestead so I could experience a piece of Florida that resembles something out of a western cowboy movie. My family grew to love Homestead so much, we ended up moving there when I was 12. Having lived there for all of my middle and high school years, I have been fortunate enough to come across some truly magnificent hidden gems. Homestead definitely has that small town syndrome: people who live there want to leave, but once they do they will always miss it.

Rolling fields of corn, papaya, and avocado trees spread out within acres of land, is one of the first sights visitors will behold arriving in Homestead. Homestead is known for a section called the Redlands which houses beautiful farmhouses and fields acres away from each other. The landscape setting is so different from the usual crowdedness of anywhere in Miami. People who own property there own farm animals such as horses, cows, chickens, and goats that can be seen freely roaming gated pastures. Milkshake and fruit stands are common throughout the city, each selling varieties of desserts and produce you can’t find fresher elsewhere.

Heritage Market

Taken by Julianna Rendon // CC by 4.0

Nestled on Krome Avenue lies a beautiful farm called the Heritage Market. Heritage is an organic farming location open to the public offering bakery items, milkshakes, fruit picking, and relaxation areas. They boast a colonial style building with fruit fields behind it, as well as some of the best hamburgers and lunch items one could ever hope to have. Once you order a milkshake, you head out back to pick it up straight from a small trailer that makes all the dessert items from scratch. Seasonally, Heritage Market offers strawberry and blueberry picking people of all ages can participate in. Around Christmastime, Heritage sets up a Christmas tree tent where locals and visitors alike can go to find beautiful pines ready to take home.

Heritage Market used to formerly be known as Curbside Market when I was in high school. The farm was owned by the parents of schoolmates of mine, and after school on Wednesdays, a group of about 5 or 6 of us would make the mile walk to hang out at Heritage Market. The place is so unique on its own, there really is nowhere else like it. Heritage Market produces comfort and beauty in a way that makes it welcoming to everyone who visits. Live concerts and food trucks can be found on the property almost every other weekend, and once you go more than twice, familiar faces will always be identifiable. Heritage is open year round from Wednesdays to Sundays at around noon. It is truly worth the visit to experience incredible food and the charm Homestead has to offer embodied into a singular place.

Location: 29100 SW 177th Ave, Homestead, FL 33030

The Rope Swing

Shot from Video taken by Julianna Rendon // CC by 4.0

Close to the Homestead Speedway Race Track, lies a gem locals refer to simply as “The Rope Swing”. There isn’t any information about this spot online, the only way to know about it is through word of mouth; usually through the ramblings of teenagers making after school plans on any particularly hot day. Once you park your car at an unmarked gravel pathway near the side of the road, one can walk to the designated canal surrounded by tall trees. The canal is different from other canals because of its distinctly clear blue waters. Occasionally you can spot small alligators lazily swimming through, but they wont bother you if you don’t bother them. On a few of the giant trees there are a few wooden boards leading up the trunk to a thick rope tied to one of the sturdier branches. There are different ropes on various trees, so swimmers can decide what type of risk they’re looking to take that day. The water is cold and refreshing, but the real thrill is taking one of the 25ft jumps from one of the rope swings into the canal. On any given weekend you can find huddles of cars parked near the water loudly playing music as their passengers utilize the canal for swimming and jumping. The spot is unique and not exactly an official location, but worth the adventure. During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, my sister and I would visit this spot every week to get a taste of what normal high school days were like. The Rope Swing is timeless entertainment for all, and lasting in its memory.

Location:

Royal Palm Grill

Taken by Julianna Rendon // CC by 4.0

If you ask anyone where the best breakfast place in Homestead is, they will direct you to the Royal Palm Restaurant right off of north Krome Avenue. Any local who has lived in Homestead long enough, will go get breakfast at Royal Palm at least once a week. The spot may not look like much. The building is old and attached to an old fashioned drugstore that no one really understands why is still in business. However, the food is satisfying and memorable enough to keep locals going back for years even if they don’t live in the area anymore. The waiters and waitresses that host the small restaurant are the same ones that have done so for decades. If one visits the restaurant it is of vital importance to order “The Royal Breakfast”, a generous portion of pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage that never disappoints. Once you’re done with your meal, order a large iced sweet tea to-go; the recipe is homemade and known as something of a legend around Homestead. Similar to almost every place worth visiting in Homestead, once you go once you’ll always go back.

Location: 806 N Krome Ave, Homestead, FL 33030

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