In 1960, Arthur and Henrietta Bedner established their farm in Palm Beach County after moving from Pennsylvania a few years earlier. Their three sons, Charles, Bruce and Steve, and their extended families, including Steve’s wife, Marie, carry on that tradition of farming today. Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market remains family owned and operated, growing cucumbers and peppers that are distributed along the East Coast as well as other farm-fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables sold at the family’s markets in Boynton Beach and Delray Beach. They also host field trips and have seasonal pick-your-own opportunities for peppers, peas, strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes and sunflowers.
In Marie Bedner’s Words
“Farming is a tough job to begin with. You have to have a love for it. You wear many different hats so you have to be good at multiple layers of jobs while you are trying to produce a crop.
As farmers, we’re very careful about what we do. Our practices are sustainable. Our philosophy as farmers is to take care of the land and the land will take care of us. And we’ve really tried to stick to that. It’s just been very positive.
When my husband and I are walking the farm and looking at the actual plants, we enjoy seeing the insects that are working. We know they’re doing their job and we know we’re doing our job as well.
Here at Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market we have 80 acres and we grow a wide variety of products.
We have U-pick strawberries, tomatoes and peppers, and also sunflowers. We also have corn, beans, carrots, tomatoes, everything, you name it. We pick it fresh daily and bring it up to our retail store.
Whether it’s our market or some other market, as a farmer it’s exciting for me to see the families come in, purchasing the tomatoes and the peppers. It’s a sense of accomplishment for us that we’re able to do that, to take it from the small plant to their table.
My husband, Steve, is fourth-generation farmer, and we now have our nephew, Jesse, and then he now has a son, so we’re on the sixth generation of future farmers in Florida. We see the next generation come on board and help out on the farm and enjoy it as much as we do. If you don’t love what you do, then you really aren’t going to get much out of it.”
Marie’s Strawberry-Picking Tips
“Strawberries are a very tender fruit. Handle them gently at all times. Pick only the berries that are fully red. Unripe berries will not ripen once picked.
Grasp the stem just above the berry between the forefinger and thumbnail and pull with a slight twisting motion. With the stem broken about one-half inch from the berry, allow it to roll into your hand. Repeat using both hands until each holds up to four berries. Carefully place the fruit into your containers.”