The Santa Rosa County Farm Family of the Year 2021 was awarded to the Wendt Family Farm and Nursery, which has three generations of hard workers and three decades of experience.
The Farm Family 2021 includes Earl and Janet Wendt, parents of William Wendt and Vickie Shiver. William Wendt is married to Joy and has five children and four grandchildren. The Wendts are joined by other family members who also work on their farm, Wayland Nowling and Angela Nowling. The family enjoys participating in the Farm to City program, which provides products to families on Thanksgiving.
A Santa Rosa County landmark, Wendt Farm and Nursery has grown healthy and delicious vegetables for 35 years. It was once on the Chumuckla Highway before the farm sprawl caused the family to relocate it 15 miles north to rural Santa Rosa County. On the farm, three generations of the Wendt family work side by side to produce some of the best locally grown sweet corn, peas, butter beans, tomatoes, melons and watermelons and other fresh produce to wholesale and retail customers in the region.
Wendt’s commitment to offering the best local produce, coupled with a desire to better serve its customers, led to the construction and opening of a seasonal market on the original farm site at 5191 Chumuckla Highway in Pace.
Growing 50 acres of vegetables in the Florida Panhandle is not for the faint of heart, and the Wendt family has demonstrated their commitment to providing nutritious vegetables regardless of weather conditions.
In addition to the vegetables that are grown on the farm, the Wendt family also runs a two-hectare greenhouse nursery, where they have been supplying the area with seasonal color for over three decades. Wendt Farm and Nursery is known for growing poinsettias, Easter lilies, fall garden mothers, and spring bloomers, but few likely know that they also wholesale commercial vegetable transplants that are supplied to commercial vegetable farms across the area.
The latest endeavor in gardening is hydroponic lettuce production, which produces the freshest leafy vegetables available in local retail markets.