The Florida Agricultural Museum is located 17 miles south of St. Augustine, Florida in Palm Coast. Guided farm tours are available Wednesday through Sunday. The tour attractions include a fully stored pioneer homestead from the 1890s, a dry goods store from the turn-of-the-century, a dairy barn, and restored buildings from a 1930s citrus business. To make the transport comfortable, visitors can ride on tractor-pulled trailers to each exhibit. It is a bit bumpy, but is nicely shaded from the harsh sun. http://myagmuseum.com/
Our first stop was at a homestead from the 1890s which would have been used by the Florida Crackers. This shelter is one of the typical homes that would have been built by Florida and Georgia settlers. The wide porch and slanted roof provided protection from the sun and kept the house cool since there was no air conditioners in those days.
The kitchen was a separate room from the house. This kept excess heat out of the living area and was an extra precaution in case a fire started.
Pumpkins, corn, and other food crops were grown right outside the house in the garden. The picture to the right show the chicken coop that would have been used at the time. Muscadine grape vine are grown up the wire to keep the coop cooler. The vines benefit from the chicken droppings and the chickens are rewarded with fallen grapes. Cracker cattle & horses, donkeys, and mules are also raised on the farm. The museum raises the rare Cracker cattle and horses to conserve the heritage of these livestock breeds.
Sugar Cane Production
Sugar cane was a major crop of Cracker farmers.
It was mashed in this grinder above to begin the
syrup extraction process.
To collect the syrup, it was heated above a fire in a large round basin. A compartment on the side held fire wood to start the fire. Sugar cane was a treat for the settlers to use in candy and as a condiment. It took 7 to 10 gallons of raw cane juice boiled down to get 1 gallon of thick syrup.
The 1890s general store is a peek into the past for those who rely on modern grocery stores for merchandise. The general store had everything from an antique cash register to the old fashioned checkers game. Antiques lined the wall and on the counter were old catalogs that would have been used for ordering items back in the day. We can be thankful that all we have to do is drive to the nearest Wal-mart and almost everything is before us including several brands to choose from!
Elizabeth’s Traveling Tips: To see more attractions and activities, visit during a festival.