December 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to the December Edition of my "Real Estate Resource" Newsletter.

Please check out my website to view my listings, search for property, or to enjoy one of my archived newsletters.

Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Taterhill Gang BBQ Cook Off

February 16, 2019


All proceeds from the event will support the Arcadia Boys and Girls Club and be matched 1:1 through the Arcadia Community Matching Challenge thanks to the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation.

Veterans Park

BBQ Plates $7

Agriculture ... is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals & happiness.-Thomas Jefferson
Florida citrus is hitting all the marks to meet the forecasts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), which is run by the USDA, released its latest forecast on Tuesday. While Florida orange production is considerably higher than last year when it was devastated by Hurricane Irma, the forecast is lower than most of the production of the past two decades as Florida continues to struggle with citrus greening.  
“The United States all orange forecast for the 2018-2019 season is 5.53 million tons, unchanged from last month but up 41 percent from the 2017-2018 final utilization,” the USDA noted. “The Florida all orange forecast, at 77.0 million boxes (3.47 million tons), is unchanged from last month but up 71 percent from last season's final utilization. Early, midseason, and Navel varieties in Florida are forecast at 32.0 million boxes (1.44 million tons), unchanged from last month but up 69 percent from last season's final utilization. The Florida Valencia orange forecast, at 45.0 million boxes (2.03 million tons), is unchanged from last month but up 73 percent from last season's final utilization.
The Florida Department of Citrus sounded an optimistic note on Tuesday about the latest forecast 
“We are very pleased with a stable forecast at this time of year,” said Shannon Shepp, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus.
Source: SunshineNews
Fresh Farming
From pasture to plate, Southwest Florida Farms are producing clean meats
By Roger Williams Florida Weekly -Mr. Tom Scannel owns Pineshine Farms on Pine Island, a place he calls “the last, best bus stop,” just over 100 acres where he raises and finishes beef and chickens on unenhanced grass pasture for restaurants, clubs and health-conscious, flavor-inspired local and regional customers. He sells eggs and chickens with beef that’s “non-GMO, corn-free, soy-free, antibiotic and hormone free, (and) 100 percent grass-fed,” he notes in a statement that rings like a mantra.
Other family farmers producing clean meat in the region are doing the same thing: Three Suns Ranch in Charlotte County raises and sells bison, beef and wild hog from its sprawling pastures on about 5,700 acres, for example. And Circle C Farms, with a retail butcher shop in Bonita Springs and “the big farm” of about 135 acres in Felda, sells a variety of clean meats born, raised and finished on grass, but also slaughtered in the family’s abattoir (or slaughterhouse) — humanely — and inspected there by a USDA official.
Circle C is the only farm in Florida with a USDA inspector on site every day of the working week certifying both white and red meat — and one of just three farms to do so in the United States, says Nicole Cruz, co-owner with her husband, Manny Cruz, of Circle C.
Together, and with nine employees including some other family members, they raise beef, pork, lamb, chickens, turkeys, ducks and guineas all in pasture from the first to the last day of their lives. Along with everything else, they have about 75 cows and calves at any one time, relying on seasonal rotations of animals through the pasture so cows will eat one type of grass, sheep another and chickens and hogs yet another — each species living off the land but also fertilizing it and allowing it to restore itself.
How it works
“Circle C” is chockablock with meaning. “The Circle from Circle C Farm is the circle of life: From the pasture to the plate, that animal is part of that circle,” says Mrs. Cruz, whose last name supplies the C to go with Circle.
The farm offers not just its own meat but slaughtering, butchering and inspection services to other farmers by having the USDA inspector on site for both white and red meat. Thus, any meat freshly harvested at Circle C can be sold locally or anywhere in the United States, from on-line orders and via FedEx.
Mr. Scannell takes advantage of the abattoir and government certification at Circle C, along with more than 10 other farmers in the region and individuals who raise an animal or two for their own consumption.
“We feel they treat our animals the way we would,” he says: gently, in an environment that takes away stress before they’re killed.
“Cattle can take up to two years for some farmers to prepare, and you don’t want them all jacked up and stressed out when they get here,” Mrs. Cruz explains.
“If Tom brings in a cow or two or three, they get to stay out in the working pens for a day — or two or three, if they need that time. Only when the animal is relaxed do we harvest that animal. If they need the extra days, they get that.”
It’s the final touch on a meat-raising and harvesting process good for both the animal and for the human consumer. In the case of Circle C’s own meat, they usually harvest cows at about 14 to 15 months of age, weighing about 1,000 pounds, but dressing out and “hanging” at just under 500 pounds. With sheep, for example, they harvest animals at about the same age and about 100 pounds. Even the pasture-raised chickens take many months to reach harvesting weights.
By contrast, meat typically sold in supermarkets comes from animals that weigh significantly more and have put on the weight in feed lots much more quickly, explains Mr. Scannell.
“Being a farmer, I grew up with the spoon of Monsanto in my mouth,” he recalls, citing the corporate giant that produces many of the chemical-based products that maintain contemporary corporate farm operations.
“But I’ve turned 180 degrees away from that model: growth hormones, antibiotics, the whole works. It’s deadly for our environment and humanity.”
So, he, the Cruz family and others like them are practicing what they call “regenerative agriculture”: producing healthier food with a minimum impact on land and people.
“The cow or steer raised on grass initially in the industrial agricultural world and sent off to a feed lot, is fed cheap GMO grains, a steady flow of amoxicillin because it’s standing in six inches of fecal matter so it has a low-grade pneumonia, and it’s fed something that lets it gain weight immediately — corn, which turns to sugar the minute it enters the system.”
The costs
To get those cows to feed lots and to raise the corn or grains that fatten them — between five and eight pounds of grain is required to add a single extra pound of fat to a cow in a feed lot, agricultural experts say — can take on the order of 85 gallons of diesel fuel, Mr. Scannell explains.
“You have an animal that was formerly solar-powered — it converts the energy of the sun by eating grass and digesting it, passing the energy to us — and now it takes 85 gallons of diesel fuel between raised grains and the feed lot, to get it to us.
“So now we’ve turned this carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative creature into a petro-chemical product,” he says.
We don’t do ourselves any favors by paying less and eating more of that meat, the clean-meat farmers insist.
“As we already long-since knew, you are what you eat and the better-quality meats you eat, the healthier you feel,” Mrs. Cruz says. “This beef has a better, higher-quality fat, these are higher-quality meats, so when you consume them, it’s better for your body. They’re actually good for you.”
And now Mr. Scannell sees farming and food-raising not the way a corporate farm cotton grower or a commercial industry supplier of bougainvillea might see it, but the way Hippocrates saw it in the fourth century B.C.: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” he says, quoting the ancient Greek father of Western medicine.
Burned out by corporate farming and looking for a place perhaps less subject to hurricanes than Palm Beach County, he drove across State Road 80 into Lee County a few short years ago “and here was this island in the gulf, the biggest island in Florida, surrounded by all these developed islands, and it was Ag!” he says.
“How did that happen? They don’t make those kind of islands any more, and I still don’t understand how Pine Island missed all the development.”
Pineshine Farms was a citrus operation when he arrived, but after the first year the trees all got canker and the state removed them.
Only last year was he able to start selling his beef and become one of the increasing number of farmers “tearing apart agriculture and redefining it in an environmental, holistic, humane and healthy way,” he says.
Such an approach in the fields requires an entirely different economic approach, too.
“This requires the honest conversation about price,” says Mrs. Cruz. “We price our meats based on what it costs to remain sustainable. I can’t raise a chicken for 39 cents a pound (or 59 or 99 cents a pound).”
Prices, all listed on well-designed websites, vary from clean-meat producer to clean-meat producer and from meat to meat. But at Pineshine Farms, probably selling on the low-end, 90 percent lean ground beef is running $8.79 a pound, while sirloin steak is $11.79, bone-in ribeye is $17.49 and T-bone steaks, bone-in, are $17.79.
In roasts, bottom round is $9 a pound, brisket is $11, chuck steak is $6.99. Whole chickens are $7 per pound, and eggs run $5 per dozen.
That’s only a partial list of what’s available at Pineshine Farms, but it’s a complete idea all in a price list: Less is more, the farmers say. If you’re a standard supermarket meat shopper, eating a little less meat, even if you’re paying more, will give you a great deal more pleasure and health.
For him, farming is now about understanding the economics of a small-scale, says Mr. Scannell, who isn’t rolling in cash yet but hopes to make a decent living and leave a better, healthier environment.
“Commercial agriculture is all about economy of scale — you want to scale up and as a result your margins are leaner per unit of production. A cotton farmer pays $750,000 for a machine, so how’s he going to make that $40,000 payment?” he asks rhetorically.
Scale up. Grow more, sell more even if profit margins are smaller.
“This is 180 degrees different,” Mr. Scannell says of raising grass-fed beef on 100 acres. “There’s a lot of manual labor, and I’ve tried to take the capital intensity out of it so it’s doable for people, not just for wealthy landowners. There are less things to break and go wrong.”
And in the end — for him and for everybody else, he figures — “you don’t have to eat as much. But when you do eat meat, eat quality.”

Source: Florida Weekly
Bayside Little Gasparilla Island 3/2 Stilt Home
8538 Little Gasparilla Island Placida, FL 33946
By boat or water taxi, arrive at the 100'+ private, newly refinished dock that leads you straight to the front of the house on the oversized lot. The split stairwell welcomes you taking you to the second floor patio that is a perfect place to drink your morning coffee and watch the sunrise. As you enter the home, the spacious living area with a wood-beamed ceiling opens to the kitchen. The large kitchen with walk-in pantry and island are ideal for entertaining. The bedroom windows are adorned with plantation shutters. At the end of the hallway, the master bedroom is complete with its own bathroom. Below the home, features a large lower deck with an enclosed storage area. From there, it's just a short walk down the path to enjoy the amazing sunsets on the beach! There is plenty of the best Florida fishing right from your dock into Placida Harbor and onto the Gulf waters. Just minutes from the back waters of Bull Bay, Whidden creek, Turtle Bay and the world’s greatest Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande Pass.

MLS: C7408868
Total Sq Ft: 1,360
Listing price: $795,0000
16+ Gorgeous Acres
SW Cypress Bend Arcadia, FL 34269

16.84 +/- Gorgeous Acres situated adjacent to the Sunnybreeze Golf course in Desoto County. This parcel provides adequate privacy with ample space to build your dream home. This cleared parcel has convenient access to a newly upgraded public boat ramp with access onto the Peace River. Only minutes to Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and I75. Come bring your horses and build your dream home on this beautiful piece of land!

MLS: C7401036
Total Acres: 16.84
Listing price: $245,000
1,612 +/- Acre Ranch-Manatee County
26005 Harrison Rd. Myakka City, FL 34251
Located only 20 minutes from Sarasota and I-75 sits this spotless ranch property. With just over 1,600 acres, the beautiful “old Florida” landscape provides endless opportunities for the hunter, rancher, farmer or a recreational get away. It's one of a kind lodge boasts 5 bedrooms, a spacious living and dining area, and a beautifully updated kitchen. The entire property is abundant with deer, turkey, and other wildlife. Barns and guest houses round off this complete package. Call today to schedule a private showing! Click here for a Gallery of Images

MLS: C7405242
Total Acres: 1,612
Listing price: $8,463,000
PRIME Hwy 17 North and South Frontage
903 N Brevard Ave. Arcadia, FL 34266
Prime location ready for development!!! Over 1.5 acres of B-3 zoned property is situated between North and South Bound Highway 17. This property is Located across the street from DeSoto Memorial Hospital, medical offices, and professional buildings with over of 205 +/- ft. of Highway frontage on both sides of US 17. Close to Downtown Arcadia with traffic traveling through to Charlotte and Hardee Counties. City water/sewer and electric are already in place. Potential Uses Include: Restaurant, Service Station, Business Office, Financial Institutions and many more options!!

Total Acres: 1.52
Listing price: $650,000
9.95 Acres Zoned IL
SE Hwy 70 Arcadia, FL 34266

9.95 Acres zoned Industrial Light. An ideal location to start your light manufacturing or processing business. The IL zoning offers MANY other options as well. This property is located in business friendly Desoto County and has approx. 300 feet of Hwy 70 frontage. Located in growing business corridor with Walmart, Chili’s, Publix, Walgreens and DeSoto Automall close by.

MLS: C7400845
Total Acres: 9.95
Listing price: $250,000
PENDING! 191+/- Acre Recreational Hunting Tract
4022 Aurin Grade Arcadia, FL 34266
191 +/- Acres situated in the highly sought after Kings Hwy area in DeSoto County. Two parcels combine to form this ideal recreational property with a newly built 1 Bedroom/1 Bathroom Cabin and pole barn. The property is fenced, gated, and is encompassed by beautiful sloughs an old Florida Oak hammock’s. Saw Palmettos And Pine Trees finish off this beautiful Old Florida landscape.Deer & other wildlife are abundant and the solitude is serene. This property is the perfect spot for your weekend getaway. The entrance is right off Kings Highway (State Road 769) with convenient access to Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Interstate 75, or to the downtown Arcadia area.

MLS: C7404561 
Total Acres: 191
Listing price: $1,250,000
Self Storage Facility off Hwy 17
4232 Duncan Rd. Punta Gorda, FL 33982

About Walt Bethel
Walt Bethel is a fifth generation Floridian, born and raised in Arcadia, with a vast knowledge of all areas of Florida Real Estate and an ardent appreciation for Florida history.  
The purchase and development of his first orange grove when he was just sixteen years old fueled Walt's passion for real estate.  
Since then, he has bought, owned, and sold a wide variety of properties throughout a successful business career. His investments have included acreage, agricultural properties, residential homes, condos, and commercial properties. 
Walt's marketing and sales experience was cultivated over time at his family's business, Bethel Farms, where he marketed, managed, and sold products to "Big Box" retailers across the Southeastern and Midwestern United States.
From an early age, Walt's dad instilled in him the values to work hard and always have a goal, to look for a better way of doing things, and to constantly improve on them.  
The daily implementation of these principles, coupled with his enjoyment of networking with new people and his experience in business, sales, and marketing, have contributed to Walt's success as a Realtor.
 Walt has served on various boards and committees throughout the years. He has coached and actively supports local youth athletic programs and leagues. 
He and his wife Jill, also a fourth generation Floridian, reside in Punta Gorda. They have two children, a daughter Peyton and a son Truman.
Walt Bethel | RE/MAX Harbor Realty| 863.990.1748 ||