The farm began its life in 1992 on the heels of Hurricane Andrew's taking the property--and everyone else's in Dade County--down several notches. In the midst of that uncertainty, after spending much of their lives on Long Island, Sal Santelli and his wife Theresa Correra made Homestead their permanent home. A man to whom retirement is a four-letter word, Sal, a carpenter by trade, soon turned his hand to farming. Sal's family was not even a generation removed from farming olives in Italy. It felt natural to him to continue the family legacy--with a twist--in South Florida, growing--as the immigrant populations did in Miami--mamey rather than olive.
What began as a modest five acre grove of segregated mamey and longan--the longan providing diversity at a time when such fruit was not yet ubiquitous in the Redland--expanded in the latter half of the last decade to include the neighboring avocado groves of another farmer whose land Sal had managed organically for many years. The year 2006 saw the entire farm adopt the guidelines of the US Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program, and the farm was officially certified in 2009. That year, five acres of the old avocado grove were turned over to diverse plantings of sapodilla, caimito, jakfruit, and other crops. As Laurel Wilt disease continues to pressure the farm to adapt to a changing avocado climate in Florida, the farm is innovating to stay ahead of the curve and diversify its crops still further. Plantings are expanding in the direction of turmerics, and ultra-tropical species such as guanabana and rollinia are beginning to stake their claim to different corners of the property. Health & Happiness Farms looks forward to continuing to carry the mantle that Sal's family has carried for so many years!