Rainbow Star Farm
The Great Recession affected us all in different ways, and you would be surprised how many folks at the farmers market began whole new lives as a result of the economic downturn. Bob Achey of Rainbow Star Farm has one of those stories.
“I didn’t think I would be farming, not in a million years,” Bob said. He worked for 10 years in the restaurant business, then another 15 years in the nursery industry. When the housing market crashed, the nursery business took a huge hit because there were no new houses needing landscaping. Bob was introduced to the owner of Rainbow Star Farm, Paul Miller, through his former nursery job. “I’m usually out with vegetables,” Bob said. “But I get most excited when citrus comes into season. I love to juice things, red grapefruit especially.”
Bob is the farm manager, and works with three other people working to cultivate 3.5 acres just behind Butler Plaza. Despite the development on Archer Road, Rainbow Star has been growing food there for 35 years. The farm’s main business is grafted UF-patented fruit trees. They ship persimmons, apples, peaches, and pears all over the country.
Bob rents a place out at Rainbow Star, and it's changed his life. “I have a better outlook on life,” Bob said. And on top of that, he’s got one of the shortest commutes in Gainesville. “I walk out the door and I’m at my job,” Bob said.