Florida Keys Weekly

Buying Club has been a lifesaver for many families throughout the
Florida Keys. With as much as three hours driving time purchase
organic produce directly from mainland farmers and higher costs to
ship locally-grown foods south, Key Largo resident Annie Malka
created a local buying club to combat those challenges.


Green, owner of Cristiano’s Catering in Marathon, said it is often a
challenge to feed her family of five all organic foods.


“Shopping is hard, and we try to keep at least the 10 organic
essentials – spinach, apples, potatoes, milk, poultry and coffee –
in the house at all times,” Green explained. “The selection here is
very limited and what is available is much more expensive.”


Malka and her husband Jack previously owned Delicious Organics in
Miami before they relocated to the Upper Keys last year. Frustrated
by the lack of organic food options in her local grocer, she
launched a buying club. The club operates similarly to a CSA or
Community Supported Agriculture program that buys produce fresh from
the farm and through the organization and cooperation of its
members, distributes fresh fruits and vegetables in a no-frills
manner each week.


Annie’s Buying Club, participants pay for a week’s share of seasonal
fruits and vegetables grown in and around Homestead. A full share,
which includes enough produce for a family of four, is $45, and half
shares are $35.


Kyle decided to go organic after her bioidenticals test revealed an
imbalanced level of hormones. Her friend and advisor, Dr. Rebecca
Spacke of The Total Wellness Center in Marathon, suggested changing
her diet to include organic produce, and Kyle said the decision to
join the buying club has been one of the best ones yet.


produce may be a couple dollars more, but in the long run, they
taste better and I feel better, too,” she explained.


convenience of picking up her weekly delivery of produce has also
been a huge benefit for this Big Pine resident.


Participating in the buying club has also broadened her culinary
horizons. With advice from the recipes that accompany her shipment
each week, she’s slicing and dicing exotic vegetables like Chinese
eggplant and one particularly peculiar gourd.


“If I’d
seen it in the grocery store, I’d have had no idea what it was and
probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought,” she laughed. “But
it turned out to be so sweet and delicious!”


typical Mixed Produce Box may include broccoli, leafy greens,
romaine, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, sweet
potatoes, apples, tangelos, kiwi, lemons, berries and bananas. Other
box options include a Florida CSA Box with only Florida-grown
produce; A Juicer’s Box; an All Veggie Box; a Baby Food for Mamas to
Make Box; and an add-on Fruit Share.


Organics also coordinates a CSA through their Bee Heaven Farm that
runs from November to April. Though they do not offer CSA shares in
the summertime, they sell – by prepaid order only – whatever may be
available such as fruit, eggs, honey, herbs and tilapia.


more information about local CSAs and buying clubs, check out


Brief Comparison…

face="Times New Roman">Organic Greens priced at $3.29 for around five

face="Times New Roman">Fresh Express Field Greens at $3.89 for eight ounces

face="Times New Roman">(Package indicates no use of preservatives)

face="Times New Roman">Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Spinach at $4.29 for
five ounces

face="Times New Roman">Publix® Brand Spinach at $2.94 for nine ounces

face="Times New Roman">Organic Valley Family of Farms half gallon of 1%
milk specially priced at 2/$7 (regularly priced $4.25

face="Times New Roman">(Expiration Aug. 7)

face="Times New Roman">Half gallon Publix® Brand 1% $2.19

face="Times New Roman">(Expiration July 17)

face="Times New Roman">Publix GreenWise ® Whole Chicken $2.39/lb.

face="Times New Roman">Publix ® Young Whole Chicken $1.59/lb.

face="Times New Roman">Winn Dixie ® Brand Organic 1% half gallon at $3.99

face="Times New Roman">(Expiration Aug. 11)

face="Times New Roman">Winn Dixie ® Brand 1% half gallon at $2.39

face="Times New Roman">(Expiration July 3)


GreenWise ® meats are raised without antibiotics and have no added
hormones, artificial ingredients or preservatives


Weekly Newspapers
discovered Murray’s Chicken at Publix in
Marathon. Murray’s family farmed, naturally raised poultry is
Certified Humane Raised & Handled. Raised without the use of
antibiotics, growth drugs or hormones, Murray’s Chickens have plenty
of room to stretch their wings and access to fresh air and sunlight.
This eco-minded company also features minimum-impact packaging in
the form of a sturdy, freezer-safe sleeve. No non-recyclable foam
trays here! At Winn Dixie, shoppers can find 100% Natural Sanderson
Farms Chicken which have no artificial ingredients, additives or
preservatives and are minimally processed.



Kathy Delashmutt, Brenda Duff and the newest owner of Food for
Thought in Marathon, Ellin Meade, enjoy the weekly delivery of fresh
organic produce like leeks, bananas, watermelon, Brown Beech
mushrooms and lettuce from Annie’s Buying Club.Kathy Delashmutt, Brenda Duff and the newest owner of Food for<br />
Thought in Marathon, Ellin Meade, enjoy the weekly delivery of fresh<br />
organic produce like leeks, bananas, watermelon, Brown Beech<br />
mushrooms and lettuce from Annie’s Buying Club.


from signing the papers in her attorney’s office Tuesday afternoon,
Meade was over the moon about her new business venture. As a
certified herbalist and raw food chef, Meade hopes to expand the
store’s offerings to include a greater variety of healthy,
hard-to-find foods as well as a café that will serve juices,
smoothies, soups and sandwiches.



Of the
two chain groceries in the Middle Keys, Publix has a significantly
larger organic produce section..Publix<br />
GreenWise ® meats are raised without antibiotics and have no added<br />
hormones, artificial ingredients or preservatives.


Winn Dixie

choices for organic foods in the Keys are severely limited and most
often more expensive, corporate grocers like Winn Dixie are
responding to the consumers’ growing demands for organic milk, meats
and produce.Though<br />
choices for organic foods in the Keys are severely limited and most<br />
often more expensive, corporate grocers like Winn Dixie are<br />
responding to the consumers’ growing demands for organic milk, meats<br />
and produce.

♦ End

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Blair Shiver

Weekly Newspapers staff writer Blair Shiver has had a hard time finding any fellow Bulldogs down here in Gator Country. This Georgia native moved to Marathon nearly four years ago from New York City. She specializes in reporting and covering human-interest stories throughout the Keys. Blair currently serves on the board of Independence Cay, is a Take Stock in Children mentor, Marathon Jaycee and volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem.

One thought on “Organic Shopping in The Florida Keys

  1. There is another option that you may want to consider! Organic Grown Direct will ship you a veggie box every week to the keys. I receive my delivery here in Boca Raton every week and I love it.

    Recently, I informed Jessica at Organic Grown Direct that I would be staying at our Key West home for a week and could they forward my organic produce delivery to the keys overnight…She immediately agreed!

    The produce arrived in perfect condition. In fact, the freezerpak was still frozen when it arrived. Here’s their website (if you want to check it out): OrganicGrownDirect.com