Well that took a little longer than planned. The "that" to which I refer is this post. Sorry. Its been busy here. I went to Key West I think 5 times in one week, which is insane to me. But, it was business, and as much as I always consolidate as many chores as possible into each trek down, things kept coming up which required more trips there. In addition, I've still got the baking thing going on, and a few other things.
When last we met, I mentioned I would be posting about Help Yourself in Key West and a little community support gathering we recently attended. So, here's what this is all about, and then some photos for you.
Help Yourself is a small organic restaurant on Fleming Street in Key West. They opened shortly after we arrived here at Deer Run as proud owners, and then began our conversation to a green lodge. We were thrilled about Help Yourself from the beginning because of their commitment from the outset to organic food. And, of course, they have many vegan offerings, which obviously makes us here go wa-hoo!
Help Yourself is a pretty small restaurant, you order inside, and then there's picnic tables outside where you can eat, or you can take away your food. Next to the restaurant was a laundromat, so if it was wash day for you, then you could go get your awesome food and enjoy it while you watched your delicates spin in the wash. Hooray when we heard the laundromat was leaving (too bad for your delicates I guess) and that Help Yourself was taking over the space and expanding with an organic market and juice bar/cafe'. This was huge news to us, and many others. Our community is under served when it comes to fresh and healthy food. We've got Good Food Conspiracy on Big Pine Key, Food for Thought in Marathon, Sugar Apple in Key West, and Help Yourself in Key West. Those are essentially the only places offering organics on a regular basis, with an eye towards health and wellness. I think the Winn Dixie on Big Pine Key is trying to poison us, never in my life have I ever seen so many freezer cases full of processed food. Its so unfortunate. I think places like that Winn Dixie prey on us folks who have so few choices to shop. When you're trying to feed a family, sometimes people are just at the mercy of retailers like Winn Dixie who don't care about us, instead they provide food which has barely any nutrition in it at all. Its full of salt, fats, synthetics and chemicals. The other places, like Help Yourself, Good Food, et al, really are not like that. Sure, money matters to all of us, the bottom line must be watched. But these smaller places that I speak of are entrenched in our community and CARE about us. They care about our health, our wellness, and work very hard to source and provide nutritious food that tastes good. Plus, they know the names of their customers, they become genuinely concerned about us, and we all work together in this community networking, helping, pitching in when needed.
So, Help Yourself announced their expansion, and the community rallied. People began to help with the expansion in many ways, including donations of time and money. Our community needs this market, our community wants this market, and people rallied to help.
Help Yourself planned an event for the end of January, initially hoping it would be a celebration of the grand opening. But, as with most things in the Keys, its taking just a bit longer than hoped, so the celebration went forward as a way to showcase that which has been completed already, and simply a way to spend a nice evening socializing. Ah.... sounds perfect!
So we went. And, here are the pictures:
|The lovely Audrey, bartender extraordinarre'! Not only does she pour a fantastic glass of organic red, but she makes a phenomenal vegan caramel almost too good to be true!|
|Doggies love Help Yourself too!|
|Old friends reacquaint...|
|Mingling at the soon-to-be-juice bar.|
|Ah, the lovely Charlie Wilson. Visionary indeed. She owns Help Yourself. We love you Charlie!|
|Preferred Key West mode of transportation!|
|Even the coconut man was there! He has the BEST coconut water! He whacks open the coconut right in front of you, and presto... coconut water. Sooooo good.|
|Smiling flowers at Help Yourself.|
|Help Yourself helps the littlest ones too! This little guy was getting up close and personal with the evening's entertainment.|