Thursday, September 26, 2013

VeganMoFo Day #26: Food For Thought - A Oasis for Vegans in Marathon!

There's a place in Marathon Florida called Food for Thought that really kicks ass and needs to be spoken about during VeganMoFo.

This is when you walk in, looking straight back to the juice bar.
How bright and happy this makes me feel!
This photo doesn't show them, but there are a couple of tables
to the left at the juice bar.
Before I lived here, I vacationed down here. For too long, Marathon had a void when it came to health food stores. I think Food for Thought was operating under that name, but I know it was a different owner. It was, back in those days, a dusty vitamin shop with books too. I must have come upon them at that time with the prior owner, when the passion was long gone, and the place was on it's last leg. There was no fresh food that I can recall, no juice bar, and I really only remember going in there only once, buying nothing, walking out and being really disappointed.

A few years ago, a visionary named Ellin bought Food for Thought. She scrubbed it up and scrubbed it down. Installed a juice bar. Painted it bright colors, installed new shelving. Stocked the place with good food, and made it her own. Food for Thought, under Ellin's guidance, is a force to be reckoned with. I cannot express how important this place is for the community.

Food for Thought is a small health food store with juice bar attached. Inside, there is a small section of local books, some mindful gifts, and REALLY funny cards. There's a couple of tables inside if you'd like to eat in, a few bar stools across the front window, and a table or 2 outside on the walkway. The store specializes in gluten free. Now, you know I'm not gluten free, but have moved more into that direction. More importantly, I have taken care of quite a few people through the years who ARE gluten free. Sometimes being gluten free can be challenging especially in small town areas like the Keys. FFT really steps up and provides quality gluten free products, and knowledge, in our region. If you know anything about Celiacs, you know this is not an illness where you can have "a little" gluten and be ok. It doesn't work that way. And, unfortunately, eating out with special considerations can be a land mine at every turn (as if being vegan isn't enough challenge when traveling, right?) Food for Thought specializes in helping the gluten free community with prepared food, as well as grocery items.

The juice bar leans heavily towards raw, but is not all raw. I've talked about being raw on this blog before. I do understand the benefits of eating all raw, or high raw. But, for me I'm not on that path and I don't usually seek out raw. Yet when I go to Food for Thought, I give no thought at all if a juice bar item is raw or not, and I mean this as a VERY good thing. The food is so good, it just doesn't matter to me if it's raw or not, because I know I will be really happy with anything I eat in there; I think their food is restaurant quality, and I mean it.

Being a small place the menu isn't huge, however there's a standard menu, as well as daily specials offered. They also offer smoothies made with nut milks, and have a lot of great "mix ins" to choose as well. And, of course there's what you'd expect as far as offering a wide array of fresh made to order juices, as any self-respecting juice bar should.
I spied a WTF Vegan Food shirt!

View when you walk in.
Sparkling clean, bright and airy.
Nice selection of good books, and some gifts.
Salt lamps! They even had one shaped like a TURTLE!!!!
Organic produce is offered for sale.
Vegan is heavily represented at Food for Thought.
Community bulletin board at the "fixins" bar.
Food For Thought sells glass straws.
Now, I wasn't a believer in the glass ones, until Ellin gave me a demo.
She took one out of the box, and dropped it on her tiled store floor.
It bounced. It did not break.
The manufacturer I think guarantees them forever.
Can you imagine opening a gift of 2 glass straws and a
gift certificate for Food for Thought?!!! How awesome would that be?!
I recommend the veggies too, thanks!
Great selection of non-dairy milks!
Hemp, oat, almond, rice, coconut, soy.
Vegan means delicious non-dairy sweets too!
More organic fresh produce, dried nuts and fruits too.
Tables up front to enjoy your food at.

I do manage to get to Food for Thought on a fairly regular basis. When I go in, I check out all the shelves to see what's new, and what they have that I cannot get other places. That's the best thing about being within striking distance of four health food stores.... they COMPLIMENT one another. They each have their own wonderful characteristics and offerings, as well as friendly, educated and caring people staffing them. I know when I have a special needs person coming in, without fail I will buzz on up to Food for Thought just to see if there's something new or special that they have which I can buy to make whoever is coming in something that maybe they don't normally get to enjoy. I work really hard to accommodate special needs, and the reason that I am able to do it so well is because of small specialized community stores like Food for Thought.

Sometime last week, both of us happy vegans had occasion to be in Marathon for an early morning appointment. We both knew that meant lunch at Food For Thought, and that was a relief. Before Ellin came in and worked her magic in that store, Marathon was a virtual desert when it came to vegan offerings. Now we can all can get absolutely delicious organic vegan food in Marathon, this is a GREAT pitstop before or after a visit to the Turtle Hospital.

Ok, seriously I should have ordered something fancier, but
I wanted this on our most recent visit. It's house made nut cream cheese
with organic tomato and avocado.
I don't even like avocado, so there's a testimonial for ya!
I've had countless wraps, pies, stews, soups and more
in here over the years.... and this is the picture I offer?
Yet, it was delicious.
I also had a black forest smoothie... cacao nibs, almond milk and black cherries, WOW!
Ellin has poured her heart and soul into Food for Thought and it shows. I am so happy this store is here for my own selfish reasons (NOM!) as well as serving our community overall, and the hungry traveler too. When passing through Marathon, stop in FFT. They're in the Village Plaza (gulf side). They've got the goods for us hungry vegans, trust me!

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