I make lists to help me make decisions. Plain and simple I write "yes" and "no" on a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and get to it. When I agreed to move here, one of the reasons in the "yes" column was this island had a health food store. Most places I've ever lived have had a health food store within reasonable driving distance. The exception was when I lived down the shore, one was sort of close, but it was really inconvenient to get to. Being that we had vacationed here so often, I was comfortable with the store on the island, and knew what to expect for the most part if I moved here. I knew that I needed a health food store not just for my personal reasons, but because I was going to be running a vegan bed and breakfast; I needed to establish a working relationship with a good natural food retailer in order for my own business to thrive.
Good Food Conspiracy is owned and operated by the Rev. Marney Brown. The store has been right where it is for just about 33 years. That is several lifetimes in Keys-speak. The Good Food Conspiracy isn't just a health food store; Marney is also a highly educated healer who has a holistic health center behind the store. For people like me, Good Food is the epicenter of social activity in the lower Keys.
Good Food is an "old style" health food store, meaning basically whatever "it" is that you need, they will have "it." It's not a very big store, but every nook and cranny is crammed with product. Half the store is groceries, about a quarter of the store is vitamins, supplements and herbs (the herbs available are VAST. There's shelves and shelves of them, and then a shelf that goes around near the ceiling almost the whole store with even MORE herbs), and the other quarter I'd say breaks down into odds and ends like bulk items, gift items that come and go mostly made by locals or artists passing through, and other miscellaneous items. Smack dab in the middle of the store is the juice bar. Every day there are between 2-4 scratch made soups available for sale (always offering vegan choices, some days everything is vegan!), toasted wraps with many vegan options, smoothies, juices, fruit freezes (oh heck yes!), salads, and more. There's a few bar stools on each side of the juice bar counters, one medium size table with a few chairs around it inside the store, and out back there is a garden with a few picnic and patio tables.
|This is the view when you walk in, the path leads straight to the juice bar.|
|Organic fruits and veggies are available, as are local grown items.|
The local stuff is really what I get jazzed about...
it's all seasonal locally, so that part is catch as catch can.
On high season I am in Good Food every day, 7 days a week (sometimes twice a day if my time management fails). This time of year typically I get in there about 3 times a week. In fact I have just now returned from a bit of shopping, and eating, at the store.
|Bulk items ready and waiting.|
|If I get lazy and fail to make my own seitan, they've got me covered.|
That chicken style seitan is really good for the "unchicken" and clouds
recipe I put up on my Facebook page a while ago.
|Vegan sugar fix coconut style, soy style or rice style!|
MMMMM, get some!
It's a bit difficult for me to actually give an overview of everything this store offers, there's so much. There's the holistic health center, the juice bar and the grocery store. There's also weekly community health services available, other health providers who come in from time to time to do screenings and such, there's at least two Intuitive Arts Fairs offered annually, there's occasionally parties in the garden sometimes with live music, there's been memorials held there, and how can I forget to mention the "free box." On top of all this, Rev. Marney travels off site and performs weddings, commitment ceremonies, and pretty much any other ceremony you'd need an Officiant for. I will never forget the first time Marney came to my place for a wedding. She pulled up with a gong, blessing bells, singing bowls, crystals, sage and some other really cool stuff. She lead one of the best ceremonies I've ever attended. I absolutely adore Marney. She's been around the world, and seen a lot. Whenever I see her, I always think how beautiful she is inside and out. Marney has a heart of gold and would give anyone the clothes off her back if they needed them.
|I have not acquired a taste for Kombucha but lots of other people sure have.|
Good Food has a pretty big selection of flavors, there's more in stock than shown here.
|Parties spring up from time to time at Good Food.|
The arts community down here is so incredibly talented.
So many really great musicians, we are so lucky!
|Where there's great musicians, great dancers will follow!|
This was, by the way, a Christmas party.
This is DEFINATELY my idea of a Christmas party!
(PS: that's Cindy on the left, Bonnie in center, and Marney on the right)
I could never imagine living on Big Pine without the Good Food Conspiracy, and I'm not just saying that. Not only does the store provide an essential service for this community, but the fact that they've been doing this for well over 30 years says a lot about their integrity, and speaks obvious volumes to their commitment to our Keys community.
|Vegan spreads and such are nicely represented.|
|These cold cases have so much stuff lurking inside,|
unless you've seen it with your own eyes, you're hard pressed to believe it!
|This is was my view as I sat and ate my vegan vegetable soup over|
organic brown rice. I added nooch to mine.... they have lots of
condiments available at the juice bar so you can fix your stuff to your liking
(hot sauce anyone?!!!)
|This is Katy.|
She is beautiful inside and out.
She makes a killer smoothie, trust me!
If you're feeling ick on any given day, let her make you a juice....
she knows how to fix whatever ails you, she's not just beautiful
she's SMART too!
We love you Katy!
|In season this case is chock full of|
artisan vegan baked goods, including soy free and gluten free.
Even off season there's a decent selection available on any given day.
|Artisan and house made specialties like salsa, Asian noodles, kimchee,|
hummus, papaya salad, and more. All vegan.
|I would tend to agree.|
|The garden can be quiet or it can be rocking.|
Either way, it's a little oasis on the highway for sure.
Marney, Bonnie, Katy, Cindy, Kathy, Beca are there to serve you (and me!) with a smile. Thank you so much for the good food, good vibes, and the rest of the good stuff. You're one in a million!