Island-Grown Delicacies

Although I love the thought of eating food fresh from the garden, the fact is, some foods taste no better when you grow them yourself. For example, I’ve never thought a home-grown carrot tasted any better than store-bought. It makes it hard for me to want to spend the time involved in gardening, especially during Florida’s warmer months. However, there are some foods that grow here with almost no attention, and they taste far better than store bought. We acquired two such delicacies with our Anna Maria Island property when we bought it ten years ago.

When we met at the lawyer’s office to close on the purchase of our new home, I asked the previous owner if it were necessary to water anything in the yard. Completely new to Florida, I had absolutely no experience or knowledge of landscaping and gardening on Anna Maria Island. “If you want bananas, you’d better water those,” he said. That was all.

Anna Maria banana Since then, we have done very little watering, including of the bananas that grow along the property line. Every once in awhile, when it’s been extremely dry, we give them a little water. Every year or so, we give them a little fertilizer. When we cut off the old, tattered fronds, we leave them under the banana trees and they act as mulch, holding in whatever moisture may be in the soil.


Publix Serves Anna Maria Island

We moved to Anna Maria Island in 1999, soon after Publix opened a small grocery store on the island, just off of Manatee Avenue on East Bay Drive in Holmes Beach. In fact, as we arrived in town, after a three-day car trip to get here, we stopped at the island Publix to pick up a few essentials before walking into our new home and starting to unpack boxes. It was amazing that we ran into the only three people we already knew here, in the bakery section of the new store. It made us feel at home.Anna Maria Publix Supermarket

Since then, we have enjoyed having such a good market on the island. It is a lot smaller than the Publix, or Albertson’s, or Sweet Bay markets in Bradenton. But whoever does the buying and stocking of the Holmes Beach Publix does an amazing job. Rarely do we feel the need to go to a larger store to get something that’s not available in the island Publix. At the moment, the only such item I can think of is a particular boxed Chardonnay wine from Australia, which used to be carried on the island, but is no more.