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The search for good food in Fort Myers Florida

By • Oct 6th, 2011 • Category: Our Vegetarian Travels Print Print

One of the biggest challenges for me  when vacationing in Florida has been finding something good and by “good” I mean fresh and healthy, to eat. Sounds crazy in a place where there’s some sort of food establishment about every fifty feet doesn’t it? I’m not kidding.  Fort Myers has an unbelievable amount of fast food or chain dining establishments only outdone by the hundreds of shopping outlet malls.  This trip after arriving in Fort Myers I’ll be moving on to Sanibel Island for a week of biking , bird watching and hopefully warm weather.  I’ve managed to solve the majority of my food problems by renting a place that has a full kitchen so I’m not totally dependent on local restaurant fare however that said the other thing that perplexes me is how difficult it is to find locally grown fruits, and vegetables in supermarkets. This really is more of an observation than a complaint. There isn’t a Florida orange or tomato to be found in local markets. Only certain outlets have them available. I guess coming from Maine where there’s definitely a farm food culture and where locally grown organic produce is widely available, I took it for granted that a state with a temperate climate like Florida, a climate perfect for growing food and farming would offer better choices. Not so. Clearly the emphasis here is on volume, on cheap over processed unhealthy imported food and lots of it. Any advice from seasoned (preferably vegetarian!) Florida travelers would be greatly appreciated. In the event I find something of interest I’ll be sure to share it with you….

is Toni Fiore was raised by an Italian-American father and a German mother who instilled in her a sociable nature and the love of travel and of good food. She has lived in Italy and Germany and now resides in southern Maine. She is the author of: Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian
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We are new vegans and about to head back to one of our favorite vacation destinations -- Anna Maria, Fl (the tip of Anna Maria Island, which is in between Sarasota and St. Pete). We always rent a house, so I'll have a kitchen, but I really don't want to spend my vacations cooking three meals a day. And the nearest Whole Foods (or Whole Foods-like) market is in Sarasota...about 30 minutes away. So far, we know there's a local taco place that offers tempeh and organic veggies. But where are the juice bars? (in a place like Florida, with easy access to so many fruits...why are there so few juice bars?).  Where are the vegan restaurants?

We live in Northeast Ohio and are lucky enough to have several shopping options -- The Mustard Seed (grocery, great to-go, bakery and terrific cafe, too), EarthFare, Whole Foods and more. And we have a bevy of vegan or very vegan friendly restaurants, from Brandt Evans' Pure Vida to Jonathan Sawyer's NoodleCat downtown Cleveland to scores of ethnic options. We have become a foodie haven...even for in the heart of the rust belt. So what gives, Florida??


And I would like to add, almost no vegetarian establishment in Tampa...


I have the same feeling! There were some vegetarian restaurants in Miami as it is a big city, BUT VERY FEW! And very far apart! Did you find any farmer's market anywhere?

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