Posted on April 12, 2019
(This article originally published in Florida Weekly, April 11, 2019)
Taste of Immokalee, a social business created and operated by high school students, recently announced that its line of salsa and sauces has been selected for inclusion in the Publix Florida Local Program. Initially available in a handful of Collier County stores, Taste of Immokalee expanded into 15 Lee County stores in 2018. By the end of May 2019, Taste of Immokalee products will be available on the “Buy Local” shelves in approximately 200 stores throughout Florida.
“We are so grateful to Publix for their support of our mission, and willingness to give our student-run business the chance to prove successful when we started in 2014,” said Marie Capita, executive director of Taste of Immokalee. “We are also grateful for our partnership with Lipman Farms, which enables us to use their fresh, locally-sourced tomatoes in all of our products.”
Taste of Immokalee products are unique not only because teen entrepreneurs are behind the business, but also because the profits are used to support youth programs and alleviate poverty in Immokalee.
“Immokalee is one of the poorest communities in Florida; it is also home to many of our students,” said Ms. Capita. “Their passion for Taste of Immokalee is driven equally by their desire to learn the skills needed to succeed in business, and to make an impact and break the cycle of poverty that is rampant in their hometown.”
Taste of Immokalee’s line of fresh, flavorful products that give back include:
Fire Roasted Tomato & Jalapeno Salsa
Pineapple & Mango Salsa
Chipotle BBQ Sauce
Mandarin Tangerine BBQ Sauce
Habanero Hot Sauce
Serrano Hot Sauce
While the products reflect a heartwarming story, one might wonder how they taste. At a recent event in Miami, then-Dolphins player Ja’Wuan James shared in an interview with WSVN FOX Miami, “The flavors are amazing.” Look for Taste of Immokalee labels (designed by one of the student entrepreneurs) on the Buy Local display at local Publix stores.
Taste of Immokalee is a benefit corporation founded in 2014 by Immokalee based One by One Leadership Foundation. What began as a seed of an idea by a group of local high school students has grown into a social enterprise that creates and sells specialty food products representing the unique blend of Immokalee’s culture and rich agriculture. Taste of Immokalee is committed to providing students with hands-on experience in all aspects of business, with a focus on giving back. Profits are returned to the community of Immokalee to benefit youth programs and alleviate hunger and poverty. Learn more at www.TasteofImmokalee.com. ¦
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