Florida Keys Business
Sunday, July 7, 2013
Organic food truck offers smoothies

KEY LARGO -- A Key Largo woman is offering an array of fresh smoothies and coffees at her newly-opened food truck next to Island Dolphin Care near Lake Largo.

After spending her life in 32 different cities, Laurie Cretsinger has picked Key Largo as the stopping point for her latest venture, "The Mindful Mermaid."

In addition to her smoothie, coffee and tea menu, Cretsinger sells grass-fed beef hamburgers, salads and other organic-style fast food.

"They are really, really good," she said of the $10.95 burgers, which are served with slaw and sweet potato or potato salad.

Her business is built around her company's slogan, "Where nutritious meets delicious."

In the Upper Keys, grass-fed burgers are not easy to find, so she said her unique menu offering will separate her from the rest.

Brittany Porter, Cretsinger's niece who traveled from Pennsylvania to help out the new venture, has been dubbed the "Smoothie Queen" by her aunt.

The soft-spoken Porter can whip up a fresh fruit concoction in mere minutes. The 16-ounce offerings include, among others, the Tummy Tamer, a mix of papaya, peaches, flax seed, ginger yogurt and mint, and Immune Defender, which includes mango, cantaloupe, pineapple and almonds.

"She's a great artist and a great addition," her aunt said.

Deena Hoagland, executive director of the nonprofit Island Dolphin Care, loves the location of food truck, which sits in her parking lot at 150 Lorelane Place. Hoagland said it gives her disabled clients and their families a place to grab a healthy bite after dolphin therapy. Hoagland's son, Joe, said the truck has become popular with employees and interns.

As for a customer base, Cretsinger says she is still assembling a group of regular customers ranging from fitness gurus to Average Joes.

"We get a lot of mom-and-daughter groups," Cretsinger said, noting most stop by after yoga workouts.

The $6.75 smoothies range from early morning pick-me-ups to post-workout cool downs.

"Local trainers recommend their students to stop by afterward," she said.

Another health-conscience business owner, Matt Boatman of Key Largo's Eco-Eats, says many locals are seeking a healthy alternative to the standard fare.

With the summer slow season here, Boatman warns the food truck may struggle some, but with smaller operating costs than a restaurant it might be able to fill more of a niche, he said.

"If we had to rely on just healthy food, then we wouldn't make it," he said.

For more information on The Mindful Mermaid food truck, visit www.themindfulmermaid.com or call (305) 896-3059. Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

jgore@keysnews.com

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