Posts in: Fresh Local Flavor

Foodie in the Family?

Posted in: Fresh Local Flavor , Healthy Eating // 0 Comments

If you are running out of ideas for gifts this Christmas and you have a foodie in your family, we have put together some gourmet food gifts to give you some ideas.

Honey for your Honey

Local farmers markets carry a diverse selection of food products made and produced by locals. Cross Creek Honey from Interlachen produces local raw honey and sells it at the Riverside Arts Market, Fernandina Beach Farmers Market, Grass Roots Natural Market and The Market on Granada Street. Local raw honey can help seasonal allergies, asthma and boost your immune system.

Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice: Spices, Sauces and Preserves

Other finds at local markets are jams, hot sauces, olives and pickled goods. Vendors like Evil Seed Sauces, Olive My Pickle, Jane’s Kountry Kitchen and many others can be found at weekly markets in Riverside, Fernandina and Neptune Beach. Spices can be a fantastic addition to a home chef’s tool chest. Specific spice blends work well with different meats and vegetables, so going to a store that knows all about different spices would be prudent. All Spiced Up in San Marco offers a wide selection of spice blends to suit any meal. For a wide selection of local vendors visit

Can’t go Wrong with Chocolate

Fantastic Fudge in Fernandina Beach offers some of the best local fudge for that perfect holiday treat. The smooth and creamy marble slab fudge has been a staple of Fernandina for the past 25 years. They offer a variety of styles for all types of taste buds.

Along the same lines, Peterbrooke Chocolatier offers a variety of chocolate gift baskets to satisfy the nutty, the creamy and the dark chocolate lovers. They have locations all around the First Coast, from St. Augustine to Fernandina with many in Jacksonville.

A Cup of Joe to Warm the Soul

Last, but not least, local coffee roasters who sell beans by the bag give the coffee connoisseur in your life an exotic way to start the morning. Bold Bean Coffee Roasters has two locations in Riverside and Jacksonville Beach, where they sell their freshly roasted beans.

Pura Bean Coffee Co. sells their locally roasted coffee at RAM every week and the City Café in San Marco.

Snacking your way into productivity

Posted in: Fitness, Fresh Local Flavor , Healthy Eating // 616 Comments

Smartbox Snacks

By: Brandon Stallings, CEO, SmartBox Company

We’ve all experienced that afternoon slump. When you’re hungry, your brain has a hard time staying focused. Sure, you can devour the closest thing edible, but that’s not always the best route to productivity.

Ingredients from the food we consume enter the brain through our blood stream. These elements will help you either focus or lose focus. Most of what we eat will be broken down into a single thing – glucose. What we consume controls how we release glucose to our blood and brain. Certain foods release glucose quickly, while others have a slow release. The brain works best with a small amount of glucose circulating in the blood steam.

Getting enough glucose into your body is fairly simple, but the decision becomes more important when an 8-hour workday comes into play. For example, after eating a donut, a person will experience about 20 minutes of alertness and then a rapid drop in glucose level leaving them unfocused and tired. It’s like putting your foot down on the gas pedal until you’ve used all your fuel. On the other hand, a whole foods bar releases sugar as glucose much slower allowing us to minimize swings in blood sugar. This means a person will have a steady glucose level, better focus and higher attention levels for longer.

Being at the mercy of your office vending machines, unless they have healthier choices like SmartBox, doesn’t make healthy snacking too easy. When hunger strikes, choose a snack that you can enjoy on the go, like a Justin’s All-Natural peanut butter packet with whole grain crackers or a Lara Bar, which has a combination of protein and fiber to fill you up.

By having brain-friendly snacks handy, you give yourself a chance of overriding that afternoon slump.

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