Sunday, March 1, 2009

My Gluten-Free Florida Review...part 1 - Shopping in the Villages

This year, for our Mid-Winter Vacation, we decided to visit my parents in Florida. They retired this past year to a 55+ community in central Florida called The Villages.
The best way to describe where my parents live is a Disneyland for adults, well adults over 55. It's a cluster of inter-connected neighborhoods (each called a village - all with catchy names) with 24 Executive Golf Courses and 9 Championship Country Club Golf Courses with 27 holes each. My parents happen to live on the Kenya Course of:

Mind you, the Villages also have a plethora of pools - Country Club, Sport, Recreation, and Family Pools. Plus, lots of rec centers, two bowling alleys, and courts - tennis, pickleball, bocce, and shuffleboard - as far as the eye can see. Also, they have happy hour in every restaurant (including ones that do not serve alcohol) daily for three or more hours.

Since, this is a huge community, I didn't think I'd have any problems driving in and getting food. The night we drove in, we wanted to stop at the store to pick up some gluten-free beer and snacks just to have at my parents' home. As we were driving in, my parents told us about a new supermarket. They were told it was just like Whole Foods - called Fresh Market.

Let me tell you. It wasn't at all like Whole Foods. I think 7-11 had more of a selection of gf goodies then Fresh Market. One or two gluten-free mixes. No gluten-free snacks. Not even any Nut-Thins or Glutino Pretzels! But, there was nice looking produce and a popular cheese/butcher area. I ended up finding a six pack of Redbridge and some candy that Ant likes. So we drove a little farther down the road and came upon Our family is a huge fan of Publix. Excellent selection. Great Prices. And the bagger will bring out your groceries - which can be uncomfortable when you are at a Publix in a 55+ community and he's older than your dad and insists on bringing your bags to your car, where your dad is sitting. I digress.
At Publix, I was able to pick up some Nut-Thins, Glutino Pretzels, some awesome Publix Brand bubble bath for the wee one. Plus, I spied copies of Living Without at the check out. While I was ringing up, my cashier told me that they are getting more and more gluten-free products and they are going to start to carry some GF baked goods. Also, my parents picked up a guide to gf shopping at Publix, too!
One day, when we were out and about, I ended up getting glutened (future blog post) while in one of The Villages' squares - Lake Sumter Landing. I had Ant drive me to the nearest grocery store to get my savior, Immodium (remember only Multi-Symptom Chewable and A-D Caplets are GF). We ended up at:
I like Sweetbay. Clean, great produce and I can reach the top shelf without standing on my tip toes. I picked up the Immodium and some Ginger Ale. Since I was a "man on a mission", I wasn't able to peruse the GF section. At the check out, I was able to send fresh baked cookies to our troops.
One night, Ant and I were driving around, slightly annoyed that everything closes early outside of New York. We ended up at a Walmart.

If there was a Walmart fan club we'd be a part of it. Walmart had everything we were looking for - allergy meds for the wee one, socks for Ant, a dvd of Toy Story, some new mixes from Gluten-Free Pantry, Redbridge, and Pamela's Cookies. I also think part of our Walmart love is the fact we don't live near one. Walmart isn't found in New York City in any of the boroughs...*sigh*

What's coming up next in my Florida Round Up? Eating in The Villages.

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Absolutely Not Martha said...

thanks, kerrie, for telling me your gf faves! btw, if you don't mind adding the 's' to 'abolutely' on your blogroll--THANKS SO MUCH:)

glutenfreesoxfan said...

Love Publix! They have an online list of all their store brand products that are gluten free. It includes their blue cheese crumbles, which makes me very happy!


Simply...Gluten-free said...

LOL! we have lots of golf courses and old folks in Florida. You are only about an hour and half from me! My son says that nothing in Florida ever changes except the sign in fromt of Walgreens. Hope you enjoy the rest of your stay!