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Jan 20, 2010 09:35 AM

food purveyors on Captiva Island

I'm a personal chef and I'll be traveling to Captiva to cook for a client in the end of February -- any recommendations for good sources for fresh fish and/or gourmet/luxury/high-end ingredients? I could have ingredients flown in, but would rather source them locally, if possible. Thanks so much for your help!

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  1. only two grocery stores on Sanibel and really nothing on Captiva. Fresh seafood is available over on San Carlos island where there are any number or seafood cos. You will primarily find gulf seafood: black grouper, shrimp, dozers (little lobster tails), stone crabs, clams, pompano, etc. Some fishing has been closed because of the cold snap that brought on huge fish kills. For instance, you probably would love to cook snook, a game fish that is available from fishermen but the season is closed til further notice.

    Usually this is the time for great Florida produce: tomatoes, corn, strawberries. There is a hydroponic farm in :Lee County. Her produce is impeccable but I don't know about what damage she has suffered. She could supply you. It is quite a trek. Look at:

    There is a ranch next to her selling grass fed beef but I don't know if they age it.

    If this is too much running around I'd just go to the Sandy Butler. Not truly gourmet, if you are used to shopping in a big metropolitan area, but the best we have to offer.

    good bread at

    I am not a professional cook but I imagine the woman at Rabbit Run can give you some good sources and Ivan, The Insatiable Appetite, will probably help you too. He might respond later today.

    Also look at: There maybe some help there.

    Are you in one of the Captiva road mansions or on the South Seas plantation resort. Over the past 15 years I designed about 15 homes on that tiny island. It is a lovely paradise.

    3 Replies
    1. re: LilMsFoodie

      LilMsFoodie covered my favorite Sanibel's Lee County sources quite well.
      If those spots don't work, Naples is an hour south. Call Jim at Bert's Seafood, 213-111, as his seafood is sourced from a local Naples vendor that the top restaurants use for the freshness. Othe Naples spots include Capt Kirks for super fresh local fish, Swan River (superb crab cakes) , and Capt Jerry's. Jimmy P's has game birds, kobe-like Wagyu beef, and good pork.

      I attend parts of the Naples Winter Wine Festival, and most of the chefs will be flying in their unique ingredients.

      My trees took a big hit from the few days of cold, and inland local produce were thus hit harder. I tend to buy produce at local farmers markets, -that can be now hit or miss for the next few weeks.

      Try contacting other local private chefs in the area-there's quite a few in Port Royal and Bay Colony, who may help with sourcing for you.

      1. re: An Insatiable Appetite

        Thanks so much for all of these ideas! I'll have a car, so I can venture somewhat far afield to find things. @LilMsFoodie, I will be cooking at one of the private homes that I think is on Captiva Road, tho' I don't the address at my fingertips at the moment. That's terrific that you designed so many of the homes down there -- I've been told it's an absolutely gorgeous spot. Thanks again, all!

      2. re: LilMsFoodie

        That Rabbit Run Farm sounds really interesting. I will have to check it out. Thanks LMF.