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Conversations with Adriene Casamayor

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adriene Casamayor.

Hi Adriene, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Candy Girls is a business born out of Christian fellowship right in my home in Key West, Florida. As the Youth Director at my church, I hold regular Saturday hangouts for our kids and teens. On Saturday, we decided to try our hands at making homemade candy – specifically, Glass Candy, once popular and sold in the Bahama Village Community of Key West. From those first batches of Glass Candy made in my home, I decided to continue experimenting with candy-making in the hopes of reviving a lost art in our community. I remember the delicious candy sold during my childhood and how amazing it was. We had to recreate it. After we made our first batch, all those same memories came flooding back to my church family and me once they tried it.

Our Old-Fashioned Pulled Peppermint and Old-Fashioned Fudge are two of our most popular products and intrinsically part of the Candy Girls History and Key West history. Back in the day, homemakers that made the Old-Fashioned Pulled Peppermint candy commonly fixed a stainless steel hook on their kitchen walls for candy-pulling. Initially intimidated by that as I was not putting any hooks in my walls! In our first try, we pulled our candy by hand; talk about hot! Since those early days of Old-Fashioned Pulled Peppermint, my husband, being the handyman that he is, has invented a device that we use to pull the candy. Now, we make all of our Old-Fashioned Peppermint using the “Gadget” and a time-tested recipe, and our customers love it!

Our Old-Fashioned Fudge made with the secret ingredients rediscovered from a recipe used by my Great-Grandmother Ma Vera. There are lots of great recipes out there for fudge, but none of it tastes like the fudge she made before she passed in 2004 at the age of 107, never leaving behind any clues as to how she made such wonderful candy. In our first batch of Old-Fashioned Fudge, we decided to see if we could discover her secret. We several batches, we had my cousin Pat (94 years young), and also a master candy maker, critiqued it, and after many tries, Pat confirmed that we had rediscovered something magical that was only ever-present in the original fudge made by Ma Vera. It works!

Many of the young ladies who first experimented with candy-making in my house makeup Candy Girls, and spend their time to learning the reclaimed art that has become central to our business. Candy Girls Key West established and continues to be a proud supporter of The Phyllis M. Allen Scholarship fund for youth at Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church, Key West. We invite you to experience a rediscovered bit of Key West’s history in every morsel.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It’s trial and error, getting the candy the way we remembered it from my childhood. All-in-all, the feedback has been good, little bumps along the way. It was really important to me that the legacy of homemade candy continue, so we just pushed on until we got it right.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m currently working full-time as a College Success Coach for the Monroe County School District with Take Stock in Children. We provide scholarship opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth who commit to coming to school, maintaining at least a 2.5 GPA, remaining crime and drug-free and meeting with an adult mentor from the community once each week. I love this program, as it gives me the opportunity to connect with students who would normally be ignored. I love working with young people, seeing and having them realize their potential. I also serve on the Board of Directors of our local Boys and Girls Club here in Key West. I sponsor our youth department at church and have a youth choir that performs around town. I’m known for having a bunch of children around me always! Whenever there is a program where children are needed, I get called. I’m also the mother of two amazing young men whom I’m especially proud of, Emanuel 34, is an attorney in North Carolina, and Daniel, 28, is the Activity Director for the Boys and Girls Club and he is also a very busy musician, he plays the drums. I have one granddaughter, Ilana, who is the “apple of my eye.” she is five months old.

I think what sets me apart from others is that I can connect with any child. I also realize that we all have bad days, so I don’t carry what happens today into tomorrow. I also let them know that I was once their age and did some stupid stuff as well. It helps to connect. I’m also proud that my students know that I’m always here for them, no matter what! I love living in Key West. It’s home!

How do you think about happiness?
Music, Food and Family. I love my youth choir and how we surprise each other with our talents. I’m happy when I’m with my family… family is so very important. I had the most amazing grandmothers. I have an amazing mother! My sister and two brothers, we love each other. I have two aunts who are like sisters. My mother is one of the best cooks on the island!! And my children are my world, I simply love them to no end and just hearing from them brings me so much joy. In fact, everyday my son calls on our Portal for me to see Ilana, and it makes my day!

I’m from a very large family here on the island, Allens, Butlers, and Carey’s. Everywhere I go, I see family. We have large Hatian populations and my Hatian students are always amazed at who I’m related to. My husband is the best, he supports me in everything I touch!!!

Pricing:

  • $10.00 Fudge, Plain, Walnuts, Pecans
  • $10.00 Fudge, Rocky Road w/ nuts and marshmallows
  • $10.00 Glass Candy
  • $10.00 Pulled Candy

Contact Info:


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