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TASTE OF IMMOKALEE: Students learn business skills and share the rich taste of their hometown

Taste of Immokalee
Posted at 7:25 AM, Nov 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-29 07:25:55-05

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — In 2014, students from Immokalee High School wanted a way to showcase the agricultural richness of their community. They started Taste of Immokalee which sells farm-fresh products including salsa and sauces from their hometown. The founders used family recipes for the products, still used today. The profit then goes back into Immokalee and their non-profit.

“Immokalee is an undeserved area and a lot of resources that I see are given to students like in Naples aren’t given to students in Immokalee,” Executive Directors Marie Capita said.

Nine years later, Taste of Immokalee remains a successful, local business representing the agricultural region of Southwest Florida. On Saturday, Taste of Immokalee had a pop-up shop at the Naples Williams Sonoma. Students put their skills to use talking with customers and selling their product. They hope to sell 3,000 holiday bundles this holiday season.

The business gives students from Immokalee the opportunity to participate in their nonprofit youth entrepreneurship program, Taste the Impact. In the program, students get real-world experience working for a business. The program focuses on teaching leadership skills, soft skills and technical skills.

Priscila Massiate is sixteen-years-old and works for Taste of Immokalee. She said, “Business a lot of people think is just about money. It depends on how you run things and what you’re selling. For us, we’re not just selling the product we are selling the story.”

Capita said, “I think this is a pride for Immokalee students for the whole Immokalee community.”

“Representing Immokalee it gives us a warm heart, and it makes us humble for that because it’s opening more doors for other people that don’t know about the program,” Massiate added.

The students in the program sell the Taste of Immokalee products alongside mentors and business professionals. They work with all aspects of the business from content creation, packing, marketing and service.

Customers can purchase Taste of Immokalee products online or in a local Southwest Florida Publix. Throughout this month, they’ll have pop-up shops in Collier County to reach their holiday sales goal.