Coconuts are a huge staple in Florida. Coconut palms are planted throughout the state, dotted across the landscape in some of the most varied neighborhoods. The fruit is also widely used for its juice and meat, which have significant health benefits.
Asra Bey has been selling coconuts on Florida beaches in the Tampa Bay area for three years.
“It started with just hitting the beach with the coconuts,” Bey told Atlanta Black Star recently. “Then when the pandemic hit, my business grew. Now I serve coconuts to people on the beach and I’m contracted with a few restaurants.”
Bey said it’s his mission to bring this healthier alternatives to everyone he meets.
“Throughout the Caribbean, South America, Asia, you’ll experience people serving you on the beach. Bringing local agriculture to the tourist,” Bey said.
He now follows in those footsteps. Bey drives three hours each way to buy his coconuts from migrant farmers in South Florida. He then hauls around 100 coconuts a day through the sand to serve up fresh drinks to tourists on Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach, not far from his home in St. Petersburg.
“I love it, making people’s day and also giving them a healthy alternative.”
Bey claims that fresh green coconuts promote bone health and boost metabolism and in addition to being rich in iron and copper, they help the body produce red blood cells.
“Coconut water is the highest in electrolytes and potassium, by far,” said Bey. “The reason I want to spread awareness about fresh Florida coconuts, as opposed to the ones you get in the can at the store. They’re pasteurized; meaning they cook all the nutrients out of the coconut water. You have all the nutrients intact when you drink this one.”
Bey says he walks at least 5 miles a day along beaches selling coconuts. He is not afraid of hard work, which is why he also provides sugar cane juice to his community. This item is also high in nutrients.
“It’s not processed,” he explained. “It’s the best way to indulge on natural sugars.”
“Sugar cane is rich in antioxidants,” Bey said. “This could therefore help boost your immune systems and fight infections.”
“It’s fresh-pressed,” said Bey. “I add lime, pineapple, oranges or whatever people like upon request.”
Bey’s business, Caribbean Quenched, has made it a mission to provide healthier drink alternatives to the Tampa Bay area.