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Randi Donahue

Content Creator. Brand Journalist. Feature Writer.

Location icon United States

The first book I wrote won me a Young Authors Award. It was titled "I Don't Want to be Kangaroo Anymore." I came up with the concept. Wrote the words. Heck, I even illustrated the dang book.
That was in 30 years ago... I am still working on my next one ;)
Somewhere in between I've managed to get a bachelors in business, a masters in journalism, find true love and create two amazing little humans. I'd like to think I have a decent amount of life experience, but the truth is, just like every other human on this planet, I am forever in "school" - learning and discovering as I go. Seeking knowledge to propel me forward; hoping to share that knowledge with others through words.
I've had jobs as banker, bartender, waitress and laborer at a construction company. I've written stories about the circus, businesses, environmental nonprofits, and small-scale farms. Each step along the way I've gleaned valuable knowledge allowing to me to tell someone else's story, introduce a new business or promote a fantastic brand through storytelling.



Your Observer
25 reasons to love Lakewood Ranch | East County | Your Observer

Lakewood Ranch turned 25 this year. Given its success and current growth forecast, we see no reason for it to have a quarter-life crisis. The 31,000-acre community, with roots in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, is considered the master-planned community to which all other master-planned communities are compared - ranked No.

Edible Sarasota
Fred & Grace Whitehouse

Phillippi Farmhouse Market Tents filled with seasonal and fresh produce; artisans showcasing their crafts; the smell of freshly fried doughnuts wafting while live music fills the air. These are the sights, smell and sounds of the Phillippi Farmhouse Market, which takes place every Wednesday, October through April, rain or shine.

Edible Sarasota
A Day at Dakin

Milkin'It The cows of Dakin Dairy Farm seem quite content. There is no prodding going on as the ladies stroll to their milking stations. As they exit, it seems as if they are chatting around the water cooler-er, water trough. Some chew their cud and observe farm tourists while others gladly accept a little pat on the head.

Edible Sarasota
The Solorzanos La Famiglia

From brick-oven pizzas to sonorous family banter, a dinner with Italian cuisine restaurateurs the Solorzano family is everything I imagined it to be. The moment I walk through the wrought iron gate into Franca and Carlos Solorzano's courtyard I am no longer in a deed-restricted Gulf Gate neighborhood.

Edible Sarasota
How The Circus Came To Town The Circus Arts Conservatory

After an accident left trapeze legend Pedro Reis grounded, he and aerialist Dolly Jacobs- now his wife-created a new circus act, "On the Wings of Love." Although his "second act" was successful, Reis found himself unfulfilled. "It really wasn't my passion," says Reis. "I'd always wanted to have a professional circus school."

Your Observer
Sail Future | Sarasota | Your Observer

When Sarasota native and New College of Florida senior Michael Long was a freshman, he traded his 2000 Jeep Cherokee for a 1976 30-foot Santana sailboat with orange sail covers. Thanks to childhood fishing trips with his father, Thomas, the economics and public policy major was "comfortable staying between the markers," he says.

Edible Sarasota
With Open Arms

The Campbells When Darrin and Emily Campbell built their dream home on five acres just east of I-75, they stayed close to their Christian faith and honored an intention to offer open arms to all who entered. "We value people and relationships above things," says Emily.

Edible Sarasota

Famous Italian chef Marcella Hazan's last teachings may very well be considered her most important. Thanks to husband, Victor Hazan, the culinary world has been granted one final window into the knowledge Marcella so loved to share through their latest collaboration, Ingredienti.

Edible Sarasota
Rosenda Calloway

Having a meal with Rosenda Calloway is akin to being a special guest on a Food Network show. She's confident and charismatic as she moves about her Palmer Ranch kitchen filling fresh wontons then frying them-teaching along the way. The youngest of four girls born to Filipino parents, Calloway admits she's never actually been to her parents' homeland.


Edible Sarasota
New Egg in Town Grove Ladder Farm

For Grove Ladder Farm owners Tim and Chelsea Clarkson, the desire to become farmers arose out of their community's need for ethically raised meat and eggs. The addition of 200 Ameraucana chicks to their 1,200-strong Red Sexlink layer flock last fall-well, that was purely for fun.

Edible Sarasota
On Behalf of Our Water

As the water gets clearer and marine life slowly recovers; as the sand returns to powdery white and fills once again with beachgoers, the red tide hangover looms-physically and economically-driving Sarasota residents to elevate efforts for the health and vitality of local waterways.

Edible Sarasota
Tomatoes 101

Just when northerners are savoring the last bites of their homegrown tomatoes, Floridians are giddy with anticipation for some tangy garden delights. Here's how to bring tasty tomatoes to your kitchen-if they make it that far! Research Growing tomatoes in the South Florida home garden requires some experimentation.

Edible Sarasota
Human Bee-Ing: Hands-on Pollinating Helps Garden Thrive

Wendy Bradshaw offers me a glass of cold lemonade as we sit at the dining room table in her beautiful lakeside home in Bent Tree. Surrounded by the lake to the south, the neighborhood's main street and golf course to the west, and a friendly neighbor to the east, the lot seemingly offers no space for a large, productive kitchen garden.

Edible Sarasota
Homegrown: Mote Marine Aquaponics

Kevan Main has recognized the potential for a seafood crisis in the U.S and is doing her best to alter that course. "It is really important that we start to produce some of the seafood that we are eating," says Main, PhD, a scientist with 30 years' experience in aquaculture, and director of the Mote Aquaculture Park located on 200 acres east of I-75 in Sarasota County.

Home Sweet Harvest
Loving the meat you eat + Q&A with farmer Michelle Wynne

This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission. As much as I talk-the-talk about my desire to be a self-sustaining homesteader, I haven't found the gumption to walk-the-walk when it comes to raising and slaughtering animals for meat.

Edible Sarasota
Ditchin' The Dirt: Hydroponic Oasis at Sweet Grass Farms

At the end of a dirt road, just north of University Parkway and east of Washington Boulevard, nestled between urban sprawl and dilapidated housing, lies an oasis where beautiful, vegetables, herbs, and seasonal fruits grow year-round. Owners Jim and Kathy Demler call their hydroponic oasis "the farm of the future."

Edible Sarasota
Season of Sunshine

There's a job for everyone on this small family farm "Do whatever work feeds your true self, even if it's not a safe bet, even if it's like a crazy risk, even if everyone in your life tells you you are wrong or bad or crazy." -Martha Beck

Edible Sarasota
Local Bounty

Fins At Sharky's Even as the designated successor to his father's restaurant empire, Justin Pachota has never agreed with the concept of entitlement. He was 15 when he first worked for family business and Venice mainstay Sharky's on the Pier.


Greening the Hub BY RANDI DONAHUE PHOTO BY MATT MCCOURTNEY {xtypo_dropcap}I{/xtypo_dropcap}n the kitchen, often the central-most room of a home, the balance of beauty, function, and eco-consciousness is becoming increasingly important to homeowners. A conscious kitchen considers these elements, but most importantly meets its users' lifestyle needs.

Edible Sarasota
Rethinking Plastics

Cat Dillard doesn't leave home without her cup, spork, a paper or glass straw, reusable napkin, and to-go container. Jana Hoefling conducts squeeze tests in stores to easily locate the glass containers. These are just two examples of how the co-founders of Rethinking Plastics Sarasota (RPS) are doing their part to reduce the use of single-use plastics-the plastic items you use once then throw away.

Edible Sarasota
Yard to Table: Planting for Fall

Given a choice between a store-bought tomato or one that is homegrown, there really is no comparison. Homegrown fruits and vegetables just taste better. If you have a hankering to test this statement, you are in luck.


Edible Sarasota
In Full Bloom Suncoast Florist

Back in the day, if you wanted meat, you went to your local butcher. If you wanted fish, your local seafood market was the only place to go. And those flowers for the dinner table? Of course! The local florist could help.

Your Observer
Out of the Woods | East County | Your Observer

Two days before Grove's opening, Executive Chef Greg Campbell realized there was custom art missing from the wall. "I set up a table in the middle of the dining room and got some wood glue," says Campbell, who had been saving wine corks over the years.

Edible Sarasota
Earth's Thunderstorm in a Bottle

Watt-Ahh These days the bottled water industry tends to make it a little bit easier to check "drink more water" off our health to-do lists. Options include water with added electrolytes and minerals; water infused with fruit juices; even water kicked with a bit of caffeine.

Edible Sarasota
Hummingbird Fine Foods

Sarasota native Vaughn Dorrian could never have imagined that after a career in fashion PR and becoming mom of three, she'd be making a name for herself in the gourmet condiment business. But merely two years after her foray into the industry, Hummingbird Fine Foods is quickly catapulting to success.

Edible Sarasota
Kurtos Chimney Cakes

Growing up in Hungary, Aniko Gulyas would happily indulge in kürtöskalács-cylindrical sweet pastries-whenever the fair would come to town. After having her twins seven years ago in Sarasota, she desired that same sweet culinary experience for her son and daughter. "We wanted them to have knowledge of our heritage," says Gulyas, owner of Kurtős Chimney Cakes.

Edible Sarasota
How Sweet It Is Sugar Belles at Brown's Grove

"We have a good feel for what the citrus consumer is looking for," says Tim Brown, third-generation citrus grower and owner. Beyond the obvious-good flavor-Brown says most customers trend toward convenience, which in the citrus world means easy-to- peel, seedless, and easy-to-section varieties.

Edible Sarasota
Just Ginger

Craig and Darcy Presnell's personal culinary experience took root. "We took a piece of ginger and planted it to see if it would grow and it did," says Darcy, co-owner of the farmers' market business Just Ginger. "When we harvested the root it was just so delicious, so fresh."

Edible Sarasota
Sowing the Seeds at Aloe Organics Farm

Alison Hall Nelson died March 7, 2012, before the first seeds of her legacy were sown. But the memory of the young woman-described as funny, feisty, and full of life-will live on for generations through the vegetables growing at Aloe Organics.

Edible Sarasota
Arrestingly Good Five-O Donut Company

At 15, Christine Nordstrom won a cookie-decorating contest, earning her enrollment in a selective culinary vocational program in Ohio. Competitive baking earned her a scholarship to Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. She's baked with famous chefs, owned her own bakeries, and helped newbie bakers start their businesses.

Edible Sarasota
Culinary Custard: S'macks Burgers & Shakes

When the summer heat has you reaching for something cold and creamy, consider a slightly more sophisticated frozen treat-say, uniquely flavored frozen custard from local burger joint S'macks. It all started at the "better burger joint" inception.

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