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COOKS AT HOME: Lizzie Vann Thrasher


Lizzie Vann Thrasher
Photo by Myunionhouse|Salvatore & Jennifer Brancifort

Lizzie Vann Thrasher

{xtypo_dropcap}L{/xtypo_dropcap}izzie and Mike Thrasher have a lengthy history of health stewardship in the UK. Whether they were founding organic baby food company Organix in their kitchen and taking it to the big time, working alongside celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to revamp Britain’s school lunch program, or campaigning against pesticides and food additives, they have been longtime nutritional pioneers.

Now they have brought this sensibility to Anna Maria with the Village Café at Rosedale, the flagship business in the Anna Maria Island Historic Green Village. The café is the crown jewel of this innovative retail complex that marries historical preservation and cuttingedge green technology. It is housed in a restored family dwelling from the 1930s, and is already a local hot spot thanks to its tasty, freshly prepared foods and innovative décor. Mike and Lizzie have further added to the nostalgic value of the site by relocating two other derelict historic buildings from elsewhere on the island. These three buildings, along with a fourth adjacent building, are not only being preserved, but updated with an incredible cross-section of green initiatives.

The Thrashers have always had high expectations for the Green Village; each building has been designed to meet the standards for Platinum LEED certification, the highest level of certification from the US Green Building Council. They have also aimed to create the first Zero Net Energy retail campus in the US, and have achieved that thus far with the Village Café and neighboring vintage store Really Relish, the first two businesses to launch.

A combination of technologies has been used to achieve these lofty goals. These include soy-based insulation to the maximum level; a ground source heat pump that uses two 450-foot deep wells to tap into an underground aquifer and utilizes water to cool the buildings more efficiently; a solar collector to heat the water used in the café; photovoltaic panels to generate energy; and vast underground cisterns that harvest rainwater to irrigate the Florida-friendly landscaping and assist in the plumbing.

While the Thrashers will be renting out the other spaces, it was important to them to retain ownership and management of the café, as it will be the main hub to educate visitors on the technologies used throughout the site. This also ensures the café sells food that meets their high nutritional standards.

The Village Café offers a variety of fresh and tasty breakfast and lunch items, including sandwiches, salads, and baked goods either prepared on-site or provided by local, independent food artisans. Come by in the morning for a luscious cherry Danish accompanied by locally roasted coffee that is custom-blended for the café, or swing by at lunchtime to sample one of several vegetarian-friendly options, including soup or quiche (flavors change daily). You can also enjoy one of the signature menu items, like a Sears Sandwich, or the Rosedale Salad.

—Kate Wight



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