Key West Florida, in addition to being famous as the Southernmost speck of land in the continental United States, is an Island of wonderful taste traditions. Most notable is the Key Lime Pie, a delicious but surprisingly simple dessert to make.
No one knows for certain how and when Key Lime Pie began, except that it was around at the time of the early settlers in the Keys. One speculation is that a locally made home-style custard pie became a favorite when made with the new pre-sweetened condensed milk. This canned milk product had become popular in the southernmost city because of its’ long shelf life and no need for refrigeration.
Limes were abundant in the Keys at that time and once the lime juice was added to the egg yolks and milk, the mixture would begin to thicken or ‘set’. “Conchs”, Key West locals, say that the true Key Lime Pie is not baked, as they say “the lime does the cookin” of the ingredients.
The first tourists to reach Key West arrived on an island-hopping railroad in 1912 and no doubt carried home a box or two of famous Cuban-style cigars, hand-rolled by the craftsman whose cottages lined Duval Street; perhaps also taking home a basket of fresh Key Limes.
Tobacco for cigars had not been available since Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba and Key Limes for commercial use have not been grown in the Keys for many years.
Now, serious devotees to the sensational flavor of Key Lime no longer have to contemplate an Island trip to savour that authentic taste. Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice now enables Key Lime addicts to have their pie and eat it too…anywhere!
It was in the year 1904 that Henry Morrison Flagler, financier, began his most monumental engineering project. The Florida East Coast Extension would connect the island of Key West to Florida’s mainland.
Tom, Nellie’s Grandfather, expressed skepticism for Flagler’s folly to build such an outrageous project “just to make Flagler richer”. Others noted the value of such an accomplishment to the Island. Tom was prophetic about the numerous problems which plagued this undertaking. Storms, labor unrest, injuries and fatalities were some of the setbacks to overcome before the railways completion.
On ‘Celebration Day’, January 22, 1912, the first train arrived in Key West. It carried an impressive group of dignitaries, including the men who helped to make this dream come true. The triumphant benefactor Henry M. Flagler, arrived in his private railway car “Rambler”, to celebrate the success of a feat considered the “Eight Wonder of the World”. An elaborate reception ended with a ball in Flagler’s honor and Nellie was proud to be among the children selected to present a bouquet of flowers to this great visionary.
The great hurricane of Labor Day 1935, blew the train out to sea, ending the era of train travel in the Florida Keys.
The Monroe County Toll Bridge Commission built the Overseas Highway over the railroad track beds. The railroad tracks were used as bridge railings. Originally toll stations helped to finance the new highway, which opened in 1938 and once more, linked the Islands to the Mainland.
Key West Florida, has known both tremendous hardships and spectacular successes. Its’ people are warm, hospitable and laid-back in the traditional manner of Island living. Long a haven for artists of all kinds, scholars, statesmen, treasure hunters and sun-worshippers, the Island boasts magical romance.
Key West is indeed Paradise. The little 2 mile by 4 mile island is a destination for travelers from all around the globe. The combination of glorious weather year ‘round, emerald seas and sensuous breezes, pull visitors back year after year. Ask many of the people you meet in Key West and they’ll tell you, “I came here for a holiday and never left”.
Nellie & Joe’s Famous Key West Lime Juice has long been considered the consummate lime juice of choice for discerning chefs who rely on quality, consistency and convenience. Now this premier product has been infused with even more appeal when paired with the exotic and tantalizing flavor of Mango. Introducing a spectacular taste sensation that gives the traditional Key Lime Pie a new twist, Nellie & Joe’s Key West Mango Key Lime is also the perfect ingredient to create uniquely tropical tasting beverages.
Nellie & Joe’s Key West Style Traditional and Nellie & Joe’s Key West Style Cuban Marinades reflect unique taste sensations unlike anything else presently in the market; the perfect companions to our long time favorites, Mojo Criollo and Old Sour.
In addition to an exciting explosion of tastes, these marinades represent authentic Island recipes that traditionally combine citrus with herbs and spices. Both marinades are 100% natural without any artificial colors, binders or preservatives. They are cholesterol free and carry the Kosher seal of certification.
Nellie & Joe’s Key West Style Traditional Marinade features Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lemon Juice as a base with a subtle blend of honey, herbs and spices, for a smooth sweet/sour flavor.
Nellie & Joe’s Key West Style Cuban Marinade combines Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lime Juice with sour orange, herbs, spices and the tantalizing heat of habanero peppers.
Nellie & Joe’s originated as the southernmost bottling company in the United States.
Founded in 1968 as a family owned business and the source of the “original” Key West Lime Juice we’ve expanded our product line to include Nellie & Joe’s Key West Lemon Juice, Mango Key Lime Juice and Key West Style Marinades.
We invite you to share the Key West Tradition by enjoying our products, trying our recipes and taking a “Taste of the Keys” home to your table.
The business has grown a great deal since the company was founded by Nellie & Joe Fernandez who began bottling lime juice in their Key West kitchen and selling it in long-necked beer bottles.
As the years go by and the business evolves, we continue to be family owned and operated.
Due to a broader range of products we have outgrown the original Key West facility and Nellie & Joe’s is now head-quartered in Pompano Beach Florida with an additional bottling facility in California.
Today, Nellie & Joe’s is a nationally recognized brand, shipping product throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Knowledgeable consumers including America’s best chefs and bakers have learned to trust the outstanding qualities of our juices and consider them essential ingredients in any kitchen.
While many well-known chefs may claim that they only use freshly squeezed lime and lemons, we know that they are actually using Nellie & Joe’s. Our juices are known to perform more consistently than fresh fruit as acidity and pulp levels are controlled during production; critical factors in providing high quality results every time.
A lot has changed since 1968. The Key Lime Pie, once a purely local Florida Keys specialty, is now the Florida “State Pie” and a favorite dessert not only in this country but all around the world.
For over 45 years, Nellie & Joe’s has continued to make America’s best and favorite lime juice. Available all over North America, Nellie & Joe’s not only embodies the traditional Island spirit of Key West, but also provides consumers and professional chefs alike, the chance to take “A Taste of the Keys” to their table, not matter where they live, no matter what the season.