What started as a church activity in 2019, the Candy Girls has expanded from being a Saturday hobby to a growing business. One Saturday, a group of girls led by Adriene Lynne from the Christian Fellowship of Key West decided to try to recreate the candies from Lynne’s childhood. Some recipes have been rediscovered and are now sold all over the island.
Yahaira Williams, a senior at Key West High School (KWHS), is one of the original and senior members of the group. “Candy Girls doesn’t feel like a job you have to do, it’s fun and we have a good time,” Williams explained. Out of all of their flavors, her favorite is the Watermelon Glass Candy.
“We started off pulling 300-degree candy by hand and we eventually evolved a hook,” said Dazmine Jenkins, a sophomore at KWHS and one of the Candy Girls employees, as she described the candy-making process, “We start off deciding what we are going to make, first by adding all of the ingredients to a pot and mixing them until they are together.” As another original member, Dazmine also in Take Stock, similarly to the rest of the group. “I like the togetherness that I feel around them and how it is like my second family. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime being in candy girls.”
Valerie Thene, a junior at KWHS and one of the original members of the business, listed the array of options they have available, including fudge, glass candy, and pulled candy. “Glass is the much more simpler one while the fridge and pulled candy come in a tie for the most technique needed,” Thene disclosed, “When pulling candy you’re trying to take the oxygen out in a way that the candy is still soft enough to cut so its between the taffy feeling and rock solid candy.”
Rosa Nafrere, another senior at KWHS, has been a part of the Candy Girls for many years and is proud of where they are now. “The message of the Candy girls resides with empowering while also bringing back old Key West traditions,” she stated. Rosa’s favorite flavor is strawberry and she has enjoyed making candy with her friends over the years. After a lot of hard work and sugar sold, the overall goal of this group has been to distribute scholarships to high school seniors. As proud supporters of the Phyllis M. Allen Scholarship fund for youth at Trinity Wesleyan Methodist Church, their profits will help the future generations of Key West achieve their goals. For more information on the history of the Candy Girls and to check what they are selling, click on their website here.