Meal Kits to Grocery Delivery: How to Eat the Best Local Food at Home
Hawai‘i’s dining in scene.
We’re hoping to see you out sometime in May. But weeks of quarantine cuisine have renewed our love for local businesses that deliver great Hawai‘i produce, meat and even locally prepared meals right to our doors.
Meal Kits & Meal Delivery
For when you want to fire up your own stove and pretend you’re a Food Network host, these kits arrive with premeasured raw ingredients. You’ll still need to do some sous chef work, slicing and chopping vegetables and aromatics, so make sure you account for prep time when you’re putting it all together.
Meat Your Makers
Grass-finished beef, wild boar and venison: Order local meats online from these three Hawai‘i producers and hunters.
Kualoa Ranch, its 4,000 acres often the backdrop for Hollywood movies, is now coming to the forefront for its livestock.
Forage Hawai‘i has the largest selection of local meats on O‘ahu—on any given farmers market day, Jessica Rohr might have Kahua Ranch lamb, Maui Nui Venison, Big Island mac nut-fed wild boar, Mā‘ili Moa chicken from Wai‘anae and beef from North Shore Livestock. Rohr, a fisherwoman, hunter and cook—she prepared food on a charter fishing boat for seven years—initially started Forage as a food truck. Through it, she connected with more meat suppliers and realized she wanted to get more local meats to home chefs. “I started finding whatever I could get my hands on,” she says, and became a vendor at farmers markets. She recently added some prepared foods such as a bone broth chili and chicken, beef or wild boar bone broth. “I like that bone broth goes back to our roots, when we ate nose to tail,” Rohr says. “Modern nutrition has gotten away from that. … I want to offer something that’s hard to find—food that’s done properly and is nourishing.”
Maui Nui Venison
“There’s no other resource we can call on to produce quicker”: Maui Nui Venison harvests an invasive species for the community.
Local Producers to Watch
Big Island Coffee Roasters
In the decade since Kelleigh Stewart and Brandon von Damitz started Big Island Coffee Roasters, they’ve expanded the notion of Hawai‘i coffee far beyond Kona. Experimenting with coffee of different varieties, regions and processing, they have offered subscribers to their monthly coffee club everything from giant Ka‘ū Maragogype beans to tiny Maui Mokka peaberries to barrel-aged Puna coffee.
Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Cooperative
The seed of this co-op began in 2015 with a single ‘ulu farm in what was once Kona’s breadfruit belt. Today, the co-op encompasses about 80 member farms. Shop online to buy the peeled, steamed and frozen chunks in bulk, or find smaller packs at Down to Earth. In 2019, the co-op processed more than 90,000 pounds of ‘ulu for restaurants and public schools across the state. It’s proof that “it makes sense to work together, instead of in isolation,” says Dana Shapiro, manager of the Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Cooperative.
The Green Witch Apothecary
Sisters Caroline Gipple and Karen Ellwanger wanted to take healing into their own hands after both encountered serious health issues. Now they sell organic natural remedies and shrubs, aka drinking vinegars. A tablespoon of the Holy Bunches of Berries shrub, with raw apple cider vinegar, pineapple, raspberry and holy basil, mixed with sparkling water, makes a refreshing alternative to booze.
Mānoa Honey Co.
Yuki Uzuhashi, once an art student who followed honey nomads in Japan, first arrived in Hawai‘i as a crewmember in the Transpacific Yacht Race. In 2014, he took over Mānoa Honey Co. from Michael Kliks and now manages hives in 15 locations around O‘ahu. Honey, Uzuhashi says, is a manifestation of the contract between bees and flowers. “And then we extract that in its purest form.”
Community-supported agriculture boxes directly support Island farms—and in Hawai‘i, fisheries. Unlike grocery shopping, however, you won’t be able to select exactly what you’re craving at the moment; what’s offered is driven by what’s available. But it means you’ll always be eating and getting creative with what’s fresh and ripe right now. Which is best for you? It depends on what you’re looking for.
A Companion in the Time of Coronavirus: My Pantry
A well-stocked pantry gives me a sense of comfort and control, however elusive and illusory that may be. But I’ve also discovered that while shelf-stable foods are, of course, key, so are joy and comfort to stave off boredom, anxiety and loneliness at a time when physical touch (who knew, as the daughter of Chinese immigrants and an awkward aloha kisser, that I would miss touch so much?!) and social gatherings are best avoided. In addition to these pantry staples, I supplement with fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers and meats from local ranchers and hunters to keep in figurative touch with community and humanity, even if sometimes it feels out of reach (or more than 6 feet away). Here’s my pantry list (not including basics such as salt, shoyu, vinegar, onions, garlic and, um, Chinese chile oil), sorted by emotion, though there’s lots of overlap.