Every visitor to Hawaii knows the Hawaiian word “Aloha,” which is used in both greetings and farewells and to express love. Less well known is the term “Aloha ʻĀina,” which literally means “love of the land.” According to Wikipedia, “The concept is felt by many people in Hawai’i as a locus of ecological and cultural understanding.”
Guests to the Big Island can see the concept of Aloha ʻĀina put into practice at the Puako General Store, whose owners believe in doing their part for the land, the local economy and consumers’ health by selling the finest vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices and even cheeses produced by Big Island farmers. And it’s not just a philosophy: Given the high cost of importing goods from the mainland, it’s not surprising that the so-called “locavore” movement is as strong in Hawaii as it is anywhere in the world. It simply makes economic sense for Hawaiians and their guests to consume affordable food that’s produced locally.
Puako General Store customers, for example, will discover high-quality cheeses produced by Hawaii Island Goat Dairy, a goat milk farm located near the town of Hanoka’a, about 2,000 vertical feet up Mauna Kea, the highest peak in the islands. Established in 2001 on 10 acres of a retired macadamia nut tree orchard, Hawaii Island Goat Dairy produces a variety of tasty goat cheeses, including their most popular, Big Island Goat Cheese (Chévre).
The store also stocks produce sustainably grown by organic farms dotting the island. Among the farms and their products is Robb Farms in Kamuela. With over 30 years of experience farming in Hawaii, the owner, Chris Robb produces high-quality organic produce such as lettuce, beets, broccoli, leeks, fennel, onions, and eggplant. Big Island Produce, a hydroponic farm in Kamuela, grows non-GMO cucumbers, melons, and other vegetables. Love of Life Farm in Kapaau is a top producer of turmeric, a well-known spice that is used for its culinary enhancement to ethnic dishes as well as its medicinal benefits. In addition, we also carry spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, corn, tomatoes, arugula, chard, basil, and cilantro from Kohala Organic Produce in Hawi.
When visiting our island, you won’t have to venture far to find local businesses working together to support each other and provide high-quality products.