Healthy in Hilo

Fresh and Local Foods on the Island of Hawaii

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One of the major benefits of living on the island of Hawaii is the availability of locally grown fruits and vegetables, fresh caught fish, grass-fed beef, local raised chicken, pork, and eggs. Locally grown food, green energy (wind, solar, and volcanic thermal energy), and a small population gives Hawaii Island a high probability of becoming completely self sustaining.

Here is what we have discovered about Hawaii's local food products.

Hawaiian Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh Hawaiian Fish
Grass-fed Hawaiian Beef and local meats
Other Hawaiian food products and what is missing
Health food stores in Hilo

Fresh food is everywhere on the island of Hawaii. In Hilo many people grow fruits in their backyard, buy their fruits and vegetables at farmer's markets, and have the benefit of grocery stores that support local farmers, ranchers, and fisherman by carrying their produce. Eating locally grown food is healthier than processed foods and cheaper than foods shipped in from the mainland. KTA grocery store's Mountain Apple Brand consists of Hawaiian grown and made foods. Foodland, Targets and COSTCO also carry local produce, fish and products from Hawaii Island.

When talking about the healthy aspects of living on the island of Hawaii, we cannot leave out the fact that we live on the slopes of a very active volcano. Since early 2008, the volcano has been issuing very heavy emissions - volcanic smog or VOG. The VOG has negatively impacted the air quality of the island forcing many people with respiratory problems or asthma to move elsewhere. VOG and earthquakes are a part of living on Hawaii Island along with the bountiful food and beauty.

Hawaiian Fruits and Vegetables

Every day farmers and enterprising residents bring their produce to the Hilo Farmer's market. They bring a huge array of tropical fruits, vegetables, nuts, and flowers depending upon the season. Most of the bounty cannot grow in the rest of the USA and is not even available.

Farmer's market in Hilo, Hawaii Papayas at Farmers Market in Hilo, Hawaii

We go to the market weekly to get vegetables and fruit. We also visit other farmer's markets like Kino'ole market on Saturdays and the many markets elsewhere on the island.

Avocados at Farmers Market in Hilo, Hawaii Garlic at Farmers Market in Hilo, Hawaii

Here is an example of our purchase from a visit to Hilo's Farmers markets.

Fruits and Vegetables from Fammers Market in Hilo Hawaii

Bring lots of one and five dollar bills; everything is paid in cash at the local markets.

You can get Hilo grown produce in the super markets and box stores from local producers such as Hamakua Springs.

Hamakua Springs tomatoes grown in Hilo, Hawaii

Backyards are overflowing with lemons and bananas and residents share and trade their produce.
Banana tree in Hilo, Hawaii backyard Lemon tree in Hilo, Hawaii backyard

Big Island Farm Fresh Foods will deliver a bag filled with fresh local produce at your place of business, home or convenient location. Produce varies from week to week depending on harvest availability, but they offer an affordable alternative way to get the freshest local organic produce in Hilo if you cannot make to a Farmers Market yourself.

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Fresh Hawaiian Fish

Suisan Fish market with fresh catch in Hilo,HI

We love fish because it is has oils, is low calorie, tastes great. Suisan fish company has a retail store in Hilo next to the dock where fisherman unload their catch every day for early morning market.

Suisan fish market at dock in Hilo, Hawaii

Fish caught by Hilo fisherman is flown around the world from Hilo. It is prized for sushi in Japan and served in five star restaurants in New York City. Hilo fisherman catch ahi tuna, mahi mahi, opah, and many other varieties of Pacific fish. The availability of a particular type of fish is dependent on the season.

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Grass Fed Hawaiian Beef

Hawaii Island has abundant grazing land for beef steer raised on local ranches. The grass-fed, hormone-free, beef tastes very different from steers raised on corn in feeding lots. When cooked, the fat is clear, like water. Research shows higher levels of Omega 3 oil in grass fed beef.

Grass Fed Cows grazing on the Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii has farms where chickens, pigs, and sheep are raised without being pumped with antibiotics and hormones. We find the products taste better than on the mainland. The chickens are smaller, since they have no growth hormones and we used to mistake breasts for thighs.

KTA Apple Mountain Hawaii Eggs KTA Apple Mountain Hawaii chicken

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Other Hawaiian food products and what is missing

Other foods that are locally produced include breads, cookies and baked items (though the wheat is shipped in), nuts, honey, vanilla, oils, sugar, coffee, chocolate, tofu and tempeh (from imported soybeans), chips, noodles, etc. Below are pictures of the shelves at KTA in Hilo filled with Hawaiian baked goodies.

KTA Hawaii made sweet bread

H Bread

KTA Hawaii made cookies

We love the coffee from Hawaii Island and have spent years trying them all from farms around the island. Coffee is like wine and changes year to year, so we are always trying new varieties from coffee plantations.

Hawaii grown Coffee

We buy local products whenever possible in support of Hawaii Island becoming self sustaining

We still have to buy products shipped in from the mainland that we need that are not grown or produced in Hawaii such as potatoes, olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and wine to name a few.

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Health food stores in Hilo

Hilo has health food stores that carry items not available in the grocery stores.

Island Naturals in the Hilo Shopping Center on Kilauea Ave
Abundant Life Natural Foods in downtown Hilo

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