Aloha to everyone living in Hawaii!
As a freelance software developer I am planning to move there later this year. I was wondering if anyone could comment on the price of organic fruit on any of the islands? I know that Oahu and Maui have Whole Foods stores.. but I am not sure if they supply any local produce or whether their prices are any different from the mainland. Anything organic other than bananas tends to be pretty expensive here. Is it more/less expensive there or about the same? Thanks for any info!
I am also interested in replies for this, I am considering moving to Hawaii as well. :)
I'm on the Big Island and this is the place that grows more food than any other in Hawaii. Still, it's surprising how most grocery stores carry mainland stuff primarily. And it's more expensive here, because they've got to ship it.
You can go to farmer's markets to get locally produced items and that's the way to go. Still, some things cost more than you'd think. Locally grown organic apple bananas are .90 to $1 a pound. Papayas, on the other hand, are about as cheap here as anywhere, since this is the epicenter of production. Just gotta watch out for the chemicals and the GMOs. Standard kinds can be 6 for a buck and organic non-GMOs are about $1 a pound. I'm always surprised, though, by how expensive mangos are here. You'd think since they grow 'em...but no.
One thing you'll find is a lot of available variety!
Oahu has great outdoor vendors in Chinatown; check those out if you go there. You've got to ask questions if organic matters to you, though, and be prepared for "no spray, sure, sure."
hey! i live in maui and you really have to search and find the right places to buy produce. the awesome thing is if you live on the kahului side of the island fruit and veggies grow soooo easily so you can garden and plant papaya plants, banana plants, kale, lettuce etc. (especially in haiku, paia, makawao and pukalani). whole foods is way too expensive i never go there. its such a rip off. we go to a special farmers market in pukalani where you can tell all the people selling food is straight from their garden at home. and most of it is organic and a lot of people really care about the soil and put a lot of love and care into their gardening. its crazy how since fruit isnt subsidized like processed foods and meat/dairy, its so expensive in the stores even though the fruit is growing abundant right outside! example, the apple bananas (the main type of banana grown on maui), is 1.39$ a lb at the store, sometimes up to 1.75$! BUT if you search around, some people put their bananas in front of their house for sale for 50cents a pound. so we only buy bananas from those sources. as a result we pay very little for bananas! also another example is that its mango season right now so beautiful juicy vibrant mangos are raining off the trees abundant, but in the store, organic local lahaina mangos are 6$ a lb! how ridiculous is that. LUCKILY, we have a pretty sweet hook up cuz our neighbor has 3 giant mango trees that are going off right now and they have more than they know what to do with. so they are giving us like 30 SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS mangos everyday. we are saving hundreds of dollars right now. basically what im saying is that in the stores most the produce is for ridiculous prices, even non organic. but a lot of people have fruit trees in their yard and have more fruit than they know what to do with so they either sell it for cheap or give it away. at least thats what our experience has been. also, you can drive down to lahaina (about an hour from where we are staying) and there are a lot of mango trees in public so you can just buy a mango picker at the store and pick them yourself! this is the healthiest way to live because we are eating our fruit that is picked when its RIPE off the tree. man that is so hard to get on the mainland. this is why we love living here. we eat an abundant of super ripe organic tropical fruit all day long and its all local and so good for this earth. love it here. also, greens like kale lettuce cilantro etc are a little more pricey than on the mainland but not by much. a head of organic lettuce here at Mana Foods in Paia is about 4$. certain veggies and non sweet fruits are pretty expensive though. my best suggestion for when u come here is make lots of friends who have fruit trees, start your own garden, and learn what TYPES of tropical fruits are local to the island. cuz even though there are TONS of mangos growing on maui right now, COSTCO sells MEXICAN MANGOS and CENTRAL AMERICAN bananas! i mean common so stupid huh?! haha. anyways good luck on your move!
If you move to Maui - Mana Foods is the health food mecca there. It has the kind of produce I dream about here in Europe so lush and ripe and wonderful. It will give you a good start. There you can check on the message board for whole sale items. The tomato farm in Makawao is good for bulk tomatoes. Mike's farm in Haiku does a green box delivery of fresh garden greens like kale, cucumbers, lettuces, etc. There are many farms on the island and many farmers' markets. Be prepared though, apples will cost you about $3.69/lb.
Whole Foods is always an option but Mana Foods is less expensive and has better produce hands down. Hawaiian Moons in Kihei is way expensive but is pretty much the only organic option on the South side.
Awesome, thanks for the info guys. I'll definitely have to check out Mana Foods.