Local Produce

Where to Buy Local Produce on Kauai

North Shore: Big Save, located in Hanalei town. It’s on the smaller side, but it has all of the basics and a small deli.

Foodland, located in the Princeville shopping center, is on the expensive side, but offers everything you will need, great produce, a really good deli, great poke and fried chicken.

East Side:

Foodland, located in Kapaa, has an amazing selection of poke and they let you try samples. They have all of the other basics too.

Safeway, located in  Kapaa, is one of the larger grocery stores (and cheaper) on island. They have all of the basics, fresh breads, large selection of local and organic produce.

Times, located in Lihue at the mall, has all the basics and a good deli counter.

Safeway, located in  Lihue, opened in September 2015. A wonderful addition to Kauai’s grocery stores with its local and organic produce, deli and fish counter with a good selection of poke, bakery, and in-store Starbuck’s. Located on the highway near Costco.

Costco, located in Lihue, is a favorite stop for locals and visitors to stock up on the basics. Groceries aren’t cheap on a tropical island, and this is a great way to save.

South Shore:

Big Save, located in  Koloa, has all of the basics, a good deli with take out items and daily specials.

Sueoka’s, located in  Koloa, has produce that always looks nice, local beef and pork, and a great snack shop.

Living Foods, located in Poipu, is on the pricy side and smaller, more of an organic  gourmet grocery store, but has nice cheeses, produce, wine, gluten-free items and freshly made breads. They also have a nice deli with take out items–coffee and pizzas, burgers, salads, etc.

West Side:

Ishihara Market, located in Waimea, has a nice deli with lots of poke, nicely priced plate lunches and all other necessities.

Big Save, located in  Waimea & Eleele, has  Poke, plate lunches and all the basics.


The coconut is not a nut at all! It is a stone fruit, or drupe like a cherry or an apricot. This can be confusing as the term “coconut” is used to refer to the entire coconut palm as well as to the seed or the fruit.

If you are ever stranded on a deserted island, hopefully, it will have a grove of coconuts considering that numerous populations around the world refer to the coconut as the Tree of Life! That is sure to come in handy along with the numerous survival skills you have no doubt picked up from watching episodes of Survivor on TV. You can use the coconuts for housing, weaving really cool looking hats, hunting spears, sterile water, coconut shell ladles and cups, fuel, compost, cosmetics, or building a raft from the trunks and sailing out of there.

Hawaii’s coastlines have the remnants of many ancient groves. The early Polynesian voyagers bought the niu (coconut) with them to Hawaii. Coconuts are seeds that can germinate even after drifting for months at sea. A coconut tree can live up to 100 years or more. It will only bear fruit after its seventh birthday and bears up to 50 fruits per year. Luckily for us they thrive in sandy soil and salty sea spray because Paradise would not be the same without them! Tropical white sand beaches are far more exotic and inviting with a backdrop of coconuts swaying in the breeze. Just like your Coco Loco tropical cocktail needs a pineapple wedge garnish with a pink paper umbrella for that authentic island stylin that shouts louder than your vintage Aloha Shirt “ Yes!”, “I’m in Hawaii!”, “I’m on vacation in Hawaii!”

There is nothing more refreshing than sipping on an ice-cold coconut while browsing the local produce at a Farmers Market on Kauai. The perfect drinking nut is full-sized, yet immature and still green. Up to one quart of water is inside, but you can’t hear it when you shake it. Coconut water has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink and unlike any other beverage on the market, coconut water contains five essential electrolytes that are present in the human body. These include: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium. It is also the perfect hang-over remedy if you had one too many Lava Flows or Mai Tais! When you are done drinking the coconut water be sure to split the shell and you are in for a treat. The jelly-like spoon meat of a young green nut is called `o`io and it is delicious! Use part of the shell to spoon it out. If the coconut is more mature it will be at the next stage called haohao, when the shell is still white and the flesh soft and white. Half ripe, at the ho`ilikole state, it is eaten raw with Hawai`i red salt and poi. Coconut milk is a blend of coconut water and the scrapings of the coconut meat. The coconut is a staple food for many Pacific Islanders and is highly rich in vitamins and minerals. It is known to improve digestion, increase metabolism and functions as a protective antioxidant. Coconut oil is considered to be one of the healthiest oils in the world. The coconut has truly earned its moniker as the Tree of Life.

btw it is an urban legend that more deaths are caused by falling coconuts than by sharks annually. Whether this is true or not, our advice… don’t stand under a bunch of coconuts unless you are wearing a helmet!

Kauai Health Food Stores

Q: Why do bananas wear suntan lotion? A: Because they peel!

Q: What do you call two banana skins? A: A pair of slippers!

Jokes aside, there’s a whole bunch to like about bananas. Whether you prefer them in a smoothie (hint: add frozen bananas to the blender for a deliciously creamy smoothie), or baked into banana bread or doing the splits with a dollop of ice-cream and a cherry on top, bananas are undeniably popular. More than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year in the world. If you are abstaining from bananas, however, and prefer to sip a cold beer under an umbrella of banana-leaf thatch in an exotic tropical locale, then that is perfectly acceptable, too. The fruit may be eaten raw or cooked and is a source of alcohol, vinegar and wine! Banana leaves are not only used for roofing and fencing in tropical areas but are also widely used for cooking, wrapping and serving food. When attending a luau in Hawaii you may notice that the Imu (underground oven) is often lined with banana leaves.

The banana is among the tallest of the herbs with stems rising as high as twenty feet with towering foliage reaching even higher. Many of the varieties know to the old Hawaiians have disappeared and new species have been introduced. Among the most common varieties in Hawaii are the Cavendish or Chinese, the Bluefield and Brazilian Apple Banana. Yummy eating bananas do not produce seed, but are easily propagated from suckers that originate at the base of old plants. After about a year’s time, the plant should be ready to bear fruit. When the banana bunch shows tinges of yellow it can be harvested. The bunch can be left to ripen or divided into hands. Keep the fruit in a dark, warm and humid area to ripen quickly. Then you can eat the fingers! The old plant should be chopped down after bearing fruit as it will not produce again.

Now for some Tropical Trivia about bananas that don’t actually grow on trees and are technically berries!

The scientific name for banana is musa sapientum, which means “fruit of the wise men”.

Bananas first appeared in written history in the 6th century B.C.

Bananas float in water – about 75 percent of the weight of a banana is water.


Kalo is the Hawaiian name of the Taro plant. Taro has been a nutritious staple diet in the Islands for over a thousand years.  The heart-shaped leaves, (lu’au) lend their name to the traditional Hawai’ian Lu’au feast. All of the plant is edible and consists of lu’au leaves (also called callaloo and patra leaves), the stem (kalo) and the root (corm). In Hawaii, taro leaves are used as a vegetable in laulau, and taro corms are made into poi. Taro can be grown as wetland in a series of ponds called lo’i or as dryland in upland areas where watering is supplied by rainfall or supplemental irrigation. Take a tour of a beautiful taro field.

Farms and Tours

Kauai Coffee is the largest producer of coffee in Hawaii and the United States.  A true Hawaiian coffee estate, they grow, roast and package the coffee on the farm. The farm started in the early 1800s as McBryde Sugar Company and transformed to Kauai Coffee in 1987.

There are many opportunities for you to experience Kauai Coffee while you are visiting Kauai. If you are a guest of Great Vacation Retreats, you will enjoy the starter pack of Kauai Coffee that is provided in the guest welcome amenities. You will discover that many of the local grocery and convenience stores stock Kauai Coffee in a variety of flavors. Kauai Coffee is a wonderful souvenir and gift item to take home to share this island experience with family or friends. Kauai Coffee can also be purchased directly online at www.kauaicoffee.com.

When you are on island and headed towards the west side, you will find the Kauai Coffee Estate after Kalaheo town and before Eleele. Their store is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. While on property, you can enjoy coffee tasting and shopping, as well as a self guided tour that shows how the coffee is grown, harvested and roasted.

Local Products

There are over 500 species of Passiflora but only one of the species can be called passion fruit. Within this species there are two distinct types of passion fruit. In Hawai’i the two varieties are commonly called purple Liliko’i and yellow Liliko’i. In South Africa they are called “granadilla”. In Hawaii, passion fruit can be cut in half and the seeds scooped out with a spoon. Lilikoi-flavored syrup is a popular topping for shave ice. It is used as a dessert flavoring for malasadas, cheesecakes, cookies, ice cream and mochi. Passion fruit is also enjoyed as a jam or jelly, as well as a butter. Lilikoi syrup can also be used to glaze or to marinate meat and vegetables.

Recipe for Lilikoi Curry Mahimahi

Mix 1/2 cup mayo with 1 Tbsp. Aunty Lilikoi Passion Fruit or Passion Fruit Wasabi Dressing and 1 tsp. of curry powder. Spread over


Hawaii exports the nuttiest, most buttery and yummy avocados to 32 mainland states between November and March! The Sharwil variety is a Mexican and Guatemalan cross. Large and creamy, they are one of the best avocados to eat.

How do you like your avo? Simply cut in half with a dusting of sea salt and scooped up with a spoon? Perhaps chopped into the perfect guacamole with cilantro, red onion, jalapeno and garlic ? Or thinly sliced on fresh baked bread with tomato slices, feta and pepper? We like this preparation suggestion from www.farming808.com

“Sesame seeds, a little garlic salt, fresh lime from the farm and a little habanero sauce.”


Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen! It is the law of the tropics for anyone planning to explore the outdoors in Hawaii. Wether you are swimming, surfing, hiking or simply walking around town, skin should always be coated and protected. Sometimes enough sunscreen is not applied or the unwary sunbather forgets to reapply after being in the ocean. We have all seen tor even experienced the painful “red lobster” look from being fried by the sun.

Luckily the Aloe Vera plant loves Kauai’s tropical climate and grows easily and abundantly in sunny and well drained areas. Aloe Vera gel is known to be soothing and healing to sunburned and blistered skin. Most residents know where Aloe is growing in their neighborhood and simply cut open one of the leaves to extract the gel inside when they need some skin TLC (tender loving care!). Applying this soothing and cooling gel to the skin can ease some of the pain and irritation of the sunburn. Aloe Vera has antibacterial properties and is known to help with insect bites, jelly fish stings, healing wounds and preventing scarring.

Aloe Vera is also promoted for oral and digestive health and used in skin beauty products. It’s no wonder this succulent is so popular around the world and is known as the “first-aid” and “medicine” plant.