Guest post – submitted by Kristal Muhich, owner of Kauai Juice Co
The challenge of sourcing local produce
I started a kombucha company 4 years ago thinking I was going to have access to all these great local tropical fruits here on Kauai, but as it turns out, our local food sources are very confined and 95% of our food is imported. Hawaii has a lot of perks, but a mass abundance of local produce is not one of them. This creates a lot of challenges for an organic juice company. For example I can’t call up a local farm and ask for 300 pounds of carrots. There probably aren’t even 300 pounds of carrots grown on Kauai combined, and we go through at least 1,000 pounds a week at Kauai Juice Co.
I couldn’t believe there aren’t even professional coconut farmers here! To get fresh coconut water I need to contact all my local friends that are tree trimmers and beg them to bring us coconut water. The juice companies in the mainland have it so easy; they just get those imported Thai coconuts all picked, trimmed, and ready to go from their local produce distributors. Do you have any idea how heavy and big a real coconut is when it’s fresh? For two cups of coconut water…it’s ridiculous. On a more positive note, I was so happy to learn that greens grow quite well on Kauai. This island can provide excellent kale, parsley, chard, and cilantro (and pineapple, for 4 months out of the year).
Where it’s all going
Owning a juice company on Kauai represents a turning of an age, where we can put money into small organic farms all while teaching people why it’s important to do so. Building a company where we can harness enough money to start leasing our own land and putting money into organic farming is a statement I want to make. Much of the population here is used to eating spam musubis for breakfast and are so excited to learn about nutrition and health when our girls at the front of the store get talking to them, and educating them on the benefits of cold pressed juice. The momentum that has been built from people learning how to heal themselves with juice on this island is something I had never imagined, and I’m so happy to be on the forefront.