The Locavore Store

The Locavore Store

The Locavore Store

Have you ever walked into a store and thought, why didn’t I open this first? I am both super excited to have found The Locavore Store and kicking myself at the same time.

At the edge of downtown in the charming (and very health conscious) waterfront town of Hilo you will find a tiny market full of local treasures.

Husband and wife team Catarina and Arthur have expertly curated a selection of produce, pastured meats, eggs, grocery and skincare items all grown or made in Hawaii. Their mission is to “connect local people with locally-grown food”. Their website advertises that they carry products from over 100 local farms and artisans. Simply put, they know what it truly means to eat local and support their community.

Lilikoi, a.k.a. passionfruit
Lilikoi, a.k.a. passionfruit

What started out originally as selling neighbors’ excess crops at the local farmers market grew to eventually opening a brick and mortar location in the tiny town of Pahoa on Hawai’i Island, a.ka. The Big Island. In 2014 lava flowing from the Kilauea Crater chased Catarina and Arthur out of town to Hilo where you will now find their beautiful little boutique shop.

On my recent visit I discovered fruits I had never tried before like the lemondrop mangosteen, which can be eaten in a similar way to a lychee. I bought some blood red, Big Island rack of lamb and a turmeric spice blend made from Orchid Isle Herbs to take home and grill. It was heavenly by the way. I also scored some fresh pastured eggs, mango and apple bananas for breakfast the next day.

Lemondrop mangosteens
Lemondrop mangosteens

I found the store perfect for picking up odds and ends I needed for my trip. I could imagine myself stopping by regularly if I lived nearby to shop for meat and eggs, discover new produce or to buy a local gift to ship to the mainland.

Alaea-turmeric spice blend
Orchid Isle Herbs Alaea-turmeric spice blend

The cashiers were lovely on both occasions I visited the store and the customers all seemed to be regular shoppers, who like me, care deeply about which foods they put in their body.

Supporting farmers markets and shops like The Locavore Store are so important. They help change the political climate of the food industry and little by little make buying local more mainstream.

Buying your food from small local farmers as opposed to large factory farms not only supports your local economy but is far superior for your health. In a time were diseases like diabetes, cancer and obesity are so prevalent it is always a mystery to me why there are still people who find buying local a novelty fad or irrelevant.

Local chai spice
Local chai spice

The Locavore Store’s beef, chicken and lamb (as well as a variety of other meats) all come from family-owned farms and ranches on the Big Island. They are pasture raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones making them lower in fat, higher in Omega-3s and much healthier for you than factory farmed commodity meat you will find in an average supermarket. The produce selection consists of organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables (the way nature intended) all grown on the Big Island.

f you are curious about what they carry or want to support small farmers and artisans on the Big Island The Locavore Store is launching their online store soon. Other than that make sure to stop by next time you are in Hilo so you too can support the local food movement.

Way to go Catarina and Arthur. You are truly local heroes.

The Locavore Store

60 Kamehameha Ave.

Hilo, HI 96720

(808) 965-2372

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Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.

How Eating Local Food Supports Your Health And Community

support local

support local

Eating local food is very important to me. When it comes to what I eat I try my best to select foods that are whole or minimally processed, organic and local. This practice results in eating seasonally as well.

Sometimes finding foods like these can be a challenge depending on where you live. Not everyone places this much importance on the foods they eat. If there isn’t a demand in a particular area there is often low availability. Cost and climate can also be factors. This is why if you have a farmers market pop up in your area or see local food in your neighborhood grocery store it is important to support it.

I believe eating local food is important for two reasons. It promotes good health and it strengthens your community. These are both very strong values of mine and something I encourage everyone to at least consider when buying food.

Eating local food for your health

This idea does not involve micro and macronutrients. However, food grown near to you, eaten soon after it has been harvested is more nutritious than commercially grown foods shipped from long distances. So, even though organic apples grown in California are just as nutritious as ones grown in New York, if you live in California and eat the locally grown apples they will be more nutritious because of the length of time between harvest and consumption.

Aligning yourself with nature

As I mentioned above, this idea is more than just getting the most nutrients out of your food. It is also a matter of aligning yourself with your environment or, living in harmony with nature. Eating local food ties you to the land you live on.

When I decided to leave San Francisco to move to Hawaii I had to prepare myself for the fact that my diet was going to change. Sure, I would no longer get to enjoy the bay area stone fruit season and Hass avocados but instead I would get to taste fresh lychees strait from the tree and make interesting dishes with breadfruit. I didn’t see it as a challenge or something I would miss but rather an exciting opportunity.

Eating for your climate

San Francisco in general has a very cool, dry climate. I would start every morning with warm lemon water, drink hot tea everyday and eat hot cereal, soups and stews to keep me warm.

 

One of the things that drew me to Hawaii was the climate. As a person who tends to run cold and dry, San Francisco’s climate was not a good balance for me. The warm humid climate in Hawaii already has my skin looking healthier and my immune system feeling stronger.

My diet has shifted here. I am constantly mindful of staying hydrated and regulating my body temperature using water and food. I now drink room temperature water in the morning instead of warming it first. I crave iced teas instead of hot teas. I eat more salads, fish and rice. I eat completely different types of fruit. I seek cold or room temperature foods as opposed to hot foods. I crave ice-cream way more.

Even though the weather doesn’t change as dramatically throughout the year, like the Midwest or east coast, San Francisco still has seasons that determine which fruits and vegetables are available. Hearty squashes and Brussels sprouts in the winter, asparagus and artichokes in the spring, heirloom tomatoes and melon in the summer are all examples.

Seasonality is significant because nature produces what will make your body thrive during that time of the year. Heartier vegetables keep you warm in the winter and lighter produce like lettuces, cucumber and stone fruit cool you down in the summer.

Giving your body what it needs in order to thrive in the environment you live in is very important for your health.

Balancing our bodies with food

Our bodies are constantly looking for balance. It is one of the reasons why we have cravings. All of the foods we eat have the potential to create warming, cooling, drying or moisturizing effects in the body. It is up to you to understand what you need in any given moment in order to thrive. This is the principal of yin and yang, opposite energies that compliment each other and create balance.

By being in tune with your body and environment you can choose foods that bring you back into balance. Alternatively, ignoring those two things can bring you out of balance with nature and have the potential to make you sick.

Eat with the seasons and let your climate determine diet. If you live in a warm climate and continue to eat foods grown in cold climates it could cause an imbalance. For example, a diet rich in red meat, high in fat and alcohol could overheat someone living in warm climate. However, if you live in a cold climate you need foods that pack more eat. Living off fish and raw vegetables may not keep you warm enough.

Here are some examples of foods that are cooling (ideal for warm climate) and foods that are warming (ideal for cold climate).

Cooling foods –

– Sweet spices (chai, fennel, elderflower)

– Mint

– Cucumber

– Lime

– Light proteins like chicken and fish

– Dark leafy greens

– Raw fruits and vegetables

– Chocolate

– Cabbage

– Watercress

Warming foods –

– Red meat, pork, duck

– Hot soups and stews

– Ginger

– Garlic

– Onions

– Oatmeal

– Winter squashes

– Peppers

Eating local food for the health of your community

Buying food from the local farmers market brings us closer to our community and environment, which results in a deeper connection to our food.

By buying your food from local farms and artisans you are supporting your neighbors and strengthening your local economy. This act unifies people, it keeps people employed and it allows you to really know where your food comes from.

Eating foods that are shipped in from somewhere else (at least on a regular basis) alienates us from our environment. You may not be physically equipped to consistently eat these foods and over time doing this may confuse your body and weaken your immune system. By doing this you are also supporting the excessive use of fossil fuels which is unfriendly to the environment.

Support local. Support community. Support your own health. It just makes sense.

For more information on how to eat local food in Hawaii check out my Hawaii Local Food Guide.

Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and certified health coach whose writing centers around holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made food.