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”.
The Locavore Store’s 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.
Catrina and Arthur started out selling their neighbors’ excess crops at the local farmers market. Eventually that tiny stand grew to brick and mortar location in the town of Pahoa on Hawai’i Island. In 2014 lava flowing from the Kilauea Crater chased them out of Pahoa to Hilo, where you will find them now.
On my recent visit I discovered fruits I had never tried before, like lemondrop mangosteen––which can be eaten like 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 (which was heavenly by the way). I also scored some fresh pastured eggs, mango and apple bananas for us to have for breakfast the next day.
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.
The cashiers were lovely on both occasions I visited the store, and the customers all seemed to be regular shoppers who care deeply about the quality of food 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 organic ingredients a novelty fad or irrelevant.
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 the factory farmed commodity meat you will find in your average supermarket. The produce selection consists of organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables all grown on the Big Island.
If 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 truly are local heroes.
60 Kamehameha Ave.
Hilo, HI 96720
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.