Alaska in February makes us crazy (cabin fever, anyone?) so every year we find a way to pack the family in a jet and escape to Hawaii for a week or two. This year we ended up on Maui and while it was a family vacation I had visions of farm visits and markets brimming with local produce.

Alas, ’twas not to be.

We stayed in Kihei, a resort heavy area on the southwest end of the island and while we did drive through acres and acres of sugar cane, local food was disappointingly scarce.

What the Safeway in Kihei did not carry: local meat; local eggs; local milk; local produce.

Hawaiian Moons, a small grocer on the main street in Kihei, at least carried local produce, including organic and apple bananas. Prices have to be pretty significant to induce sticker shock in an Alaskan but the numbers from Maui were cruel:

  • Local organic bananas: $1.99/lb. (Hawaiian Moons)
  • Local organic apple bananas: $1.89/lb (HM)
  • Dole bananas: $.99/lb (Kihei Safeway)

For comparison:

  • Dole bananas: $.79/lb (Palmer, AK Fred Meyer)
  • Dole organic bananas: $.99/lb (Palmer Fred Meyer)

The local organics were better than the Dole version — they tasted more like bananas somehow. Alaskan bananas are shipped green and force ripened in the grocery warehouse once they arrive in country and I wonder if something similar happens in Hawaii.

It was an expensive way to reduce my banana-eating carbon footprint but worth it. At least for 10 days.