Archive for February 19th, 2011

February 19, 2011

Spreading the Local Love Bug at Whole Foods Market

Last-minute Valentine’s Day shoppers had the holiday hubbub made a little less hectic during the “Drive Your Valentine LOCAL” event at Whole Foods Market in Kahala Mall on Saturday, February 12th.

Local businesses had stands in every nook and cranny of the store with products to appeal to the gift-giving spirit developed by lovers during the dreamy February holiday.

Their products—all from the Hawaiian Islands, 100% local, and made with Aloha—ranged from handcrafted soap to award-winning teas.

Perhaps one of the most recognizable lines available during this event were those by Bubble Shack Hawaii, a business founded in 2005 by Holly and Ashley Harding. Frequent Target shoppers may even recall seeing the colorful bath-and-body goods lined up on Target shelves.

Bubble Shack offers a wide array of products, including 5-in-1 aloe and shea washes and lotions, body and hair mist, and “big and bubbly Hawaiian soaps”, with a seemingly endless scent list: Coconut Volcano, Pikake Lei, and even Chocolate Malasada!

Their products are currently on the shelves at ABC Stores and Target stores across the island, but if you’re hankering for the Lemongrass Rosemary soap, be prepared to make a trip to Kahala Mall, as that scent is exclusively sold at Whole Foods Market.

Another business gaining more and more popularity goes by the name of Honey Girl Organics. Primarily composed of organic ingredients made by honey bees, Honey Girl Organics offers a wide variety of all-natural skin care. The honey bees, raised locally at North Shore, provide an abundance of organic beehives in the lush forests of Pupukea.

It all began when Anthony Maxfield became a beekeeper of bees already on his Pupukea property. Gwen Maxfield had previously noticed how soft her husband’s hands were from working with honey. After about a year of experimenting with the honey, Anthony came up with a formula that leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, and hydrated.

Anthony Maxfield, wife Gwen Maxfield, and friend Christina Sirlin were practicing raw foodism at the time, and they saw a demand for an entirely natural, unprocessed, skin care product, said Sirlin.

“All of our products are made from edible ingredients, because we believe that it’s best to put on your body only what you’d be willing to put into your body,” states the Honey Girl Organics website.

They started giving the lotions and crèmes as gifts to friends and family and the product began to collect oodles of praise and positive feedback. Recommendations to sell their product began pouring in left and right; it was clear-cut that there was a market for their high-quality skin care products.

“We finally got the bug and started selling it here and there and it became really, really popular,” said Sirlin.

Thus, in 2005 Honey Girl Organics was born. A full list of stores offering Honey Girl Organics can be found at their website:

A short walk through Whole Foods Market, a few isles down to be precise, revealed a popsicle stand. These aren’t your typical, sickeningly sweet, artificially colored, melt-in-a-minute popsicles, oh no. These are OnoPops, gourmet popsicles.

When the restaurant Josh Lanthier-Welch was working at closed, his brother, Joseph Welch, made an interesting (or, as Lanthier-Welch says, “crazy”) proposition. They could start a gourmet popsicle company.

Although Lanthier-Welch initially thought it was absurd, the idea kept creeping into his mind. The gourmet popsicle craze was sweeping the mainland and the demand was definitely there.

The Punahou graduate realized Hawaii had not yet jumped on the bandwagon. Bring into play the fact that the weather is always some degree of warm, warmer, hot, or sweaty in Hawaii, or “the absence of seasonality,” as Lanthier-Welch more elegantly put it. Anytime is a good time for a popsicle here in island paradise, as already demonstrated by the ever-popular local delight, shave ice!

The combination of these two factors was just the push the former restaurant chef needed to take his brother up on the once crazy business proposal.

They developed flavors like Dark Chocolate Chinese Five Spice, Kona Latte, Ume-Thai Basil; the most popular being Pineapple Li Hing, said Lanthier-Welch.

Not only do OnoPops tout a simple ingredient list free of artificial frills, every one of the ingredients used in OnoPops are local, too. “Raw local Maui Brand cane sugar,” “backyard lilikoi” and “island milk” were among those mentioned to samplers by Lanthier-Welch.

The consensus of passersby was consistently along the lines of “Mmm! It’s really good!”, “Yumm!”, or some sort of indistinct sound conveying a state of taste bud heaven. Pleased expressions from one taster would attract many others. These popsicles may be gone in a minute, but certainly not due to melting! He was doling out free samples as fast as he could chop up the little morsels of ice-cold goodness.

OnoPops are sold at various retail locations around Oahu and at farmer’s market; a full list of stores can be found at their website.

Whether it was love at first sight or a puncture by Cupid’s arrow, the Drive Your Valentine LOCAL event had the perfect love-declaring gift for any shopper’s sweetheart.

Other vendors set up at Drive Your Valentine LOCAL included ColdFyyre ice cream, Malie Kai Chocolates, Waialua Estate Chocolate, Indigenous Soaps, Hawaiian Natural Tea, The Pacific Place Tea Garden, Waialua Soda and Kaiulani Spices.

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