Whole Foods adds more to its stable


POSTED: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Whole Foods Market has signed on another 70 local vendors — selling products that range from all-natural surf wax from Maui to chocolate produced on Oahu's North Shore.

Fresh macadamia nut butter, Big Island milk, Manoa bee pollen and Upcountry Maui lavender jam help to round up the list, bringing Whole Foods' repertoire of local vendors to more than 175 since the store opened at Kahala Mall in September 2008.

Another 30 contracts are in the works, said vendor coordinator Claire Sullivan.

“;We are thrilled to be working with — and supporting — such a diverse group of local businesses and making their unique products more accessible to our shoppers,”; said Sullivan.

Derek Lanter, sales manager of Waialua Coffee & Chocolate, sees Whole Foods as a great venue to introduce the company's specialty, artisan chocolates.

Yesterday morning he offered samples of both the milk and dark chocolates, as well as coffee, which will be carried in the store later this month, to customers in the store.

He had a basket of cacao pods and trays of coffee beans on display to explain where and how they were grown, and to answer questions.

Waialua Estate, a division of Dole Food Co., was launched in 1996 with the goal of diversifying agriculture as sugar cane production was dying out. The coffee is grown on 165 acres on the slopes of Waialua — the only coffee farm on this isle — while cacao is grown on 20 acres.

Whole Foods also brought in milk from Island Dairy, which comes from cows roaming Big Island pastures. It hopes to bring in products soon from Naked Cow Dairy in Waianae.

Whole Foods is small-business owner John Astilla's first retail account.

Astilla's company, JoyBringer Maui, makes Bee Kine All Natural Surf Wax as an alternative to petroleum-based products for environmentally conscious surfers.

He started out making the wax — which comes from Big Island beehives — in a coffee tin on the kitchen stove as a hobby for wood surfboards, although it works on regular boards as well.

Alii Kula Lavender from Upcountry Maui, which is already carried in several other retail outlets, is offering a honey and two jams in the wine and cheese section.

Alii spokeswoman Toni Stanich said the placement at Whole Foods helps customer see the jam as a gourmet item that can be used for canapes or glazes as well as breads and muffins.

The Whole Foods at Maui Mall is still on track to open next spring, and will likely carry Maui-specific products, Sullivan said. Whole Foods at Ward is expected to open in fall 2010, while Whole Foods at Kailua is expected to open in fall 2011.





        Here are some of the new local vendors whose products will be sold at Whole Foods:

        From Oahu

        » Waialua chocolate, Dole/Waialua Estate, Oahu

        » Ho Farms tomatoes

        » Manoa Honey Co. bee pollen

From Maui
        » Alii Kula Lavender jams and honey
        » After Sea Aesthetics glass bottles
        » Bee Kine All Natural surf wax
        » Hashimoto Persimmon Farm
        » Maui Floral protea
        » Maui Mamaki Tea packaged teas


From Big Island
        » Island Dairy milk
        » Mahina Mele Farm organic mac nuts and coffee
        » Ola Tropical Organics body care
        » TS Nuts macadamia nut butter


From Kauai
        » Hawaiian Health Ohana (lavender noni lotion, fruit leather)


Source: Whole Foods Market