When Whole Foods Market opens its doors Wednesday at the Maui Mall in Kahului, you won't find any trans fats in the entire establishment. That's zero, zip, nada oils to clog your arteries.
Another compelling reason to shop there, at least for the health conscious among us, is that it's a certified organic grocer. In addition, the 26,366-square-foot store will feature a wide array of local products.
"Whole Foods Market celebrates the great variety of local businesses in Hawaii that grow and make wonderful food, drink and body-care products," says Claire Sullivan, vendor and community relations coordinator. "We are delighted to continue to expand our selection of special local products for our shoppers' enjoyment."
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Grocery coordinator Robert Acosta of Torrence, Calif., stocks potato chips at Whole Foods Market for the grand opening Wednesday.
For now, the store will feature selections from 205 local producers, 60 of whom are based on Maui. Mana Foods in Paia, the "mother of Maui health food stores" for decades, on the other hand, sells items from 310 Maui vendors alone in addition to those from other islands. So Whole Foods Market is off to an excellent start.
"Opening our first Maui store presents a particularly exciting opportunity to support and highlight Maui producers, especially those in the farming and ranching community who contribute to the unique beauty and agricultural character of this island," adds Sullivan.
For instance, Maui Cattle Co. beef meets Whole Foods Market's third-party audits for humane standards - from gestation to slaughter - and all the cattle is grass fed. You may buy kiawe-smoked beef brisket, pork belly and whole chickens fresh out of the store's smoker and even kiawe wood to smoke your own.
"Our meat department is pure heaven," says Marketing Director Elyse Ditzel. "Everything is free of antibiotics and hormones." There will also be a raw foods section with items created by Joy's Place in Kihei. Try zucchini pastas, mock hamburgers, pies, cakes and truffles.
"Joy scrutinizes ingredients and makes sure everything meets our quality standards," says Sullivan.
Pizza ovens will bake fresh preservative-free pies you may purchase by the pound or the slice; the deli will make custom sandwiches and Mediterranean plates with pitas, tabouli, falafels, dolmas and hummus.
"Our produce department offers a full range from basic to exotic sea asparagus and Hamakua mushrooms," Sullivan says. "Our bulk department will sell organic macadamia nuts from Mahine Mele Farms and Anahola granola from Kauai. And, our specialty section will feature from Surfing Goat Dairy cheeses to Maui Brewing Co. beers to Waialua chocolates in bulk and in bars."
Can't wait to go home to try the goods? There will be chairs and tables, set up both inside and outside. The coffee bar will pour a great selection of island brews and Maui Kombucha will be sold cold on tap.
Allergy-free foods, Ono Gelato, baguettes and artisan breads, prime (and choice) meats, non-GMO produce, salad bar, seafood, Cake Bakery desserts, sushi bar (with brown and white rice), and taqueria add to the mix.
But what does Sullivan say about Whole Foods Market's nickname of "Whole Paycheck?" "Sure, if you buy truffle oil and high-end face creams, it's expensive. But buy regular foods like cans of beans and produce, and it's competitive. Meats and seafood are exceptions to the rule as everything is of such superior quality."
Readers of The Maui News may enter to win admission to the Whole Food Market's "Ono Evening" from 6 to 9 Monday. The event will offer a sneak peek at the store prior to the grand opening with free culinary creations, libations and much more.
To enter, you may visit facebook.com/WFMKahului and then submit a haiku on why you love Whole Foods Market. Winners will be picked at random.
In addition, this Saturday, when Maui Mall roars with the Year of the Tiger festivities, Whole Foods Market will hand out reusable bags to the first 500 takers - to make future shopping a "green experience."
Store hours will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For further details, call 872-3310.