Sometimes gift shopping can be a real drag. You have to brave traffic, find parking and then finally have to actually find that perfect gift. My new favorite gift shop, Maui Country Store, makes gift shopping a breeze. They offer a great selection of made-on-Maui food items found all over the island. Everybody eats, so food gifts are always appropriate. They are located at the Ma‘alaea Harbor Shops, with plenty of parking so dealing with traffic is a non-issue.
The shop is small, just 290 square feet, but it’s jam-packed with jammy goodness. It’s charming inside, with wooden cabinets housing jars of Maui Preserved products and other goods. A table in the middle displaying art glass by Rick Strini is next to local fudge by Maui Fudge and Lahaina Fudge Company. Shelves along the wall hold jams and jellies of every tropical flavor. There are also sugarcane sticks, seasoned salts, jam, jelly, chocolate, pancake mix, nuts and spices. Everyone likes a little taste of paradise, so whether you go with something sweet or savory, there’s a made-on-Maui treat for everyone. They even stock sugar- and gluten-free items.
Of course, made-on-Maui products weren’t shipped here, so the carbon footprint of your gift-giving is diminished while the dollars you spend will stimulate the manufacture of more Maui products.
“The original vision was to be able to positively impact the public food consumption to local, sustainable and healthy food products through advocacy, education and providing an excellent value,” says Tapani Vuori, the store’s regional manager and buyer. “It was really about us taking responsibility and becoming an agent of positive change in our food culture. Our mission is to support local sustainable agricultural products; advocate and educate the public about local sustainable agricultural products to reduce our impact on the environment and create healthier lives.”
The store opened in December 2011. Seventy percent of its stock is made on Maui, with the other 30 percent sourced from other Hawaiian islands. Vuori says they’re still looking for and signing on more Maui vendors, so any Maui food growers and manufacturers should contact them at the store if they’re interested in increasing their distribution and visibility.
One of the best perks of the store is that they ship anywhere. You can also call in your purchase and they will ship it. If you send a gift out of state that someone falls in love with, then they can just call the store to get more. They also offer a 10 percent discount for kama‘aina.
MAUI COUNTRY STORE
300 Ma‘alaea Rd.
For more foodie news, visit MauiTime’s food blog at: mauidish.com