Making healthy history 

Near mile marker 14 in Anahola, a bright orange building with a hand-made sign portrays a blossoming Hawaiian woman. She’s holding a glass of green juice in one hand and a basket of fruit in the other. Kalalea Juice Hale is painted over Kalalea Mountain and a small sign reads, “Local, Fresh, Organic.” It’s like a colorful oasis in the desert because when it comes to eating in Anahola, there are few healthy options.

“We are starting to turn the table on health and it’s really needed in my hometown of Anahola,” says owner Carla Contrades-Barrett, whose family spans three generations and participates in the Hawaiian Home Lands program. That family history may be why the service, food and location are saturated in good old-fashioned aloha.

Before opening the juice hale, Contrades-Barrett’s family ran a popular huli huli chicken stand. For 30 years, her mother, Kuini Contrades, made and sold lei during the spring and summer, and now she continues the tradition. Contrades-Barrett’s husband, Lopaka Barrett, is a professional builder who remodeled old buildings on the property to continue the family’s food legacy.

Contrades-Barrett opened the shop in September as an endowment for her sons, Chatson and Kawai. Chatson Barrett, who’s been a private chef for three years, makes cold-pressed juices, smoothies, açaí bowls and coffee. His girlfriend, Robyn Curley, is the taste tester who also makes juices and serves customers.

“We are making history right now,” says Barrett. “We are the first juice bar in Anahola to serve all organic ingredients.”

Keiki don’t care if it’s healthy, they just think it tastes good. Three white picnic tables with orange umbrellas are tucked alongside the driveway loop. At one, a woman opens her laptop to use the free WiFi while a young mother feeds her diaper-clad son. The only thing that remains of his açaí bowl is a purple O-ring surrounding his mouth.

The Next Level açaí bowl ($9.99), boasting 27 grams of protein, contains protein powder, kale and house-made coconut milk. It’s topped with apple bananas from Yoshii Farm in Moloaa, chunks of fresh coconut meat, honey, bee pollen, peanut butter and granola made by Kauai Kunana Dairy.

Cold-pressed juice has a jewel-toned color, nice body and exceptional nutrient levels. There are three cold-pressed juices available at Kalalea Juice Hale: Olena ($8.25) with carrots, orange, turmeric and mint; Kale Cure ($8.25) with cucumber, kale, apple, green papaya and lemon; and Beauty in da Beets ($8.25) with beets, apple, ginger and basil.

“Our equipment is expensive and so is organic produce, plus it takes time,” says Barrett, reflecting on the cost of his products. “Because it’s cold-pressed, we are able to extract all of the nutrients, plus beneficial enzymes which help the digestive process.”

“Buying local and organic ingredients are important to us,” adds Curley. “We support the local economy by buying local. Plus, we surf, and all the pesticide runoff ends up in the ocean. We also care about the land and the health of the people.”

Barrett makes organic shave ice syrups with whole fruit. You get two flavors for $5.50, which include lilikoi, strawberry, blueberry, mango, lychee, tangerine, lime, dragon fruit, banana and fruit punch. Vanilla ice cream is $1 extra and sweetened condensed milk is .75 cents.

Every morning at 5:30 a.m., Barrett cracks the husk off young and old coconuts. Water from young green ones will be used in the O.G. açaí bowl ($8.50). Wrinkled, brown ones have the most meat, which Barrett grates and presses into coconut milk.

Fresh coconut milk is added to Kalalea Love ($7.60) a smoothie with strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, cacao nibs and cacao powder. For $1 extra, fresh coconut milk can be added to organic hot coffee ($2), or cold pressed iced coffee ($3.50).

“We want to provide the least processed and best ingredients,” says Barrett. “We know it’s local and fresh, so we can’t go wrong!”

Marta Lane, a Kauai-based food writer since 2010, offers food tours and is the author of ‘Tasting Kauai: Restaurants — An Insider’s Guide to Eating Well on the Garden Island.’ For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.

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