Healthy food on the go

  • Coco Zickos / The Garden Island

    Jeremy Hillstrom stands outside his family’s new business, HealthGo Market in Nawiliwili, that offers local, organic food.

NAWILIWILI — There’s a new health food store in town that specializes in local, organic food.

HealthGo Market, across from Harbor Mall in Nawiliwili, is stocked with all-things nutritious and environmentally friendly. What really sets this new business apart, however, are its fresh produce and grab-and-go items, straight from the farm.

Owners Jeremy Hillstrom and Keli Ranke grow their own food on some 3 acres of land in Moloaa. In fact, their business, True Leaf Farms, has supplied produce to outlets around the island for years, including via a stand along the highway that has a refrigerator to keep products crisp.

Hillstrom’s original business idea was to simply sell salads made with their farm’s produce but he decided, instead, to take it a step further and offer a variety of healthy foods. HealthGo Market sells large, compostable salad bowls filled to the brim with lettuce and vegetables.

“They’re so fresh, I don’t even use salad dressing because it has so many flavors in it,” Hillstrom said.

Besides salads, however, the store offers hummus and tofu wraps, as well as chicken and tuna salad sandwiches, courtesy of Ranke, an experienced chef, whom Hillstrom calls the “mastermind behind the food.”

“She takes it to the next level,” Hillstrom said about his wife’s culinary crafts. “The stuff she’s making is incredible.”

Grocery items also run the gamut at HealthGo Market. Organic vegetables, such as sprouts, lettuce, eggplant, carrots and arugula are in stock, as well as organic eggs from True Leaf Farms and all kinds of frozen and refrigerated items. Kombucha is also on tap, bulk bins are chock-full and there’s an assortment of other dry goods, including natural cleaning products.

Hillstrom, who also owns 808 Truck Rentals and is a graduate of Kapaa High School, said he established the business because he’s always been an advocate of the environment. He started digging in the dirt and growing food after purchasing agricultural land in Moloaa more than a decade ago.

Working outside and harvesting produce every day, rain or shine, made him appreciate the hard work that goes into farming. His connection to the aina and his desire to support farmers and the local economy were additional factors that contributed to his decision to establish HealthGo Market.

One of the only challenges Hillstrom said he’s faced since the opening is getting people in the door.

“People are very habitual about their food,” he said, adding that it can be difficult to get people to try new things and venture into new locales.

But customers won’t be disappointed by the flavor of the food and the “energized” way it will make them feel, Hillstrom said. And if customers are leery about parking, there are two spaces along Rice Street that are almost always empty and allow customers quick and easy access to the store.

HealthGo Market is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday. Visit healthgomarket.com or call 245-0002 for more information.

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Coco Zickos can be reached at 245-0424 or czickos@thegardenisland.com.

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