Wheatgrass shots, hummus wraps, and microgreen salads are just some of the grab-and-go lunches and snacks stacked in the fridge at Health Go Market, a little store across from Harbor Mall in Nawiliwili.
Combining elements of convenience and health food stores, this spot is also part-café, slinging a variety of house-made specialties out of their kitchen including vegan ice cream, popcorn, and energy shots.
Health Go Market has a rotating list of house-made kombucha and yerba mate dispensed from a self-serve tap with flavors like the turmeric/lime kombucha currently in the keg.
The store opened in August 2019, springing from an idea to start a food truck dedicated specifically to salads, according to owner Jeremy Hillstrom.
Firstly a farmer, Hillstrom owns and operates True Leaf Farms in Moloa‘a where he grows leafy greens like kale and chard, and microgreens.
He sells much of his produce to restaurants and some stores around the island and also sells produce from the farm’s stand alongside of Kuhio Highway, just past the turn to Moloa‘a Beach.
And while he’s been invested in the health of Kauai through those markets, Hillstrom said he started Health Go Market to get “healthy, local food into people’s bodies” and provide a service he wanted to use, himself.
“I thought Lihue needed something like this, food that’s convenient and healthy, and affordable. It’s hard to find,” Hillstrom said from his office in the small store. “And I thought, there’s probably a lot of other people who are in the same boat.”
Health Go Market is stocked with organic and specialty health and hygiene products, a few snack staples and assorted baking items, beverages and a bulk section. It’s a one-stop shop to get a healthy lunch and ingredients for dinner.
At least that’s the way it’s geared. Hillstrom said the character of the store has been shifting over the seven months they’ve been open because the community is more interested in the pre-made, grab-and-go foods than they are in the grocery selections.
He estimates 80% of sales come from the grab-and-go fridge.
“It started as a convenience health-food store and now it’s slowly becoming a café,” Hillstrom said.
Nutrition, sustainability and convenience are the three pillars at Health Go Market, but so is creativity and openness to formulating new products.
Inspiration for most of the items coming out of the Healthy Go Market kitchen comes from products that Hillstrom has brought on board for sale, products he and his staff decide they can make themselves.
They were shipping yerba mate from California, for example, before deciding they could make their own and infuse it with fresh berry juices.
The team did the same with their house-made energy shots.
“We looked at ‘em and realized we could make that,” Hillstrom said.
Health Go Market is open 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.