This year, Whole Foods Market is lighting up the holidays, partnering with Hawai‘i farms for the first time to offer locally grown trees, available at its Kailua store on O‘ahu and Kahului store on Maui. Grown and cut in Hawai‘i by Helemano Farms on O‘ahu and Kula Botanical Gardens on Maui, these pines and cypress trees are free of invasive species, but filled with aloha spirit.
“Whole Foods Market takes very seriously the threat posed by invasive species to our natural environment and farmers in Hawai‘i,” said Claire Sullivan, Whole Foods Market Hawai‘i coordinator, purchasing and public affairs. “In our effort to make a positive contribution to the future of the islands, we have not imported Christmas trees since opening our Kāhala store in 2008. This year we are delighted to be able to offer for the first time, beautiful, locally grown trees to our customers.”
For O‘ahu residents looking to deck their halls with an iconic, Hawaiian-style tree, Whole Foods Market’s Kailua store is offering five to six foot Norfolk pine and Leland cypress trees from Helemano Farms in Wahiawa. For those who want to further decorate their homes, Helemano Farms’ wreaths are also available at both Whole Foods Market’s Kāhala and Kailua stores. On Maui, Whole Foods Market’s Kahului store offers local Monterey pine trees from Kula Botanical Gardens, which are fresh-cut and fragrant.
“We are very pleased to partner with Whole Foods Market and offer their shoppers the option of buying a local tree for their home this holiday season,” said Helen McCord, owner of Kula Botanical Gardens. “Buying local trees is not just beneficial to the environment, but also helps keep monies here in Hawai‘i, supporting our local, Maui businesses during this all-important holiday season.”
“Whole Foods Market values the relationships we have cultivated with our local partners. This past year alone, more than 43 percent of our fresh produce was purchased from Hawai‘i farms and we are always striving to increase the quantity and variety of our local offerings,” said Steve Carey, Whole Foods Market Hawai‘i produce buyer. “Just like buying local veggies, purchasing a local Christmas tree supports our Hawai‘i farmers.”
In addition to its ongoing efforts to supply as much product from Hawai‘i farms as possible, Whole Foods Market is committed to helping to avoid the introduction of destructive invasive species to the ʻāina (land). Imported Christmas trees are known to have been host to unwelcome invasives, including hornets and slugs. By purchasing a locally grown and fresh-cut tree at Whole Foods Market’s Kailua and Kahului stores, or directly at Helemano Farms or Kula Botanical Gardens, local residents can be sure to enjoy this holiday tradition free of unwanted creatures.
Local trees are available at Whole Foods Market Kailua and Kahului until supplies run out. Whole Foods Market Kailua’s selection of Helemano Farms’ Norfolk pine trees cost $59.99, and Leyland cypress trees cost $79.99. Norfolk pine wreathes start at $39.99 and are available at both Whole Foods Market’s Kāhala and Kailua stores.
Maui residents can visit Whole Foods Market’s Kahului store for a selection of Kula Botanical Gardens Monterey pines for $79.99.
For more information about the invasive species risks with imported Christmas trees and how to support buying local to protect Hawai‘i agriculture and our natural environment, please contact Janelle Saneishi, Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture public information officer at (808) 973-9560 or email@example.com, and Jacqueline Kozak Thiel, Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council communications coordinator at (808) 346-5390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.