Steve Carey, produce buyer for Whole Foods Market in Hawai‘i
Image: Courtesy Whole Foods Market

Holiday / It’s a bit ridiculous that we have to import our clothes, our food and even our water from the mainland, but, come on–trees too?

“There is indeed a limited supply of locally grown trees, with just one farm on Maui and one farm on Oahu growing and selling [Christmas] trees commercially,” says Claire Sullivan, Whole Foods Market Hawaii coordinator of purchasing and public affairs.

“Until customers start demanding local trees, it’s likely that most retailers won’t seek them out from Hawaii farmers,” she adds.

This is the year that may change all that, with the fiasco of shipping containers of trees self-decorated with invasive species, from tree frogs to banana slugs that can carry heart lung worm disease. Ho ho ho.

In response to consumer demands, Whole Foods is selling Christmas trees for the first time at their Kailua store through collaboration with Helemano Farms in Wahiawa (which also sells potted trees; see pg. 23). On top of being pest-free, local trees keep money in our economy, and since they’re freshly cut, they last longer.

Five to six-foot Norfolk Pines ($59.99) and Leyland Cypresses ($79.99) will be available at the Kailua store until supplies run out, predicted by mid-December. Helemano Farms’ wreaths will also be for sale starting at $39.99 at both the Kailua and Kahala Whole Foods stores. For our neighbors, the Maui Whole Foods offers Monterey Pine trees ($79.99) from Kula Botanical Gardens. Have a slug-free Christmas.

Whole Foods Market Kailua, 629 Kailua Rd., Ste. 100, open daily, 7am–10pm, 263-6800