Building a healthier community, one meal at a time

  • A display case at Liquid Life. Courtesy photo

WAIMEA — Ola and Puna Tripp have diligently made the trek from Keaau to Waimea every Wednesday and Saturday for three years to bring their cold-pressed organic juices to the Waimea Midweek and Kamuela Farmers Markets at Pukalani Stables.

And loyal customers have returned week after week.

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“Many of them have asked us where they could get the juices every day of the week though,” Puna said. “Until now, they would’ve had to drive to our store in Keaau.”

But as of Feb. 28, their second cafe — Liquid Life Waimea — opened in the Waimea Center five stores down from KTA Super Stores. Open seven days a week, the new storefront is stocked with healthy grab-and-go dishes and cold-pressed juices that have attracted those on the run, as well as others interested in dining in. The Tripps opened the original Liquid Life cafe in Keaau July 2017.

The flavorful menu includes breakfast options, salads, bowls, wraps, sandwiches – including panini – and health-conscious treats. Many are plant-based, in addition to standard organic fare. Some best-sellers are Banana Almond Butter Toast on organic ulu bread, Vegan Blueberry Scones, Thai Tofu Salad, BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad, Tangy Taco Bowl, Avocado Pesto Spinach Pasta Bowl, Organic Chocolate Chip Cookies, and dairy-free Gelato Ono.

“The response from our customers has been so positive,” Ola said. “‘We’ve needed something like this in Waimea for a long time,’ we often hear.”

Cold-pressed juices at Liquid Life Waimea are made from organic fruits and vegetables grown locally and supplied by Whittle Farms, Tess Garden, Mother Nature’s Miracle, Hawaiian Grown Flavors, Adaptations and other local farmers. There are eight nutrient-rich varieties — including the turmeric-and-ginger flavored Olena Osmosis, and the Green Garden, which bursts with the flavors of fresh celery, cucumber, parsley and kale.

“They’re all rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” Puna said. “And now that we provide healthy grab-and-go dishes at the Waimea cafe, residents can access healthy food choices too.”

The idea to open a café in Waimea began in late 2017.

“We’ve been wanting to do this for more than a year,” Ola said. “In October 2018, two of our loyal Waimea customers, Landry and George Fuller, said they wanted to help make our dream a reality.”

“We’ve lived in Waimea for eight years and have watched new healthy restaurants open on the east side of the island, along the Kohala Coast and in Kona,” Landry Fuller said. “Our community needs easier ways to eat healthy closer to home.”

Fuller served on the Blue Zones Project North Hawaii board for three years, and prior to that, as the health teacher at Waimea Elementary during the 2011-12 and 2013-14 school years, saw firsthand how excited keiki can get about whole foods.

“Each week, hundreds of students sampled produce in our classes as part of the federally-funded Fresh Fruit &Vegetables program,” Landry said. “To my surprise, some of the kids had never eaten a pear, celery or the locally grown cherimoya fruit. It was fun to see the delight on their faces as they bit into the fruits while the juices dripped down their chins.”

She continued, “When we started the school garden in 2012 and added the outdoor garden kitchen in 2014, many of the K-5th graders were able to taste how yummy food can be made straight from the garden. That’s what we provide, working with local farmers to make our cold-pressed juices the freshest at the café.”

Despite flourishing garden programs and six Blue Zones-certified schools now in North Hawaii, processed meals and fast food can still be tempting for busy residents.

“We’re grateful to have healthier choices at Liquid Life Waimea, especially on Sundays after my girls’ sports games,” Honokaa resident Marne Carmichael-Walsh said.

The Tripps have given talks at local schools in East Hawaii, sharing with youth the importance of proper nutrition. This will continue in Waimea.

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“Our job is to serve, educate and inspire people on how to eat healthier – without compromising flavor or their pocketbooks,” Fuller concluded.

Info: Liquid Life Waimea is open 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Larger orders for meetings or juice cleanings can be placed in advance by calling 491-2727. Regular updates are posted on Facebook at Liquid Life Hawaii and Instagram at liquid_life-hawaii.

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