Maui Preserved was started by two chefs, transplanted from New York City, with the goal to take Maui’s height of season produce and crafting pantry items to make the harvests last. The company was launched in June 2010 by Maleta Van Loan and Anthony LaBua, with the goal of creating products and flavors that are both traditional and extraordinary. Their products range from pickles and hot sauce to jams, syrups, whole vanilla beans, and more! In the June 2013 issue of Sunset Magazine, Maui Preserved’s Sweet and Spicy Pineapple was featured in the article ‘100 New Reasons to Love the West’. Maleta LaBua, owner and operator of Maui Preserved, tells us how that mention came about, and shares a bit more about her sweet company.
Maui Made: How did the write up in Sunset Magazine happen?
Maleta LaBua: Our press really comes about from someone from a magazine tasting our products that are either gifted to them or they pick up at one of the many events we participate in, farmer’s markets or state-wide retailers. All of our printed press was local until this article. It’s important to get your product out there because sometimes one person can make a big difference in sales. We always make sure to stay connected with writers who support us.
MM: Did that increase sales for you?
MB: Yes, it increased online sales and of course increased our fan base for future sales as well.
MM: What are your top selling products?
MB: Hot Hot Sauce, Vanilla Powder, Sweet & Spicy Pineapple, our Pickled Beets are up there as well. We started selling Pickled Pohole Ferns this year and it is steadily growing in popularity!
MM: Are all your products online?
MB: Our selection depending on seasonality and availability. We also offer seasonal gift packs. Our retailers (currently on Maui, Kauai, Oahu and in New York) are listed on our website so customers have the option to visit a shop that carries Maui Preserved near them! Customers are always welcome to send us an email if they can’t find one of their favorite products. We provide excellent customer service and are always happy to help our fans out!
MM: What sets your product apart from others?
MB: I think it’s our intention. Maui Preserved is deeply rooted in the idea that eating well and sustainably is also delicious. Many customers keep telling us that our hot sauce is the best they have ever had. I think that also comes from Maui Preserved’s ability to modernize the classic cuisine and ingredients of Hawaii. There are so many climatic zones in Hawaii and we select the best ingredients from a region. We work on a recipe until its a winner! You can’t fake passion and we love to cook and most importantly eat!
MM: Any tips for someone starting a small business on Maui?
MB: Do your market research in regards to the local community versus the tourist community, and start with a solid business plan. It’s a small pool of business owners as well and its vital to work together and support each other.
MM: What’s next for Maui Preserved?
MB: We are developing a co-packing side of the company which is really exciting because it furthers our mission to serve local food to as many people as possible and to continue to support our local farmers as much as we can. This showcases our background as chefs and the skills and talent that we have worked hard to develop.
MM: Anything else you want to share?
MB: Maui Preserved was a way for two chefs to give back and contribute to the local food shed of Hawaii. It is the community that keeps Maui Preserved thriving. We just want to thank everyone who supports our business and allows us to do what we love!
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