Maui Food and Dining

Maui Businesses Sweep ‘ONO Awards from Whole Foods Market

January 8, 2016, 6:26 PM HST
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Some of the winners of 2015 'ONO Awards from Whole Foods Market Hawai'i. Courtesy photo.

Some of the winners of 2015 ‘ONO Awards from Whole Foods Market Hawai’i. Courtesy photo.

Whole Foods Market® Hawaiʻi has announced the winners of its third-annual ‘ONO Awards, created to honor local companies and growers that embody Whole Foods Market’s mission and core values. A pau hana ceremony will recognize the winners on Sunday, Jan. 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Maui Brewing Co. in Kihei. The event is open to the public; you can RSVP here.

“At Whole Foods Market Hawaiʻi, we have access to an amazing variety of high quality local products; we celebrate where they come from, how they are made and the impact they have on the planet. The ‘ONO Awards honor the most exceptional of these local farmers, brewers, ranchers, innovators and producers,” said Roger Fawcett, Hawaiʻi Purchasing associate coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We appreciate the many team members, customers and community members that supported these local companies with their ‘ONO Award votes.”

While companies from throughout the islands were nominated, this year, all the winners are based on Maui.

“The fact that we have a Maui sweep is a real testament to the thriving and exciting local food community there,” said Dabney Gough, metro marketing field team leader with Whole Foods Market Kāhala.

Gough established ‘ONO awards win 2012 as the first local program to recognize Hawaiʻi growers and producers. To be eligible, products must be grown or produced within the state and carried at Whole Foods Market Hawaiʻi locations. Categories include: People’s Choice, Team Member Pick of the Year, Innovation, Sustainability, Best New Product, Partner of the Year and Hall of Fame.

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The People’s Choice award was determined by a two-part nomination and final voting process which took place on social media channels. Winners for the other categories were selected by the Whole Foods Market Hawaiʻi team.

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“Selling our chili pepper water at Whole Foods Market and being a part of a company that supports local producers is such a blessing,” said Michelle Jones, partner at Two Chicks in a Hammock, winner of the People’s Choice award for Backyard Juice Chili Pepper Water. “We are so grateful for our amazing customers and supporters and to Whole Foods Market for giving us a chance.”

Whole Foods Market has been actively sourcing local products since opening its first store in 1980. In Hawaiʻi, Whole Foods Market currently partners with nearly 300 local farmers and producers. In 2015, the stores purchased nearly $12 million in agricultural and value-added products from local farmers and producers.

The Hawai‘i team continually seeks out additional local products and producers to grow the volume and variety of Hawai‘i grown and made products available at Whole Foods Market’s three island stores and stores on the mainland.

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2015 Winners:

Two Chicks in a Hammock, maker of Backyard Juice Chili Pepper Water, won the People's Choice 'ONO Award, selected by the Whole Foods Market online community. Courtesy photo.

Two Chicks in a Hammock, maker of Backyard Juice Chili Pepper Water, won the People’s Choice Award, selected by the Whole Foods Market online community. Courtesy photo.

People’s Choice Award
Selected by the Whole Foods Market online community, from nearly 3,000 nominations.
Two Chicks in a Hammock, maker of Backyard Juice Chili Pepper Water

Team Member Pick of the Year
Selected by Whole Foods Market Hawai‘i team members.
Maui Breadfruit Company, maker of Pono Pies

Maui Breadfruit Company, maker of Pono Pies, won 'ONO Awards in both the Team Member Pick of the Year and Sustainability categories. Courtesy photo.

Maui Breadfruit Company, maker of Pono Pies, won ‘ONO Awards in both the Team Member Pick of the Year and Sustainability categories. Courtesy photo.

Sustainability Award
Selected for practices that preserve the ‘aina, support our local economy, and promote food/product self-sufficiency.
Maui Breadfruit Company, maker of Pono Pies

Hawaii Taro Company, maker of Maui Taro Burger, won the 2015 Innovation Award.

Hawaii Taro Company, maker of Maui Taro Burger, won the 2015 Innovation Award. Courtesy photo.

Innovation Award
Selected for creativity in product, packaging, or business practices.
Hawaii Taro Company, maker of Maui Taro Burger

Best New Product
Selected for best new product from previous year to date.
Maui Brewing Company Lorenzini Double IPA

Kumu Farms, grower of papayas, kale, and other produce items, won Partner of the Year for Whole Foods Market's 'ONO Awards. Courtesy photo.

Kumu Farms, grower of papayas, kale, and other produce items, won Partner of the Year for Whole Foods Market’s ‘ONO Awards. Courtesy photo.

Partner of the Year
Selected for exemplifying collaborative win-win partnerships outlined in Whole Foods Market’s core values.
Kumu Farms, grower of papayas, kale, and other produce items

Hall of Fame
Selected for a long-standing producer who has made significant contributions to our local food economy.
Yee’s Orchard, grower of legendary mangoes

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