Maui’s Nāpili FLO Farm Wins Big at Nat’l Good Food Awards
Maui’s own Nāpili FLO Farm has received national recognition as a winner of the 2020 Good Food Awards.
The farm, known for its locally-crafted artisanal kimchi and fermented foods, is the only Maui business on a list of more than 200 winners from around the country. It was awarded first place in two categories, for its Pineapple-Ginger-Turmeric Sauerkraut and “Gut Shots,” a probiotic elixir made from bold, savory kimchi brine. These immune-boosting favorites are now available for online purchase and shipping on the Nāpili FLO Farm website.
“These awards really gave me the confidence to show that a little guppy like me can get out there in the pond with the big fish,” explains Nāpili FLO Farm owner Monica Bogar. “When strangers and judges tell me I’m one of the best out there, it makes me so proud that Maui got a chance to show up on the stage.”
The Good Food Awards are held annually, recognizing artisan food producers across the United States in 16 categories, including coffee, chocolate, charcuterie, cheese, snacks and spirits. After a rigorous vetting process to verify both taste and sustainability, 219 winners from 38 states rose to the top, among more than 1,800 initial entries.
Nāpili FLO Farm began in 2011, providing locally-grown microgreens to restaurants and the community. After capturing awards as a “foodpreneur” with the Maui Food X-celerator Program at UHMC’s Maui Food Innovation Center, Bogar transitioned into crafting kimchi, a local favorite that’s close to her heart, her history and her culture.
“I was always intrigued by how my mom and auntie made kimchi,” says Bogar. “My first memory is wanting to help with those bowls of cabbage everywhere, so they would let me spread the salt! It’s amazing to honor their legacy and continue my family’s entrepreneurial spirit by bringing these products to market.”
The farm’s kimchi, sauerkraut and “gut shots” can be found at local natural food grocery stores islandwide, including Mana Foods, Hawaiian Moons, Down To Earth, A’A Roots and Honokowai Farmers Market.
Nāpili FLO Farm has engaged the community in various ways, like working with the Farm Apprentice Mentoring Program, getting involved with Hawai’i Farmers Union United and teaching Maui Preparatory Academy students about composting, animal husbandry and small-scale backyard growing. Bogar’s goal is to grow responsibly to build awareness, with hands-on farm and food workshops that welcome the community at large.
“I believe our gut is our second brain, and it’s important to make it pono,” adds Bogar. “When we focus on food as a source of natural medicine, stay connected to the community and continue to educate people, I feel we’re on the forefront of changing ways in the world that can benefit all of us.”
Good Food Foundation Executive Director Sarah Weiner said the local business owners and artisans who put in the hard work for their products and the earth “make the impossible feel possible and show us it can be done.”
Five companies in Hawai’i were selected for a total of eight Good Food Awards. Of the 219 winners (chosen from 320 finalists), 50% are first time winners. That includes Nāpili FLO Farm.
In addition to this recognition, Nāpili FLO Farm’s fresh packaging design garnered a Pele Silver Award, which recognizes excellence in advertising and design in Hawai’i. Designer Wailani Artates of Artistry8 drew inspiration from Bogar’s upbringing and personality.
“I loved the fact that Monica was taught to make kimchi traditionally by her mother and aunt, but has such a fun and bold personality,” said Artates. “The brand and packaging is a reflection of that balance; cultural tradition with a modern twist.”