Food Waste to Healthy Taste

Sharp, pungent, and zesty aren’t usually words you would use to describe something you flavor your food with. However, if we were talking about vinegar then that’s exactly what you want to hear. And, out in Wahiawā, Hawaiian Vinegar Company produces some of Hawai‘i’s finest local Vinegar. Founded in 2010 by husband and wife team Brandon and Poni Askew, the goal was to create a healthy and local alternative to supermarket brands. The Hawaiian Vinegar Company’s mission is to reduce local food waste and increase Hawai‘i’s food self-sufficiency by purchasing off-grade products that farmers canʻt sell to creating world-class tropical vinegars,” said Brandon Askew.

Reframing the traditional view of vinegar, the Askew’s seek to offer a product with the same health benefits without adding artificial flavoring or additives. “For our vinegars, we use a double fermentation process which means that we first ferment produce into wine and then we ferment that wine into vinegar and we don’t add flavors,” Askew explained. “We are small batch vinegar makers, no infusions or shortcuts.” By using decomposed fruits, vegetables and shrubs that are either donated to their company or purchased from a local farm, the duo has been able to create their own flavored vinegars from scratch. They are constantly adding new flavors and you can find out what they currently have at their website, www.hawaiianvinegarco.com. You can also follow them on Instagram @Hawaiianvinegar and Facebook at Hawaiian Vinegar Co.

Unlike regular vinegar, the Hawaiian Vinegar Companyʻs vinegars boast flavors that can add an interesting twist to traditional recipes, drinks and cocktails. Their shrub, which is a vinegar-based syrup made with concentrated fruit can be used to make flavorful, low-calorie sodas when combined with seltzer water. The health benefits of vinegar are also numerous. They contain lots of electrolytes for hydration, support your immune system, aid in digestion, help lower cholesterol, and even aid in weight loss.

The focus of the company is to reduce food waste and, in the process create a healthy product that everyone can enjoy. According to The City and County of Honolulu, the total food waste in Hawaiʻi is estimated at over $1 billion per year, which in 2010, was equivalent to 1.52 times the total production of agriculture in Hawai‘i. The Askewʻs hopes to lower food waste by using product that would otherwise not be suitable for sale and creating a delicious vinegar that still contains all the nutrients provided by the fruits and vegetables. “Not all crops that farmers produce is sellable and by using this product we are helping the farmers find a new market to help with their profitability,” Askew said. “And, we wanted to be part of that culture. Their plan is to continue to form relationships with local farmers to see how they can rescue their unused produce and turn it into value-added vinegar and shrubs. 

The company also works with local schools like Leilehua High School, educating people on how they can use overripe or slightly decomposed produce instead of throwing it away. They hope to continue working with the community and share with others how they can reduce their food waste. “We share our experiences with the students and others so that they know how they are supporting our farmers by purchasing our products,” said Askew.

 If you’re ever passing through Wahiawā, make sure to stop by the Hawaiian Vinegar Company for some delicious, locally produced vinegars. If you can’t make it or want to see what they have brewing, stop by their website, www.hawaiianvinegarco.com.

672 Kilani Ave #102, Wahiawa, HI, United States, Hawaii


@hawaiianvinegar on Instagram

@Hawaiian Vinegar Co. on Facebook

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