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Obviously, local and organic is the best choice. In our new home, sometimes we have to make a choice. Living 2,500 miles from everywhere has an impact in our food buying choices.
In the past, we have always had access to local and organic dairy products.
There are very few dairies in Hawaii. Literally a handful. I think there are two left on the Big Island and two others in the state. That's why milk on Maui is so bloody expensive. The two dairies on the Big Island may be merging and who knows how long they will stay in business. They do not produce organic milk due to the high cost of shipping organic feed from the mainland.
Here's a link to an article that talks about the dairy industry in Hawaii and the difficulties faced with producing local milk at a high cost. Thankfully an agreement was reached and, for now, we will still be able to get local milk.
Unfortunately, there is no local organic supplier of milk. As with many places, the sale of raw milk for human consumption is illegal. All milk that is shipped in from the mainland is ultra pasteurized and therefore unsuitable for making yogurt (which I make every two weeks). Additionally, our daughter says there is an odd taste to the milk that is ultra pasteurized. I cannot detect it, but I do think the local milk tastes more like milk.
So what to do? Organic or Local? The answer is not always easy, but in the case of living on an island, where at any given time the supply of food in grocery stores and warehouses is only seven days for the population, I am going to choose local. I am going to choose to support the local food growers as much as I can.
The local supermarket, KTA, has created a food brand called, Mountain Apple. All products under the Mountain Apple label are produced on the Big Island. KTA has sourced local food for about 30 years and has really done a great deal to support the local economy and specifically food growers. I seek out this brand as much as I can and if you visit the Big Island, I would recommend you do too. The food is affordable and fresh and you will be supporting the local economy in a meaningful way.