Eating off the grid

Fresh off the Grid, located just off the road near Pololu Valley, offers cold drinks and an outdoor dining area. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO | SPECIAL TO NHN)

Owner Jessica Svendsen stands in front of her food truck, Fresh off the Grid, near the end of the road leading to Pololu Valley. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO | SPECIAL TO NHN)

Fresh off the Grid offers a variety of fresh fruit smoothies, along with shave ice and ice cream. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO | SPECIAL TO NHN)

A fruit smoothie made without dairy products is one of the owner’s specialities. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO | SPECIAL TO NHN)

Organic fresh fruit is available for sale at the Fresh off the Grid, picked daily from their 22-acre farm next door. (PHOTO BY ANNA PACHECO | SPECIAL TO NHN)

For more photos, visit

On the most northern tip of Hawaii Island, Jessica Svendsen, an eighth-generation Native Hawaiian, has been busy since late May running her new operation, “Fresh Off the Grid.”

Now the last food stop before Pololu Valley, it sports a solar-powered food truck and fresh produce stand, adjacent to her family’s 22-acre farm. A decorated sign visible from the road draws customers to the truck and outdoor picnic tables, situated on a grassy field with scenic views of Maui on most days.

The truck was purchased in Hilo off Craigslist and Svendsen’s father re-did the plumbing to become certified in March, not an easy feat.

“It was our family’s dream to start this,” she says. “My dad moved here 30 years ago to grow his own produce. He says there’s no such thing as retirement.”

Svendsen runs the operation, serving up smoothies to order, homemade brownies, Tropical Dreams ice cream, shave ice, slushies, cold beverages and honey. Organic fresh fruit is picked off the trees on their farm next door and hand delivered daily.

“Smoothies are my specialty, no dairy included,” she says.

On average, around 50 tourists and locals stop at the food truck every day to cool down after trekking back up the steep hill from the nearby valley.

The shave ice comes in local flavors, ranging from guava, lychee, coconut, pineapple and mango to lemon-lime and vanilla.

Her mother is a florist and helped with the landscaping around the stand. She sometimes assists in the food truck too.

“I pay her,” Svendsen says with a smile.

They plan to be open year-round. “I haven’t had a bad day yet,” she says. “This keeps us pretty busy.”

Svendsen already has some new ideas for the future. “I’ve thought about setting up the truck at rodeos or even catering. And one day I would like to have a patio here, where people can lounge.”

Fresh Off the Grid is open from 11.a.m. to 5 p.m. every day of the week except Wednesday. They are located at 52-5088 Akoni Pule Hwy, Kapaau.

Copyright 2015 Oahu Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. • Privacy Policy