Eating off the grid
For more photos, visit www.northhawaiinews.com.
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.