Mana Foods in Paia has a new produce aisle, and we like-y.
We like-y very much.
Mana — which gets high ratings in Top Maui Restaurants for both their grocery store and their prepared foods section — has the best local produce on Maui. They get the pick of the crop and they treat it well — and they’re liberal with samples. Just ask for a taste of that dragonfruit (if you’ve never had one before) — or that luscious plum. They also work hard to keep prices as low as possible: always appreciated in Maui’s sky-high economy — usually at the cost of ambience. The uneven floors and overstuffed shelves have remained unchanged over the years. We chalk it up to charmingly unpretentious — and the surfer/crunchy Paia populations doesn’t much care either way.
But some improvements are welcome. A few years ago they put in new bathrooms — we were grateful. But in the last months they’ve really gone over the top with brand new freezers and — be still our hearts — new produce cases.
The old cases were much deeper and made the produce aisle difficult to navigate. Barely enough room for two lanes, and only room for one when boxes of oranges need arranging … it was just too crowded to be pleasurable. The new cases have a slimmer profile for wider aisles, pleasant sunlight-temperature LED lighting that makes the produce practically glow, and, according to the manager on duty when we were there last week, reduce electricity costs by around 30%.
Lovely. The next time you’re in Paia, make sure to take a look around the refrigerator/freezer/produce section and ooh and ahh. And, of course, pick up delicious produce. James is particularly fond of the radishes, sliced thin, on their smoked salmon with cream cheese. Delish for breakfast.
Thanks to our dear friend and fellow foodie Stephanie Nelson for stopping by Mana Foods and taking these photographs for me when I couldn’t get back to Paia in time. She writes lovely personal essays about Maui on the blog she shares with her sister, On Heffalumps and Other Detours, and often volunteers to be a guinea pig with James and I when we try out new Maui restaurants. Thanks, Steph!