Island Naturals grocery store in Pahoa is endearingly called ‘The Natch’ by many locals. In addition to being the only store with a respectable selection of organic and natural food in Pahoa, The Natch sells hot food, ready to eat raw food and smoothies which can be eaten on your choice of six picnic benches.
One can choose to dine and socialize where all the action is – on one of the three benches right in front of the store, or over by The Natch’s own organic garden – for a location that’s a bit less traveled. If you choose to spend some time hanging out in front of The Natch, you are likely to hear and/or engage in conversation about growing food, sustainable living and/or allowing more love.
The Natch’s clientele is also their suppliers in some cases. As farming and sustainability is the main focus for a substantial segment of the community, some of The Natch’s produce is purchased from local farmers right here in Puna. While you can usually score those same goods at better prices from Farmers Market, Natch produce is convenient in a pinch.
While the Pahoa Natch is convenient and perhaps a bit trendy in a very alternative way, there are much better prices (sometimes with a $2-3 difference per item) to be had by traveling to the Hilo Island Naturals. I don’t trip on the price difference though because the Hilo Natch is about a 40 minute drive and it’s missing the Puna vibe.
Besides, the more food grown at home and traded with neighbors, the less need for grocery stores at all. Then trips to The Natch will be for entertainment and fun food.
The Natch is located in the heart of downtown Pahoa, directly across the street from Cash and Carry – another small grocery store that is the antithesis of The Natch as far as Health Food goes. When my son Blaze really gets a junk food itch that The Natch’s healthy fare cannot cure, I send him with a couple bucks over to Cash and Carry while I drink a kombucha or eat a popsicle and socialize.