SANTA ANA, Hawaii — For the first time, Hawaiians will be able to get fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to their homes.
On Thursday, a crowd of about 300 people gathered at the Kona Hawaiian Fruit Center in Waikiki for a daylong celebration to celebrate 10-year anniversary of the island’s fruit and vegetable delivery service.
“It’s a celebration of the fruit and we’re going a little bit nuts about it,” said Kate Hui, the executive director of the Hawaii County Public Health Department.
Hawaiians were excited about the service’s return after a three-year hiatus, which ended last year.
The program was the brainchild of former Gov.
Ben Cayetano, who became frustrated with the amount of fruit waste and fruit spoilage in Hawaii.
After a number of failed fruit-and-vegetable deliveries, the county began a pilot program in the summer of 2015 to deliver more than 5,000 fruit and veggies to residents.
Cayetano wanted to increase the number of people who had access to fresh fruits and vegetables by giving them the option of purchasing them in their own shops.
As a result, the fruit center in Waimea, a popular tourist destination, was transformed into the first fruit delivery station in the world.
Now, more than 2,000 of the 4,500 customers who use the service a month can choose between a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and dairy products.
To qualify for the service, a customer must have an annual income of at least $40,000 and live within the county.
Once the order is placed, the service is delivered to a customer’s doorstep within two hours.
It’s possible to order more than one fruit or vegetable.
A customer can choose from fresh strawberries, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, plums, peaches, pluots and peaches and oranges.
Hui said the service has grown so popular because people are eager to find a fresh fruit or vegetables when they are stuck at home.
But customers aren’t getting their vegetables, she said.
That’s because the delivery system has been operating for years without an operational system, which means there are still gaps in the system.
When the program began, Hawaii County had just 2,600 delivery workers, according to the county’s website.
Today, the department says the number has nearly doubled to 9,200, and about 200 people are working there full-time.
With the arrival of the new delivery system, Hui said, more deliveries are planned.
If you’d like to get involved with the fruit delivery program, visit the fruit.hawaii.gov website.