The sauce "really knocked it out of the park with friends and family, and we thought we could turn it into a business," he said.
The homespun hobby officially became a business in
Everybody has a family member, neighbor or co-worker who makes pickled onions or pickled mangoes, or preserves fruit of one stripe or another. The motivation often is because they had a bumper crop and the item was pickled or preserved out of a sense of the Japanese word "mottainai," or "waste not, want not."
Also, your pickling auntie probably doesn't have a seal of quality from the state
In addition to its Hot Hot Sauce, the Smokey Habanero sauce is the company's spiciest, while the Thai Chile Hot Sauce has a medium-level heat with an earthy finish that comes from
Products sell for
Maui Preserved pickles
The company cures and sells vanilla beans and offers vanilla bean powder made from the whole bean, including the so-called "caviar."
The powder is
The conversion works out to using a quarter-teaspoon of vanilla bean powder instead of a half-tablespoon of extract.
LaBua-Keiser will prepare pancake batter using just a tad and set it in the refrigerator overnight to steep; then he gives the batter a gentle stir before griddling up vanilla-infused pancakes the next morning. Bakers can do the same with cookie dough, "and you can put it in your coffee," he said.
For savory applications such as with pork, chicken or shellfish, "I recommend people start with just a pinch" so the vanilla doesn't overwhelm the dish, he said. Another pinch added to the rice cooker could offer complementary notes in rice served with the protein.
The couple started "with a large product line and honed it down to nine items," LaBua-Keiser said.
Many retail buyers find their next popular products at farmers markets, and that's where Maui Preserved connected with
"It's difficult to do food manufacturing in
Because people "are coming back to eating seasonally," the company also prepares seasonal items sold by specialty retailers such as Red Pineapple in Ward Centre and other smaller store environments where employees can "take a little more time to explain why this is only available now," he said.
The couple came to
The two don't set up booths at as many events as they used to because doing so with their 1-year-old daughter might be a bit of a challenge, but they will be at the inaugural Made in Maui County Festival in November and their products are widely available at farmers markets and retail stores.
The next big thing for Maui Preserved is working with other small, so-called micro-enterprises in the food business.
The company is using its experiences in the food manufacturing industry to help clients with various aspects of "food entrepreneurship," from how to scale up production from the home kitchen level to "getting the legalese" right on a label, to helping people get equipment and more, LaBua-Keiser said.
"In 10 years I'd love to see a portfolio of 20 or 30 businesses that are successful, that we helped to get there. That would be amazing," he said.
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