Food, they say, is the way to our hearts. But it turns out the converse is also true: Our hearts often lead the way to new dishes and debuts. Maui Cones, Wow Wow Lemonade, and The Fresh Shave are three small companies inspired by family and the islands. Their creations, from mochiko chicken cones to kale lemonade to chai tea shave ice, are perfect for time spent outdoors enjoying the flavors we love.
It all started with a secret family recipe.
A little more than a year ago, Henry and Kam Yai Pascher found themselves with extra time on their hands. Sidelined after injuring his leg in a fishing accident, Henry was looking for things to do with his wife and young son while recuperating at the couple’s lush property in Haiku, Maui. One afternoon, Henry and Kam decided to put a new twist on an old family recipe. That’s when something extraordinary began to take shape—literally.
The result? The Maui cone.
“It was inspired by my dad’s oriental salad dressing,” says Kam, whose father has a deli in south Maui. “I can’t tell you what’s in it, but I can tell you that it’s addicting.” To make the cones, Kam and Henry cut sheets of nori into individual triangles, which are encased in shave ice paper cups to keep their shape. They then stuffed the cones with mouthwatering combinations of meat, rice, herbs, fresh vegetables (most of which come from the Paschers’ garden), and that addictive salad dressing.
Next, the couple decided to test the waters, so they bought a pop-up tent and brought a truckload of their three-dimensional creations to sell at a local farmers market. Within a matter of hours, it became clear that Maui Cones was a runaway hit.
A year later, the Paschers’ tent is now a regular fixture at the Upcountry Farmers Market each week, where visitors choose from four cones: mochiko chicken, vegetarian taro, ahi pokē, and white fish ceviche. They regularly sell out by 10 a.m. “We know how good the food is, but it’s still a surprise,” Henry says. “People come to us and say, ‘I’ve been waiting all week for this.’”
The business is a natural fit for Henry and Kam, who have years of experience in the food industry. But for the duo, one thing is non-negotiable: Maui Cones is, and always will be, a family business. “We love working together,” Kam says. “It’s an opportunity to spend time together as a family and it helps us grow our relationship.”
Find Maui Cones at the Upcountry Farmers Market in Pukalani every Saturday from 7 to 10 a.m., weather permitting.
When life delivered Todd and Chloe Casselberry the most tragic event imaginable for parents—the loss of a young child—Todd abandoned the corporate world in California and together, they found lemonade. “We just wanted to start a business in the community … to do something together,” says Todd, who, after becoming inspired by the family-friendly and community-centered spirit of the local farmers market, saw an opportunity to rebuild with his wife after their devastating loss. They opened their first stand in California and served waffles and lemonade.
After bonding with Maui locals in San Diego, the couple traveled to the Valley Isle and immediately fell in love with the lush, natural landscape, which they found therapeutic. After a Maui family, the Drummonds, took them in, the couple decided to stick around. The island landscape became the inspiration for the exotic and unique lemonade flavors that Chloe helps develop, including kale, watermelon, and basil. Partnering with Kawika Drummond, they debuted Wow Wow Lemonade as a single farmers market stand in Kahului. The concept caught on quickly, and they expanded to numerous farmers market stands across Maui and O‘ahu and, most recently, three brick and mortar shops in Kahului, Kīhei, and Wahiawā. Their bottled lemonade also retails everywhere from roadside stands to Foodland and the Westin.
Part of Wow Wow’s sweet success might be attributed to the product’s presentation. Images of the lemonade in charming, customized Mason jars have spread quickly on Instagram. “I think [lemonade] reminds a lot of us of our youth and the lemonade stands we used to have as kids,” Todd says.
Handcrafted with organic ingredients, Wow Wow Lemonade is raw and unpasteurized and utilizes fruits from farms across Hawai‘i. One of their most popular flavors stirs in non-GMO papaya from Kumu Farms in Wailuku for a strawberry papaya blend, while pitaya supplied from Maui Dragon Fruit Farm infuses the company’s lemonade with antioxidants and exotic flavor. Each month, Wow Wow Lemonade also donates a percentage of profits to a community organization like the Hawai‘i Children’s Cancer Foundation and the Lahaina Rotary Club, giving back to the community that got it started.
Find Wow Wow Lemonade Stands can be found on O‘ahu at 43 S. Kamehameha Hwy. in Wahiawā, and on Maui at 415 Dairy Rd. in Kahului and 1279 S. Kīhei Rd. #309 in Kīhei. For more information, visit wowwowlemonade.com.
You could say Autumn and Pooch Claytor, creators of Kaua‘i’s beloved The Fresh Shave, owe the company’s tremendous success to their children, whose love for shave ice inspired the couple’s healthier spin on this popular treat. It doesn’t hurt that the kids make great taste testers, too. “You name it, they’ve said it,” says Autumn of the feedback she’s received from their two kids, who are always suggesting new menu additions.
Autumn and Pooch met at a church youth group on Kaua‘i in high school in 1998 and were married in a drive-thru chapel in Las Vegas four years later. The Fresh Shave, their shared endeavor, is housed in a vintage trailer that they discovered on a Utah Craigslist page and had shipped to Kaua‘i. The company takes its name both from the sweet treat and, charmingly somehow, from facial hair. “Instantly, I knew that was it!” Autumn says of Pooch’s idea to call their truck The Fresh Shave during a brainstorming session.
Each flavor is named for a different mustache shape and inspired by local, healthy ingredients. Two of the most popular combos are The Chevron, a combination of coconut and lime topped with coconut and chia seed cream, and The Caterpillar, made and topped with oranges and cream. “Getting fruit from our local farmers is really our first priority,” adds Autumn. Their creative combinations are free of high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, dyes, and artificial sweeteners.
“We love being able to work together now, to bounce ideas off each other, and to show our children how we can work together as a team,” says Autumn. “Being in a tiny trailer together day after day can be challenging some days, but for the most part, we feel extremely blessed.”