Shaka Tea Expands Supply Chain to Maui
Local tea company partners with Mahi Pono to grow māmaki on Maui in 2021
HILO, HAWAIʻI - OCTOBER 2020: Shaka Tea, the first line of bottled iced teas on the market brewed with sustainably-grown, Hawaiian māmaki leaves, announced a supply chain expansion to the island of Maui with Mahi Pono, a Maui-based farming company, as an anchor partner. Selling their teas across the islands, the US and Japan, Shaka Tea is committed to sustainable agriculture and economic abundance by connecting local supply chain to off-island demand, via the burgeoning māmaki industry.
“We are excited to expand our supply chain to Maui, launching with our partners at Mahi Pono, who will be planting māmaki seedlings this year with the goal to see a first harvest in mid 2021 ,” shared Bella Hughes, co-founder and president of Shaka Tea. “We believe in a resilient, agricultural future for Hawaiʻi that complements high-value and lightweight export crops, such as māmaki, to be grown alongside food crops for local use. “We appreciate Mahi Pono's commitment to a vibrant, sustainable future rooted in community."
Founded in 2016 by Oʻahu born Bella Hughes and her husband Harrison Rice, Shaka Tea is an award-winning herbal tea company and the first line of Hawaiʻi-grown, RTD iced teas on the market brewed with māmaki, an ancient, adaptogenic superleaf that’s only found one place in the world: the Hawaiian archipelago. The company’s supply chain helps restore native ecosystem habitat through the planting of māmaki, which is the host plant for Hawaiʻi’s native and endangered pollinator butterfly, the Kamehameha Butterfly. Presently, Shaka Tea works with 16 small farms on Hawaiʻi Island who all handharvest their māmaki, which is then dried and processed at the company’s Hilo HQ.
“Within the next few months, Mahi Pono will start test trials of māmaki and we are very hopeful that it will thrive on the lands we steward in Central Maui,” said Shan Tstusui, Mahi Pono’s senior vice president of operations. “The initial māmaki crops will be grown in a polycrop style in our Chef’s Corner row crop project alongside other non-GMO crops including kale, sweet corn and green beans. We hope this will encourage other local farmers across the state to look at incorporating native and endemic plants, like māmaki, alongside their various food crops.”
By the end of 2020, Shaka Tea will have given away 25,000 māmaki seedlings on Hawaiʻi Island to get small farmers started and looks forward to giving away 5,000 māmaki seedlings to help small, independent Maui farmers who are part of the Ag Park get started in 2021.