Hawaii Island Gourmet has been making chips since 1936. The founder of the company, Mr. Atebara found a chip making machine in a magazine, and without any experience, purchased it and started the first chip company in Hawaii. Like everyone else at that time, he originally started making potato chips. So how did we end up making sweet potato chips and taro chips?
Ironically, it was actually because of bad events rather than good ones that started the company’s expansion into taro and sweet potato chips. After only being in business for just a couple of years, World War II started. All of the potatoes went to feeding the soldiers and there were very few left for purchase.
Being the entrepreneur that he was, Mr. Atebara began searching Hawaii for an alternative and noticed that there was an abundance of Taro. Unlike russet potatoes, taro thrives in the warmer, wetter climate of Hawaii. In 1941, we became the first company in Hawaii to make taro chips. Adding sweet potato chips to the line (another crop that grows well in Hawaii) just seemed like the next natural step.
Keeping with tradition, Hawaii Island Gourmet still makes our chips the same way. We keep our ingredients simple and local (our taro and sweet potatoes come from local farmers here on the Big Island), with no additional preservatives or artificial flavors. We instead rely on high quality ingredients and time-tested cooking methods to get the perfect chips.
We are currently running a batch of taro chips, so come by the shop (717 Manono Street, Hilo) to grab a bag fresh out of the cooker. The taro chips in the picture were just made today! If you can’t make it to our shop, you can also purchase online from our store: Hawaii island Gourmet. While you are here, be sure to try some of our taro cookies!