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Fresh BOX: Local Meals at Your Doorstep

July 20, 2018

With the high shipping costs from the mainland, we almost missed out on the meal kit trend here in Hawaii. That was until fresh BOX came along. The Oahu-based company offers a weekly box filled with ingredients and instructions to make three healthy meals for two. The ingredients are 90% locally sourced, and Kunoa is happy to be one of those local suppliers. We love to see the creative recipes they come up with for our meat. (Flat iron steak over soba noodles with local veggies and wasabi soy dressing, anyone?) Here’s more about how FreshBOX got started.

In 2013, William Chen and Jed Inductivo, then coworkers at Starwood Properties, enrolled in a three-month CrossFit program that included a healthy eating plan. Most people in the group ended up cooking a rotation of healthy but boring meals, like baked chicken, brown rice and broccoli. When word got out that Will, a chef, was making things like Thai watermelon salad and chicken bahn mi, classmates offered to pay him to make their meals. He also would get questions from people about how to use the vegetables they’d get in their CSA boxes.

Jed and Will recognized a need there. People wanted to cook healthy, local food, but they just needed a little help finding it and figuring out what to do with it. So they started their own meal subscription delivery service. Their initial customers were CrossFit participants and athletes, but they soon realized that plenty of other people were interested in the concept. Now, their customers range from retirees and professionals to single parents and people who are just happy to have someone else do the shopping and menu planning.

Each week of FreshBOX meals includes three types of proteins: red meat, chicken and seafood. For $5 extra per person, customers can upgrade the Kunoa beef from flat iron or sirloin to tenderloin. They also offer gluten-free options. Delivery is available throughout Oahu, and boxes can be shipped to Maui or Kauai for an additional charge.

To create the menus, Chef Will draws on his classical training from the Cordon Bleu in Paris and his Chinese heritage—his family owned Chinese restaurants in Boston. He incorporates as many types of global cuisine as possible with a strong Asian, Pacific Rim influence. The result is dishes like Flat Iron and Pear Salad with Watercress and Blue Cheese or Spicy Chicken Ramen with Sun Noodles, Mizuna and Fried Shallots. He also reimagines comfort food favorites into healthier versions, like orange chicken that’s breaded and baked with coconut flour or fried rice made with coconut oil.

The dishes are creative and full of flavor, but they are designed to take only 30 minutes and be easy for novice cooks. Each box comes with full-color, step-by-step cooking instructions. “At the end of the day, we want to make sure people aren’t intimidated by cooking,” says Jed. They’ve heard that some parents even delegate the meal prep to their kids to help them develop cooking skills.

When they started, Will already had relationships with local farms, and sourcing as much as they could from Hawaii was a priority. “It was important for us to support the local business and make it sustainable,” says Jed. “We’re really lucky to live in Hawaii and get things that would be rare in the rest of the world.”

Hawaii Fresh Box is offering a 10% discount to Kunoa readers! Use the code FRESHKUNOABEEF when ordering at hifreshbox.com to get 10% off your total purchase. This offer is valid until Friday, July 27, 2018 at 11:59pm.