Mar 17, 2012

Aunty Nina's Ono Moloka'i Spice Blend

Aunty Nina Schmidt with her ono spice blend at the
Saturday farmers' market in front of Bank of Hawaii
A year or so ago my wife Kimberly brought home a small bottle of local spices mixed with salt for me to try. It sat on the shelf for a while before I opened it and had a taste. I loved it and tried it on eggs, fish, pork, chicken, and salads. 

It wasn't very long before this little bottle was empty. I asked my wife where she had gotten it and she said from a local lady at our Saturday farmers' market, but that she hadn't seen here lately. A few months went by before Kimberly brought home a larger bottle of this ono (delicious) spice blend and said she is back and has a booth with her husband just in front of Bank of Hawaii.

Today I went over to meet Nina and Melvin Schmidt, of Schmidt Pa'aluhi Farm here on Moloka'i. It seems that Nina, who was born and raised here, has been making this spice blend for over ten years. 

The idea started when she put together over 20 secret herbs and blended them with a little Moloka'i sea salt so that her son could give it out as gifts at his fishing club. Soon after she made more for her three children to give out as Christmas presents. The people who received the presents started ordering more and that's how Nina's spice blend became a small business. 

She said that friends have told her that she should sell her spices on Craig's List and Ebay, but she wasn't interested in mass production. She bottles her spice blend on Oahu in a commercial kitchen when she runs out. If I were you, I would go down to our farmers' market on Saturday morning and give Aunty Nina a visit before she runs out again, or give her a call at 1-808-479-8531 or 1-808-479-0093. Aunty Nina told me that she will ship her spice to you if you don't live on island.

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