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Go to Kauai for a jam session with a sweet taste

Go to Kauai for a jam session with a sweet taste
Passion fruit is one of the dozens of fruits and vegetables that Monkeypod Jam sources exclusively from growers on Kauai. (Dana Edmunds/Hawaii Tourism Authority)

Looking for an authentic Hawaiian experience? Monkeypod Jam in a Kauai village creates artisanal chutney, curd, preserves and salsa — and offers tastings.

Located in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village of Lawai along the island’s South Shore, Monkeypod Jam sells more than 60 products made from fruits and vegetables grown on the island.

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Visitors can sample the goodies anytime the shop is open. Creator Aletha Thomas has elevated such samplings with a new Jam Tasting Experience at 2 p.m. Thursdays.

“We serve a flight of three different pupus [small bites] that feature three of our preserves,” she said. “One features a savory preserve; one features a pickle. And the last one is one of our sweet preserves in a dessert form.”

The menu for the 45-minute session varies each week. Guests will find Thomas serving dishes such as organic egg salad with piccalilli and panna cotta with white pineapple jam. Also in the mix is her newest creation: pickled breadfruit. “It tastes just like a marinated artichoke heart,” Thomas said.

Thomas shares the mission behind her 8-year-old business. “We want to support our community, the island of Kauai,” she said. “There’s enough agriculture on this island to where we should be sourcing from them.

“We work with over 55 to 60 different growers. It can be anyone from a backyard farmer with a lime tree to one of the largest farms on the island.”

Visitors can register online for the weekly $25 sessions. Following the class, participants are welcome to further indulge in products that are in season. All, of course, are available for purchase, such as papaya vanilla jam ($5.50) and guava butter ($5).

Monkeypod Jam is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. It’s located at 3687 Kaumualii Highway in Lawai, a good stop on the way to Waimea Canyon from resorts in the Poipu area.

Info: Monkeypod Jam, (808) 378-4208

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