Venison: Maui’s Sustainably Produced, Local Source of Red Meat

Guest post written by Tucker Ballister

Most people that are visiting Maui for the first time have no idea that the island is home to tens of thousands of axis deer. These deer graze and roam in areas that are also home to wild cattle and other grazing animals that are native to the island.

As a visitor to Maui, you might be looking for local sources of meat and produce to cook for yourself during your stay. Fortunately, the island offers many great opportunities to find vacation homes with fully equipped kitchens.

The growing axis deer populations on the island have created an opportunity for an alternative, sustainable source of red meat for locals and visitors alike. For some, this has created a unique chance to distribute fresh, grass fed venison to vendors and individuals all over the island.

Royal Hawaiian Venison

Headed by Lokahi Sylva, a Maui native, Maui’s premier venison distribution company has been making great strides towards bringing a healthy, local source of red meat to restaurants and markets all over the island. Currently, Royal Hawaiian Venison is the only venison distributor on the island of Maui.

Sylva is adamant that we must find ways to utilize the precious meat, bones, and hides of these beautiful animals because they are such a valuable resource of this island paradise. “Venison is an exceptional alternative to beef, chicken or other red meats that are shipped to Maui from thousands of miles away,” says Sylva. “People simply need to be aware of the availability of venison on the island so that we can reduce our reliance on shipped goods.”

Sylva has been working with local chefs at a few beloved restaurants, have been creating unique and intricate ways to prepare and cook this fabulous red meat. The preferred method is a homemade teriyaki marinate on the prime sirloin steaks that is cooked quickly over the red embers of the invasive hardwood kiawe tree.

If you’re coming to Maui and you’re interested in finding local venison to add to your culinary dishes, there are several places you can find Maui’s newest source of sustainable red meat:


There are currently four stores in Maui selling USDA certified Royal Hawaiian Venison. The Morihara Store is located in Waiakoa, Kula. The Rodeo General Store can be found in the heart of Makawao town. Hanzawa’s store can be found in the poetic town of Haiku, and The Market by Capische is located in the Wailea Gateway Center.


Lokahi works hard to distribute local venison to a number of restaurants around the island. You should be aware that not all the restaurants indicated on their site will have venison available everyday. If you visit one of the restaurants on the list and don’t find venison on their menu, be sure to ask about it. You might even remind them that it’s time to order another shipment! Check out the full list of venison-friendly restaurants here.

Farmer’s Markets

Lokahi, the owner of Royal Hawaiian Venison, is usually on-hand at two farmer’s markets every week. The Makawao Farmer’s Market is every Wednesday from 9 am to 1 pm at Po’okela Church. The Upcountry Farmer’s Market is every Saturday from 6:30 am to 10 am at Kula Malu parking lot, just outside of Pukalani.

Maui is exceptional for its’ efforts in sustainable, organic sources of produce and meat. Be sure to check out the island’s newest source of red meat during your stay. To learn more about Royal Hawaiian Venison, please visit their official website here.

Author Bio

My name is Tucker Ballister. I grew up in beautiful Lake Tahoe, California area and have found a renewed passion for writing over the course of the last year or so. I recent completed the Master’s of Tourism Management program at Colorado State University and now reside on the magical island of Maui, writing and work trading on a developing sustainable homestead. I enjoy writing on a wide variety of topics, including, but not limited to, destination management, sustainable development, tourism policy, visitor motivations, and entrepreneurial development. I hope you enjoyed my writing and I can’t thank you enough for reading! Mahalo!