‘Ekahi Ahi: Gourmet Tuna

Featured Photo: 'Ekahi Ahi

LG Makers Justine Bennett of _Ekahi AhiJustine Bender Bennett launched her ‘Ekahi Ahi (“One Tuna”) line of gourmet jars of yellowfin ahi tuna in the midst of the pandemic in summer 2020, but her experience with canning, like the fish themselves, runs deep. She learned the art of preserving food from her grandmother, who along with her mother had developed a love of tinned seafood during their extensive time in Spain, especially since fresh seafood wasn’t readily available at their home in Austria. When Justine and her family moved to Kauai a few years back, she started “canning” fresh ahi as gifts for friends, then began making small batches in summer, when the deep-ocean fish is most abundant. When Justine decided to start a business, she focused on how to support the local economy in a sustainable way, from using as many Garden Island-grown ingredients as possible to finding boxes made of recycled paper.

After a couple of years in development, Justine started producing 3-ounce jars of artisan tuna at a commercial kitchen in Anahola, with labels that name the boat, the fisherman and the date the batch was created. Sold at Kauai farmers markets, gourmet stores and online, her three varieties all start with fresh line-caught ahi, Kauai sea salt, locally grown Tahitian lime and olive oil. Besides the Original tuna, she and a small staff also make Nioi, which adds Hawaiian chili pepper, and Ginger, which adds thin slices of local ginger. Because she only cans when the fish are running, stocks can sometimes be low, but luckily it is made to last in the pantry. “Just don’t add mayonnaise,” Justine implores. “This moist and flavorful tuna is delicious all on its own.”

The Original Ahi

‘Ekahi Ahi Original Kauai Line-Caught Tuna

*  Prime ahi filet
*  Hints of Tahitian lime
*  Sea salt

Flavored Artisan Ahi

‘Ekahi Ahi Hot Chili Pepper

*  Prime ahi filet
*  Spicy Hawaiian chili pepper
*  Hints of tropical fruits

‘Ekahi Ahi Ginger Citrus

*  Prime ahi filet
*  Popular island favorite
*  Subtle notes of ginger and Tahitian lime

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