Bananarama owners Bob & Rob started a banana farm in 2008 and by 2015 grew over 100 types of bananas. In 2016, Bob, a former contractor, renovated and started renting our vacation rental. Inspired by the setting on a banana farm, he renovated the cottage with a banana theme. It was only natural to name it Bananarama Cottage!
After renovating the cottage, Bob the Builder became Bob the Baker. He decided on a whim to enter the Lilikoi Festival contest in 2016, his first such contest entry. His Hawaiian Hummingbird cake, which he’d only ever made for this contest, came in 4th and received an honorable mention! He began to plan for selling baked goods and frozen banana soft serve out in Kalapana where vendors had set up to sell to hikers viewing the lava flow.
The lava flow stopped before he could set up, so he decided to begin selling at Uncle Robert’s Wednesday night market in Kalapana. With the idea of banana soft serve abandoned, he quickly moved to using our banana supply in more than 10 types of banana bread. Though bananas are not used in most items, the name Bananarama Bakery stuck.
From the beginning we decided to make baked goods which everyone could enjoy, with extensive plant-based (aka vegan), gluten-free, and even sugar-free desserts and other baked goods. In 2020 we expanded into making savory treats too, including Stromboli, Savory Cheddar Biscuits, and many types of bread.
In order to expand to more farmers markets, we began seeking a commercial kitchen and retail space and were thrilled to find a space in Pahoa!
We’re back at the Kaimu Farmers Market every Saturday, will expand to more markets in 2021 and beyond, and will open the store by early 2022!
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is everything made with bananas?
No! The name Bananarama comes from our origins on a banana farm. We do make more than 10 types of banana bread, and a number of other desserts featuring bananas. However, the vast majority of our food contains no bananas.
Are the gluten-free items made in a gluten-free facility?
Everything is made in the same commercial kitchen at the bakery, so it is not all gluten-free. However, we take steps to avoid any cross contamination with other products containing gluten or wheat.
What is a Stromboli?
A Stromboli is like a rolled up pizza that is dipped into sauce. It is different than a calzone since those have the sauce inside. All Strombolis come with a choice of Fire Roasted Marinara or Garlic sauce. Spinach is the traditional Stromboli, and we also make a Pepperoni with Extra Cheese and a Sauasage with Caramelized Onion Stromboli. We recommend Marinara with the Spinach, Garlic with the Pepperoni, and either with the Sausage.
I have a dairy allergy. I am lactose intolerant. Is there anything you sell which I can eat?
Yes, everything! No dairy products are used in anything and are never in our bakery.
What does “plant-based” mean?
Many use the word interchangeably with “vegan” and “plant-based” also means no animal-derived ingredients are used. Vegan often implies an overall philosophy or way or life, while plant-based simply describes ingredients. Most of our customers do not follow completely plant-based diets or are even aware that our bakery is 100% plant-based. If it’s good, it doesn’t matter!
I have an egg allergy. I don’t eat anything with eggs. Is there anything you sell which I can eat?
Yes, everything! No egg products are used in anything and are never in our bakery. Baker Bob has cracked the code for baking without eggs! He’s currently working on new egg-free creations which would typically use many eggs or egg whites, such as meringue and angel food cake. Baking with eggs makes use of the specific proteins in them for functions like binding, rising, and ideal textures. Over the years many plant-derived ingredients have become available to replace these egg proteins with plant-proteins. We do not use any “egg replacer” products, which tend to be very expensive, simply because we don’t need to.
Do you have any desserts without sugar?
We sell two types of banana bread which contain no added sugar and instead get their sweetness from more bananas. This type is also gluten-free. We also sell the Tahitian Lime Bar, which uses erythritol instead of sugar. Erythritol is a non-GMO corn-derived sweetener. When we switched this recipe from sugar to erythritol it was difficult telling any difference.
The desserts with “buttercream” sound delicious but I don’t eat butter. Are there other frostings which can be used instead?
The term does not actually mean it must contain dairy butter. We use a combination of vegetable shortening and plant-butter (aka margarine).
Do you use local ingredients?
We source local ingredients as much as possible. In fact, most of fruit used comes from our farm!
Do you have any other locations?
We can currently be found only at the Kaimu Farmers Market every Saturday from 8-12. While our bakery is only in Pahoa, we are expanding to serve other areas of the island by selling at farmers markets in Puna, with the goal of selling at other markets in Volcano, Hilo and north to Waimea.
Is your bakery peanut free?
We use peanuts and several other types of nuts, and everything containing peanuts clearly indicates that.