Meet the Producers
Meet the folks who make it all possible. The farmers who supply us with produce range from multi-generational family farmers to beginning farmers in their first growing season. These amazing Big Island farmers are some of the people who make up the backbone of our local food system. If you’ve ever received anything in your DA BOX that you particularly enjoyed and couldn’t get enough of you can find links to each farm’s website or Facebook page in their profile to learn more about their business.
Sweet Cane Cafe and Farm
Two weeks ago, the DA BOX team was invited to visit Sweet Cane Cafe and Farm. Some may be familiar with this family owned restaurant at 8 Kamana Street in Hilo. If you haven’t tried it yet, we highly recommend that you do. The restaurant offers delicious and nutritious, organic and locally sourced vegetarian dishes with vegan options.
Kaiwiki Food Forest
Kaiwiki Food Forest is an agroforest wrapped around a market garden on the slopes of Mauna Kea. As recent GoFarm Hawai’i graduates, Dan and Leanne and their daughters Mica and Hazel, continue to learn as they use organic, regenerative farming practices on their GoFarm Incubator plot and continue to cultivate their agroforest and farm at Kaiwiki.
Island Brothers Farm
Matt and Daniel have been regularly visiting Hawai’i since they were young boys, staying with their aunt and uncle on Maui. Their love of the islands inspired them to search for a piece of land to produce food for themselves and the community. The search took some time, but eventually they found the perfect beautiful orchard in Hawaiian Acres.
Karen Thom and her husband Henry N. Wyckoff started Peaceful Farms, their polyculture lychee orchard in Hakalau, 20 years ago after the closure of the sugar cane plantations. They started the venture with Karen’s father Sing Low Thom who immigrated from China with a background in agriculture and encouraged them to incorporate small scale animal agriculture into their fruit orchards to build soil health. The family used a tractor and a few flocks of sheep and goats to clear the acreage of sugar cane left by the Mauna Kea Sugar company.
Puna greens is a family operation run by Daniel and Leo Cravalho and their three kids Khallie-Ann, Ammaron and Leon-Jay on their land in Fern Acres. They grow more than four varieties of hydroponic lettuce for restaurants, markets and CSAs. Daniel, who is originally from Oahu and has a background in irrigation, bought two parcels of land next to his parents’ land and started his hydroponics system in 2012.
The Family Farm
The Family Farm is a certified organic family operated farm that was started by Chris Yuen and Noelie Rodgriguez in Ninole 40 years ago. They have been selling organic bananas on Hawaii Island since 1993. In recent years their land partner Stephen Filipiak has taken the reigns on the banana business while Noelie has been expanding to small scale crops of garden vegetables in her retirement.
Bob and Janice Stanga started Hamakua Mushrooms on the beautiful Hamakua coast over 17 years ago. They grow their Ali’i Oyster mushrooms in an environmentally controlled 16,00 sq. ft. production facility located in Laupahoehoe. Using automated, specialty equipment and cultivation methods from Japan, they grow their mushrooms in a substrate of corncob, wheat bran and sawdust, in bottles that can be re-used for years.
Dam Fine Farm
Five years ago, Kristen and Jay Adair started Dam Fine Farms to spend more time with family and grow their own food.
After Kristen’s dad fell ill with rat lung worm, she felt compelled to grow her own veggies with meticulous attention to safety. Dam Fine Farms treats their property heavily for slugs and grows all produce in beds that are raised significantly, so that produce is never affected by the spray they apply to the ground.
Sweet Cane Cafe
Sweet Cane Farm was started in 2002. The crop that flourished immediately was sugarcane, and the abundance of this crop led to the creation of Sweet Cane Café, which opened in 2011. Our farm-to-table café focuses on organic local food and is vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Our organic cane juice is a delicious and nutritious form of sugar and is used in our smoothies and sorbets.
The farm also supplies the café with organically grown bananas, taro, ulu, citrus, cassava and garden greens.
Image: Cherub, Jackie holding granddaughter Sointula, Jasmine, Seraphina, Rosey
Rincon Family Farm
Rincon Family Farm has been in business for over 30 years. Our main crop is
strawberries but we also grow sweet corn, green beans and various root
vegetables. The farm is located in Kamuela, Weimea on the dry side of the island.
Strawberries grow in cooler, higher climates and Kamuela’s elevation lends itself
perfectly to this crop. Most of our strawberries are sold locally to markets, restaurants and resorts and we are excited to also offer them to DA BOX customers. We hope you enjoy your strawberries!
Rainbow Island Farm
Fern Acres, Hawai'i
Mahalo for inviting Rainbow Island Produce into your home. Our farm has been providing local hydroponic greens to East Hawai’i for over two decades! Lettuce has always been our primary crop but keep your eyes open for additional fruits and veggies coming your way in 2020. As we are all forced to change our tried and true routines, trying to make the best decisions we can make for our families, Rainbow Island Produce will be here with healthy and fresh options to keep your diet on track. Thank you for supporting Hawaii Island Food Basket and your local farmers!!
King Laulau Brand Poi
Jim and Gretchen Cain have run a family owned poi shop in Honoka’a since 1997. They consider
it a blessing to call Waipi’o Valley their adopted home for the past 30 years, following
in the footsteps of Waipi’o kupuna who have passed on their knowledge of the Waipi’o lifestyle including growing taro and making poi.
Jim and Gretchen farm about 6 acres of lo’i, and aggregate taro from about a dozen other farmers in the valley, to make King Laulau Brand Poi in the traditional Waipi’o style, thick with very little added water. According to Jim, “The kupuna who taught me how to make poi stressed to me don’t add too much water. The poi should stand up proud in the bag. The best way we know to honor those who taught us is to carry on these traditions and keep producing. It’s not just our name on the bag, it is also a reflection of those who came before us and so willingly shared. It is a big kuleana to represent the abundance of Waipi’o Valley and we don’t take this responsibility lightly.” King Laulau Brand Poi can be found in Hilo at Kai Store and Poke to Your Taste and this week in our DA BOX program!
Hawai'i 'Ulu Cooperative
The Hawai’i ‘Ulu Cooperative formed in 2016 with just nine farmer members, today they have over 80 members who steward over 4,000 ‘ulu trees. The Hawai’i ‘Ulu Cooperative is rooted in community values and believes in the potential of ‘ulu to help transform the local food system. Frozen ‘ulu products can also be found at KTA, island naturals, and the Locavore Store.
Csiszar Olena Farm
Serena St Cyr first began growing the tasty greens as a nutritious way to supply her own pantry with continually fresh greens. When friends started asking, she started building out her greenhouse to accommodate the growing appetite for the vibrant sprouts. Today the harvest she supplies several restaurants as well as DA BOX program.
With the exception of help from his keiki and a rascally farm cat or two, Chad’s Organics is a one man operation. He started out by giving away his produce to friends and family eventually ramping up production to create a small CSA. This business model helped him finance his fledgling business until he was able to streamline it to what it is today
S. Andres Hydroponics
Alpha-Omega Hydroponics (AOH) is a family-owned Company founded in 2006, and began when Johnald was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD). He began to think of outlets to grow vegetables, so he knew what he was consuming and where it came from. After researching about hydroponics and trying to refine techniques, he later found a balance and wanted to share it with the community.
Johnson Family Farm
We are a third generation family farm. We grow organic fruits and vegetables and strive to ripped the best product to our island communities.