GROW O'ahu

Island Style Gardening and Plant-Based Living

Know Your Farmer


While we work to make ourselves more self-sustaining, it is not realistic yet that we could possibly grow everything we need on our little rental property in the ‘burbs.

And we eat a lot of papaya and banana, so I thought it would be a nice family field trip to go see where our fruit of choice comes from.

So off to the North Shore we went!

Starting with a fabulous lunch, which we devoured so quickly I didn’t even get a photo (hint: the Farm Pizza and grilled panini were divine!)  We ended lunch with quite possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had in my whole life.  That is saying something, ‘cuz this Girl has had a lot of desserts.

Grilled. Banana. Bread. Ala Mode.  Its their specialty, made on-site from scratch.  Some things should never, I repeat never, become automated or outsourced!

After dessert, we played with some outdoor toys and balls at the cafe.  Very smart and simple to provide these things! It’s like someone has seen restless children before.

Next up, we all pile onto the wagon to go for a ride around the farm.

Papaya trees are so beautiful with the sunshine coming through the leaves.

You may or may not know that bananas are formed from flowers (a basic difference between a fruit and a vegetable, which is why it can be argued that cucumbers and tomatoes and eggplant are fruit too, as they form from flowers.)  The enormous purple flower of the banana tree blooms and inside are what will become each banana.

It was perhaps the most beautiful day we could have gone on the farm tour, and the breeze, sunlight and crunch of mulch under foot was so relaxing.

On Kahuku Farms, they grow a variety of things, but as a commercial operation, one of the most important is the dryland taro which is grown exclusively for the leaves.  These leaves get wrapped around pork, chicken and sweet potatoes and sold as packaged lau lau, one of the most popular local dishes.

All the harvesting, processing and boxing up of produce is still done by hand here, and this building is where it all happens.  Also inside is the certified kitchen where yummy goodness like the banana bread is made.  They also are doing a great thing by having those solar panels on the top, which according to our guide, produce almost all the energy they need.

This was a great way to spend an afternoon.  From our first hello at the cafe counter to the tour and fruit samples at the end, I was impressed.  I always knew that being a farmer is hard work, especially when you are doing what you can to stay sustainable, diversify and provide workers with meaningful employment.  I can’t think of more important reasons to buy local.

So hey, Kylie and Judah, if you guys need a master gardener to help with that farm-to-table concept at your cafe, hit me up! And thanks for the fun afternoon. You folks are doing a good thing. 🙂


Author: Carmen

Things I love: justice in all forms; flowers; locally grown food; cloth-diapering; breastfeeding; feminist theory; outdoor play; beaches; wine; Divine interventions; 4-H and coffee. Things I loathe: racism; homophobia; toxic crap; misogyny; litterbugs; the zombie apocalypse and pitbull-haters. My formal education is in sociology, gender studies, and public policy. I'm also a Lactation Educator; 4-H Youth Development coordinator a Certified Master Gardener and a graduate of a Permaculture Design Course. I've been blogging for several years on dozens of topics- everything from women's health to breed-specific legislation. But the thing I like to write about most is my gardening, food adventures and my kids. So there you have it. Please be kind. Thanks.

10 thoughts on “Know Your Farmer

  1. I hadn’t seen this post when I said, “More pictures!” 🙂 I didn’t realize you’re on Oahu. I lived on Wilhelmina Rise in Kaimuki for six years. Where are you?

  2. Thank you for all the banana info. I had no idea they came from flowers!

  3. I had no idea what they grew like. The flower must be huge! Thank you so much for sharing this. That cake…it looks so moist!

  4. This looks like a very neat place. And that dessert! Oh. My.

  5. Pingback: We Have Doubles! | Weed'em and Eat'em


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