Culinary Tourism in Hawaii Has Made the Islands a Food Lover’s Paradise
While the term “farm-to-table” has only secured its spot in the lexicon of the modern culinary world in recent years, the concept of consuming food and ingredients grown and raised in one’s “backyard” was long a part of the early Hawaiian creation of ahupuaa – mountain-to-sea natural resource management land division systems, which made it possible for communities to be self-sustaining. Beyond the selling and trade of agriculture within Hawaii, Native Hawaiians also embraced the practice and necessity of malama aina by implementing sustainable farming methods for future generations. Today, visitors can enjoy Hawaii’s abundance of fresh produce, meats and seafood in many restaurants, or go a step further and learn about where all of it comes from. From farms to fishponds, and ranches to ocean, the journey is as inspiring as it is delicious.
- Oahu – Reflective of the superior quality and flavor of local produce, many of the island’s notable chefs – including Andrew Le of The Pig and The Lady, Johan Svensson of BLT Market, and Lee Anne Wong of Koko Head Cafe – source ingredients for their menus directly from Oahu farms. From Kahumanu Farm, with its regenerative and biodynamic methods, to Kualoa Ranch, which has earned praise for its locally raised oysters and beef, farms all over Oahu are also playing an active role in their communities, providing vocational training and offering residents opportunities to reconnect to the land.
- Maui – Nestled in the upcountry farming community of Kula, Oo Farm encompasses eight acres of pristine land dedicated to growing quality produce. Founded as a citrus and stone fruit orchid with a few coffee trees, the farm now features multiple rows of lettuces and garden vegetables, and greenhouses with flavorful tomatoes, and herbs supplying several Lahaina eateries, including PacificO Restaurant, Feast at Lele, and Aina Gourmet Market. Visitors can even harvest ingredients for their own meal on an interactive farm tour.
- Island of Hawaii – In pre-contact Hawaii, agricultural systems constructed by Hawaiians fed a population of more than 30,000 people in the North Kohala District of Hawaii Island. Kalo (taro) was cultivated in the wetlands of Pololu Valley, and uala (sweet potato) and ko (sugar cane) in dry-land field systems to the south. The community of North Kohala remains committed to the revitalization of the area’s agricultural systems, continuing old world farming traditions in modern times. Farm tours, tastings and culinary celebrations in North Kohala attract residents and visitors.
- Kauai – Inspired by the healing capabilities of the noni tree, which is found on many Pacific islands, Kauai Farmacy owners Doug and Genna Wolkon designed their north shore Kauai garden to be a vault of herbal healing through plant medicine. Located alongside a river bend in Kilauea, Kauai Farmacy is grows more than 60 medicinal plants. Also known for its fine herbal teas, the four-acre farm welcomes guests to its “Medicinal Herb Garden Experience” tour.
Written by Siera Duiser: Siera Duiser is a travel agent with Destinations in Hawaii. She loves helping plan incredible vacations at no cost to you. Contact Siera to book your next vacation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-771-1290. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.