I have a Hawaiian Uncle here on Island who is in his 80s. He is so strong and fit. I love listening to him tell me stories about growing up on Kauai in the 30s and 40s, about ranching in the 60s when Princeville was just ranchland and there were no resorts. The power for the entire island came from the Wainiha Power plant (water power) and there were practically no (if not none at all ) chemicals being sprayed on island.
I personally feel that this is why Ed is so strong and healthy, even in his mid 80s. He grew up with “organic” food and a chemical free environment. He looks as though he’s in his 60s and he works every day taking care of his land and animals more as though he’s in his 20s. He really does. He never sprays his bananas and they are the best! They taste amazing. Ed really encompasses the Aloha Spirit which you can read about here.
This is a subject dear to my heart, definitely one of my favorite topics to talk and write about. So this post is focusing on Organic anything and everything on Kauai. It’s not so long ago that mention of Organic would in some cases be met with eyes being rolled and protestations of “I’ve been eating non organic food all my life and I’m still healthy” or “it’s more expensive”. But times have changed, thankfully, with more and more people realizing that Organic Food just means real food, it just means that it hasn’t been sprayed with toxic cancer causing chemicals that are bad for people, animals, birds, bees and the entire environment. For Kauai, that means Organic Kauai is something that is good for everyone.
Organic Farms on Kauai
Let’s start with the wonderful Organic Farms on Kauai. And there are lots. Many of them are on the North Shore but they are to be found island wide. Moloaa Organica is the biggest on the island and now supplies the farmer’s markets, the organic stores including Healthy Hut, Harvest Market, Hoku foods in Kapa’a Papaya’s and also some of the island’s most gourmet restaurants. They even now supply Wholefoods market on Oahu.
Started in 2002 by Ned & Marta Whitlock Moloa’a Organica has grown into not only the largest organic farm (and most diverse) but they also employ the most people thereby supporting the community of Kauai too. They now do a farm tour and offer the opportunity to intern there to learn organic farming techniques. They produce everything from Kale to Moringa, from Basil to Olena (Tumeric) and from Mango to Cacao. And all Organic. They are at all the North Shore and East side Farmer’s Markets. A wonderful Organic Kauai farm.
Wootens in Anahola, have been around for even longer than Moloa’a Organica. 20 acres that used to be a Pineapple farm is where they grow their wonderful produce . (their Avocadoes are the best) but they also supply many of the gourmet restaurants and Organic shops.
You can also order directly from John and Nandanie Wooten. They don’t even have a website… too busy in the gardens. But they supply the Kauai Juice Co and all the Organic food stores. You might recognize their bright yellow sticker on an Avocado one day. Photo courtesy of John & Nandanie Wooten.
Then there’s Growing Strong Farms on the Eastside who have been growing since the 70s, Kunani Farmas, Kaillani Farms, Kauai Sunrise Farms, Olana Farm, Kauai Organic Farms (Olena) and the Kuleana Dairy and Kauai Noni Farm.
and then there’s the Kauai Farmacy. I will be doing an entire post on the amazing Kauai Farmacy. For now, suffice it to say that Doug & Genna Wolkon, in a few short years (about 9) have created an Herb Farm dedicated to healing; they are practicing the ancient art of La’au lapa’au without ever calling it such. Following their own healing journey with the Noni leaf after coming to Kauai a few years back, they purchased 4 acres on the North shore and started growing more herbs. Medicinal herbs (Hawaiian mostly to start) and make teas, tinctures and salves that heal. Their products are all organic and I can personally attest to their effectiveness.
Above is a photo of the absolutely gorgeous Lilikoi Flower (Passion Fruit). This is used in Kauai Farmacy’s Tranquility Tea (which I drink every night and highly recommend) and also their Lilikoi tincture. Calming and relaxative, Lilikoi is highly effective in helping sleep come naturally and to calm stressful feelings. Photos courtesy of the Kauai Farmacy and Dominque
Kauai Farmacy is truly a farm to “pot” operation. I have volunteered there myself and worked harvesting Tulsi for example, then prosessed the Tulsi and watched it being put into the large solar dehydrators (no electricity involved). Then within a couple of days that Tulsi is into one of the medicinal, delicious teas being sent to you, wherever you are in the world. Their teas work wonders and so do the tinctures. They do a tour every Wednesday and Friday and I highly recommend a visit.
When you visit, you will see the lovely people who work in the gardens; they are all people who clearly love the land, the herbs and plants and love what they do. That’s quite an important ingredient. ….. harvested and made with love. Many of Kauai’s organic farms have a similar energy – the true values encompassing the concept of Ohana and community.
Kauai Organic at the Kauai Farmacy.
What’s even more interesting is that there is a proliferation of small families on 3 – 10 acres (and smaller) where more and more people are growing food for themselves and their extended families…. now that is wonderful. It’s almost as though people are re-creating the Ahupua’a of ancient Hawaii.
What is an Ahupua’a ? It was the name given to a tranche of land, triangular in shape that goes from the top of the mountain down to the ocean, rather like a slice of pizza with the ocean end being the wide angle. Kauai and all the Hawaiian islands were divided into these Ahupua’as and different families would have the Kuleana (responsibility, but this encapsulates Spiritual responsibility, not just practical responsibility) to care for the aina thereon. That mean the land and the ocean. That meant the food that was grown, the people and animals that lived there.
I know I’m not alone in feeling that this way of living is the way forward. Wouldn’t be wonderful if we all were growing our own food and teach our children these ways too.
Now I’m not saying that the restaurants below serve exclusively organic produce, but they do all buy organic produce from Kauai farms and local as much as possible. That’s a plus for me. Isn’t it a good feeling to know that the food on your plate was grown just a mile or two away? That means it’s fresh, alive and healthy for you.
Ama Hanalei, Bar Acuda Hanale, Akamai Juice Co, Hanalei, Fresh Bite, Hanalei, Cafe Tumeric Hanalei, Healthy Hut, Kauai Juice Co, Our Place Kapa’a, Kilauea, JO2, Kapa’a, Papaya’s Kapa’a, Merriman’s Koloa, Eating House Koloa (Roy Yamaguchi), Tortilla Republic Grill, Koloa, Living Foods Cafe, Poipu.
Organic Food Stores
Harvest Market, Hanalei
On the left hand side at the end of Hanalei, to the front of Bar Acuda. Not a huge store but they do carry a good range of organic produce and products. They also have a smoothie bar, deli and salad bar and soup. There is not designated seating area but they are right in front of the green in Hanalei.. so hey, you’re in Hanalei!
Healthy Hut, Kilauea
At Kilauea Crossings, right by the road just before the turn off to Kilauea Town. They have a good selection of organic produce from local farms as much as possible, as well as regular organic products.
They also have a reasonable though not huge selection of bulk produce and a great smoothie, raw juice and “shots” bar. Try the “Turbo” shot which is Olena (Tumeric, Orange, Ginger, cayenne, black pepper) or the Omega (local coconut water,ginger,fish oil,fresh orange juice). The salad bar is always good and they have daily specials, always including a soup. The specials vary, sometimes terrific, sometimes not so great, but always locally sourced and freshly prepared.
Kauai Juice Co, Kilauea, Kapa’a & Poipu
The Juice Co produces fresh juices every day made from organic local produce from Kauai farmers. Yummy and so healthy. They also have a range of delicious nut milks which are also definitely yummy and healthy. Then they do a couple of food items every day in glass jars which are also excellent. I particularly like the marinated Kelp Noodle Salad. One terrific them about them is that all the products are in glass jars and you can bring your jars back in part exchange for more products. Excellent.
Hoku is my favorite go to for bulk items and reasonably priced Organic food and produce. They have a wide variety of bulk items and again, organic locally sourced produce. Unlike Healthy Hut and Papaya’s, they don’t have a cafe/salad bar but they do stock local yummy stuff like deli specials. Cute outside seating area and they also have plants and seeds.
This is the oldest Organic store in Kapa’a and possibly on island that is currently still open. Good range of everything but not as reasonable as they used to be. I, like many others, bemoan the move they made from their old place in the Safeway shopping plaza to the space they currently occupy where parking is difficult and the layout is not so great. The cafe food is good but not terrific and reasonably priced. Good smoothies.
Vim n Vigor, Lihue
This has been there a long time too but is small so has a much more limited stock than any of the east side or North shore place. But it’s good to know there is a place in lihue to get Organic produce when you need.
Living Foods, Poipu
This is a relative newcomer only opened in the last couple of years. Good range of produce though it’s more “wholefoods” than Hoku. Wonderful though that there is now an organic store in Poipu, it’s been missing for some time. There is also a cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The subject of Organic Kauai is vast and I was intending to include a list of local Kauai Organic produce in this post. But that’s another post!