Farm Friday: 2 Lady Farmers in Wai‘anae
A school counselor and a third-generation farmer team up to raise grain-fed pigs on O‘ahu’s West Side.
Patsy Oshiro, a third-generation farmer, left, and Stacy Sugai, a school counselor, run 2 Lady Farmers in Wai‘anae.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox
Seven years ago, Stacy Sugai, a school counselor, decided to buy a pig farm in Wai‘anae.
She had never worked on a farm—her little garden and aquaponics system at her Waipahu home didn’t count—and had no experience with pigs. She thought living on a farm would be a step toward self-sufficiency.
“Yeah, that went out the door,” Sugai says, laughing. “I was totally consumed by just running the pig farm.”
The day Sugai moved in, Patsy Oshiro and her husband, who were neighbors and third-generation pig farmers, came over to pick up their forklift from the property. (Sugai had purchased the old Derego pig farm in Mikilua Valley.) They politely offered to help Sugai, who admitted this was her first foray into farming. She quickly took them up on that offer, and the couple came over all the time, for hours, to help her on her farm. The two women—both graduates of Mid-Pacific Institute—instantly clicked.
“Two weeks into this, I felt like [Patsy] was my best friend,” Sugai says. “We worked well together, we were like-minded, we complemented each other.”
After a few years, Oshiro and her husband decided to downsize their own farm. She got a job—her first outside the farm—as an inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And she started to spend more time with Sugai and her 300 pigs. By the beginning of 2016, the two friends officially went into business together and 2 Lady Farmers began. They made a commitment to feeding their pigs pricey, nonmedicated grain feed—not slop—and never using hormones or antibiotics. They started selling their pork under the name PS Pork (P for Patsy, S for Stacy) to Foodland and Sack N Save stores.
Oshiro and her husband ran their own pig farm just down the street. In 2016, she joined Sugai to start 2 Lady Farmers.
One of the hundreds of pigs at 2 Lady Farmers. These pigs are feed high-quality grain feed, never slop.
Meanwhile, that same year, Shinsato Farm in Kahulu‘u, which had supplied pork to local restaurants and customers for 74 years, shut down its operation and sold its property, including a certified slaughterhouse. Owners Glenn and Amy Shinsato, who ran the farm for the last 16 years and raised clean, healthy hogs, met Sugai and Oshiro and were impressed by what the two women were doing. Not only did the Shinsatos pass along their valuable client list to Sugai and Oshiro—2 Lady Farmers pork is now served in dozens of restaurants, including Koko Head Café, Basalt, Town, Grondin, Arancino at the Kāhala, the Sheraton Waikīkī and the Halekūlani—the couple also gave them their breeding pigs.
“It was really chicken skin,” Sugai says.
And beyond that, the Shinsatos, in their retirement, sell 2 Lady Farmers’ pork products at various farmers markets on O‘ahu.
“They have been so generous to us,” Sugai says. “We are so grateful to them. They said so many people had helped them along the way. This was their way of giving back.”
Cute little piggy.
Both women still work their day jobs—Sugai as a counselor, Oshiro as a USDA inspector—while running the pig farm. But it’s obvious from the way they walk around the pens, talking about the personalities of certain pigs, hand-feeding them treats made from macadamia nuts, making sure they’re all happy and content, that they love this job. And they believe in what they’re doing: providing high-quality, locally raised pork to Hawai‘i consumers.
“We believe Hawai‘i needs to grow and supply more of its own food,” Sugai says. “Our goal is to be trailblazers for our industry to help encourage the next generation and help pig farming become viable once again.”
This is part of an occasional series called Farm Friday, which highlights Hawai‘i’s vibrant and diverse agricultural industry. Every month we will visit farms, talk to food producers and discuss issues that affect the community from which our food comes.
Join us for an evening of fantastic food, creative cocktails and exhilarating entertainment as we celebrate Hawai‘i’s very best restaurants at the 2018 Hale ‘Aina Awards: Destination Delicious on Sept. 17 at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Take a culinary trip around the world in one evening while you dine on artfully crafted dishes from Hawai‘i’s best chefs. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.