Country Market at Kahuku Farms
Photos by Martha Cheng
When it comes to ag tourism, the Neighbor Islands have had it going on for awhile: lavender farm tours complete with afternoon tea, a chance to nuzzle with the goats that produce milk for your cheese. Not so much on Oahu, perhaps because the farms here tend less toward luxury niche products than commodity produce. Two of the largest farms in Hawaii are on Oahu: Sugarland Farms and Aloun Farms, both of which grow relatively unsexy fruits and veggies like peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, bananas. You know, the stuff we actually eat on a day-to-day basis.
But in this day and age of farm-to-table fervor and yet still-slim profit margins for farmers, even the larger farms are looking to diversify by adding ag tourism and value-added products to their revenue stream. Take Kahuku Farms—with 100+ acres of bananas, papayas, eggplant and luau leaf—which recently opened a country market complete with tractor rides.
The country market takes advantage of less-than-pretty fruits and veggies by blending them into smoothies (haupia pineapple, lilikoi joy) and churning them into ice cream (apple banana). There's really only one way to experience the ice cream here: on top of hot, grilled banana bread, doused in caramel and haupia syrup. The lone sandwich on the menu is satisfying: a vegetable panini with grilled eggplant, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes and fresh-pulled mozzarella, all dressed in a creamy, herby sauce and pressed between fresh bread. Almost everything (even the vanilla for ice cream) is grown and made on the farm. The store also offers products to enjoy later: a mango scone mix, mango jam, lilikoi jelly. So now you can put a farm to the veggies next time you're at the supermarket.
Open Friday to Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm, 56-800 Kamehameha Hwy., Kahuku, 372-7522, kahukufarms.com