Support Hawai‘i’s Farmers and Get Produce Delivered to Your Door
These CSAs and veggie subscription boxes offer everything from papayas to bok choy, local steaks to Portuguese sausage with locally made pork.
Produce delivered by Farm link Hawai‘i includes pink oyster mushrooms, prepped and cooked ‘ulu, jicama, oranges and Kualoa Ranch meats
Photo: Martha Cheng
With restaurants slowing down or closing altogether, Hawai‘i’s farmers are finding themselves with too much produce on their hands. Almost all of “farmers’ restaurant and market sales have dried up,” says Rob Barreca, owner of Counter Culture Farm and Farm Link Hawai‘i, an online food hub. But there’s more at stake than wilted lettuce: If farmers stop planting or lose their farms altogether, we risk losing all the progress we’ve made in the past decade in feeding ourselves. In recent years, the number of small and large farms in the state was growing. Not since the plantations entered the Islands has there been such a widespread shift in agriculture—a shift in growing food for Hawai‘i. “We need farms to keep planting and keep growing food,” says Barreca. If this pandemic has shown us anything, it’s how interconnected we are, and how vulnerable we are to world supply chains. Here’s how to support our local farmers so we can feed ourselves now and in our future, when we come out of this together.
The following are O‘ahu’s CSAs (community supported agriculture), vegetable delivery and subscription box services. Most will deliver to your door; for MA‘O, you’ll need to pick up your veggies at designated sites around the island. The smaller produce boxes will generally feed one to two for a week if you’re cooking most of your own meals.
Most variety: Farm Link Hawai‘i
Farm Link Hawai‘i is an aggregator for mostly small farms across the island. Sign up for a CSA produce box ($30), which includes an assortment of veggies from Farm Link’s farms, or choose items à la carte, such as mushrooms from Small Kine Farm, bok choy from Kahumana Farm, prepped and frozen ‘ulu from the Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Co-op, and even local beef and pork from Kualoa Ranch.
Home delivery fee $15, farmlinkhawaii.com
Most economical option: O‘ahu Fresh
O‘ahu Fresh sources primarily from medium to larger-size farms including Ho Farms, Aloun Farms and Twin Bridge Farms. Sign up for a produce box, ranging from $20 to $35, depending on the size. There’s an option to add on specialty items such as MāʻiliMoa eggs and Waialua coffee.
Home delivery fee starts at $5, oahufresh.com
Keep it simple and organic: Kahumana Organic Farms
This Wai‘anae farm is a nonprofit that works with homeless families, people with disabilities and youth to provide housing, employment, resources and programs. Kahumana’s produce is available through Farm Link, but if you’d like to streamline your veggie buying, sign up directly with the farm to set up a weekly or biweekly all-Kahumana CSA box—which offers more fruit options than other produce boxes. Boxes range from $30 to $55, depending on the size, and you can also add on prepared foods such as ‘ulu chowder and stock up your pantry with dried fruit.
Prices include delivery fees, kahumana.org
Support a cause: MA‘O Organic Farms
MA‘O Organic Farms in Wai‘anae is the largest organic farm in Hawai‘i and is a nonprofit that provides college scholarships to West Side youth in exchange for an internship on the farm. The CSA box requires an eight-week commitment. Each box usually contains MA‘O’s Sassy salad mix, cooking greens, roots, fruit and herbs, depending on what’s in season.
Boxes $32, pick up at designated locations around the island, maoorganicfarms.org
Fish Fans: Local I‘a
This community-supported fishery hatched in 2014 and offers subscription boxes of whatever Hawai‘i fishermen and women have pulled from the water that week. Local I‘a also works with restaurants to supply onaga, mahimahi, aku and other catches of the day. Subscription boxes range from $25 for about 1½ to 2 pounds of seafood to $45 for the 3- to 4-pound ‘Ohana Box. Last time we checked, pickup sites stretched from Kailua to Sunset Beach, with more locations on the way.
Prices do not include delivery fees, localiahawaii.com
SEE ALSO: Afterthoughts: Eat and Greet
Note: Because all these farms and services are facing rising demand from household buyers, please be patient as they build up their own infrastructure. Farm Link, in order to accommodate the demand and their new home delivery service, is seeking $1 million in funding to secure a warehouse and cold storage, more vehicles, staff and to offer subsidized produce for those who can’t afford it.