Farm Friday: Farmers & Friends at the Red Barn Farmstand
This roadside stand in Hale‘iwa is bringing together local farmers and customers to talk story and eat at monthly events.
Last month, the Red Barn Farmstand in Hale‘iwa launched Farmers & Friends, with a special lunch menu featuring the bounty of local farmers and artisans.
Photos: Courtesy of Dawn Sakamoto Paiva
Two summers ago a bright red barn went up in Hale‘iwa, on the corner of Kamehameha Highway and Cane Haul Road. And no one knew why.
Turns out, Al Medrano of nearby Twin Bridge Farms built it by himself, on property leased by the Waialua farm. The plan was to construct a roadside stand that sold diverse fruits and vegetables grown on the North Shore. But Medrano and partner Milton Agader didn’t necessarily want to run it themselves. So they pitched the idea to the women who run Holoholo General Store, a popular community-supported agriculture (CSA) program, and Holoholo Farm, a five-acre diversified farm in Hale‘iwa. The women took over the barn and, in October 2016, opened the Red Barn Farmstand, a lively space that sells locally grown produce and food products, and serves salads, sandwiches, burritos and grilled Kahuku corn. This week you can find mangoes, lychee, avocados, pineapples, mushrooms and tomatoes—among other produce—grown on North Shore farms.
In April, the Red Barn Farmstand started hosting a Friday event called Farmers & Friends, with a special lunch menu that showcases a featured farmer or artisan. Guests can talk story with the farmers or food producers and learn about how they farm or craft their products, and what are the best ways to use them. The event includes an afternoon barbecue, with pau hana live music from 4 to 6 p.m.
The first Farmers & Friends event on April 28 featured second-generation farmers Stephanie and Robert Nozawa of Nozawa Farms and Kai Cowell of Ka‘iulani Spices. The menu showcased local ingredients, from the fresh Nozawa Farm corn salad to the barbecued Kualoa Ranch brisket and ribs.
The next one is on June 16 and will feature Mānoa Chocolate from Kailua. The entire lunch menu will be designed around its artisan chocolates.
A close-up of the plate served at the first Farmers & Friends event, which featured Nozawa Farms and Ka‘iulani Spices.
The first Farmers & Friends event featured Nozawa Farms and its sweet Kahuku corn.
“It’s like running your own restaurant, cooking the food, working with farmers, doing the CSA. It’s been absolutely crazy,” says Holoholo’s Jill Nordby, who grew up on a grain farm in Manitoba, Canada. “But the response has been incredible and that’s what keeps us fueled—as hard as it gets—and keeps us fulfilled.”
About three weeks ago, Nordby and her partner, Jamie Sexton, hired Adam Ramos, a frequent customer who most recently worked in the kitchen at Luibueno’s Mexican and Latin Cuisine in Hale‘iwa. (His wife, Mandy, also helps out at the stand, making baked goods once a week.) Ramos will likely modify the menu a bit, but the already-popular items, including the sweet-potato hummus and mac-nut pesto, will remain.
The space, which totals about 400 square feet inside the barn and the lawn surrounding it, is also available for parties and events.
“We always wanted to do cooking demos and feature chefs and tap into our network of farmers and artisans,” Nordby says. “We’re with them all the time, listening to their stories about where their produce came from and sharing facts. But now they can come and do the demo and talk story [to customers themselves] and that’s so valuable.”
Farmers & Friends, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday, June 16, 66-320 Kamehameha Highway, Hale‘iwa. Cost is $25 and includes a starter, main dish, drink and dessert. (808) 753-4350, redbarnfarmstand.com.