HONOLULU Staff Picks Hawaiʻi Favorites: Kahuku Farms Liliko‘i Balsamic Vinaigrette
In our latest look at local products we can buy right now, online, in stores or straight from the producer, we check out Kahuku Farms Liliko‘i Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Photo: Robbie Dingeman
My favorite way to buy Kahuku Farms Liliko‘i Balsamic Vinaigrette will always include a drive to the bright green café on the North Shore.
It’s good for my soul to jump in the car, roll down the windows and head up the Windward Coast, knowing I can usually buy a few bottles of the vinaigrette and eat lunch there, too. The dressing has that balance of sweet, tart and tangy so a salad only needs a squeeze or two. And I like to give it to friends and relatives on the Mainland. If I order a pesto veggie pizza with fresh greens for lunch, I’ll save room for some of the grilled banana bread drizzled with vanilla caramel and vanilla haupia. I’ve brought it home to share before, but it always seems to taste better when you’re eating it just yards away from where it’s grown. And at the café, that’s nearly everything on the plate: the bananas, papaya, liliko‘i, veggies, even the vanilla.
The café’s closed because of Honolulu’s stay-at-home order so the team of workers has been focused on farm operations and online sales, says fourth-generation farmer Kylie Matsuda-Lum. But she just told us that the café expects to open soon—May 22—for takeout. Happily, the liliko‘i balsamic vinaigrette is available online, for $6. It sometimes sells out, but when it does it’s usually restocked within a few days so check back on the website. Matsuda-Lum says the liliko‘i butter and the bath-and-body items are also selling well online.
Farm Pizza, Kale Smoothie and Papaya with Lilikoi
Photo: Courtesy of Kahuku Farms
While it’s been closed they’ve been creating new outdoor seating, under tents and umbrellas, with plenty of fresh air and social distancing. When they get the government go-ahead to serve people at the café, she says, “we will have private seating that’s really pretty, right in the middle of the tropical fruit trees.” People will be able to make reservations, order and pay for their food online so they can drive up and enjoy their meal free from needing to contact anyone in person.
Farm office coordinator Wallace Pelesasa says the farm continues to sell fresh papaya and eggplant through its regular markets: Foodland, Tamura’s and Don Quijote. He says recent email promotions are boosting direct online sales as well. Pelesasa says the farm emailed an online deal for body butter cream on a recent evening and 24 orders had arrived by the next morning.
Matsuda-Lum says the whole team at the farm is grateful for all the support for local farmers and food producers and is looking forward to getting back to serving—and seeing!—people at the café. And I’m looking forward to the drive, the food, a swim at Kahana Bay, a stop at the shrimp trucks, Kualoa Ranch store … everything. Until then, that little bottle of vinaigrette reminds me of all those possibilities.
56-800 Kamehameha Highway, Kahuku, (808) 628-0639, kahukufarms.com
Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman