Inside Look: Keiki and Plow Organic Farm’s U-Pick Harvests
Kids can pick their own vegetables, feed chickens, pet rabbits and explore at this keiki-friendly, organic family farm in Hawai‘i Kai.
Located at the base of Koko Head behind Kaiser High School are 4-acres of farmland created by a local family for local families. Co-owner Heather Mohr and her husband, Ryan, started Keiki and Plow in June, inspired by the fun their kids had with a 10-by-10 community garden in Kuli‘ou‘ou. A former preschool teacher and mother of three, Mohr now crafts a family-friendly farm experience with hands-on harvesting, a keiki play area, and a chicken coop where your little ones can feed the hens and even collect eggs, if they’re lucky.
“I want to make this a gathering place for families in the community,” Mohr said. “A place where people can slow down, connect and just let their kids play. There are so many lessons we can learn while outdoors, and farms are a way to apply science to real life.”
Everything at Keiki and Plow is planned with kids in mind. The farm opens Tuesday and Thursday mornings for U-pick harvesting, chicken feeding and other keiki activities. A visiting donation of $5 per family is requested for animal feed costs. There is free parking on site so kids have time to pick vegetables from the garden before they swing by the chicken coop.
There, the farm’s 45 free-range chickens lay large, organic eggs in a variety of colors, including robin’s egg blue. Families can also attend kid-friendly work days and potlucks once a month. Keiki and Plow is a new site for our HONOLULU Family Volunteer Day on Jan. 6, 2018.
That’s just the beginning. The Mohrs are currently building a keiki slide that will connect the chicken coop and play area to their front terrace, which will eventually be turned into a Keiki Discovery Garden for community workshops. For now, though, the fresh produce and U-pick harvests are the focus.
We asked Mohr for her tips for making the most of your visit.
- Bring your own basket or bag for harvesting. Make space for all of those veggies and place them in a bag or basket so you don’t have to haul them around.
- Come early for the best selection. Produce is fresh first thing in the morning, so plan to arrive early to pick the freshest greens possible. The eggs have been in high demand and often sell out.
- Bring water. It can get hot when you’re in the farm terrace, so be sure to put on sunscreen and bring a water bottle. Don’t forget to wear closed toe shoes or boots.
- Use the bathroom before you start. Keiki and Plow does not have a public restroom. It is in the plans for the future, but for now, you’ll have to go off site to go.
- Bring your organic food scraps. The Mohrs encourage visitors to bring in their organic food scraps to feed to the chickens and bunnies. According to Mohr, quite a few families that visit keep an old milk carton in their freezer to add scraps to throughout the week. This keeps the smell and risk of bugs down and the chickens actually love the frozen food as a refreshing treat.
- Do not park in the cul-de-sac. When you drive up to farm, head up the driveway and take a left by the “Parking” sign. There’s an open field for cars. If the parking area is full, you can park on the street, but not within the cul-de-sac as this is an emergency turnabout and cars will be ticketed.
- Call ahead for specific produce. Right now, Keiki and Plow grows several vegetables and herbs including Swiss chard, Toscano kale, butter lettuce, sweet corn, radishes, green onion, dill, thyme, carrots and beets. Availability varies weekly so call ahead to hear the selection. Mohr also posts the produce ready to pick on the farm’s Instagram and Facebook page, where folks can message her directly to purchase.
- Help your little ones with harvesting. According to Mohr, younger keiki are most proficient at harvesting vegetables like radishes, beets and green onion—crops that are pulled entirely from the soil. Crops that need to be harvested one leaf at a time like kale and Swiss chard are more suited for older kids or little ones with Mom or Dad’s help.
- Remember to wash your pickings. Like any vegetables plucked straight from the garden, you do need to thoroughly clean it before eating. Cold, running water and scrubbing should do the trick.
Keiki and Plow, 587 Pakala St., behind Kaiser High School. Open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. Families can volunteer every first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon. For more information, connect with Keiki and Plow on Facebook and Instagram or call (808) 208–2740.