Cover Story continued

All‘i Chang in his Kula lavender field.
Image: Rae Huo, courtesy of Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture

Farm tours

There are no lack of eco-activities on the Islands: from hiking to snorkeling to kayaking. But other books and guides cover these more thoroughly than we have space for. So here’s another idea for greening your vacation: farm tours. Visit some of our Islands’ farmers to experience their efforts in making Hawaii more self-sufficient. Along the way, you might taste something that you’ll decide is worth preserving.

Kauai

Kunana Dairy

Ninety percent of the compost and fertilizer at Kunana Dairy’s orchards is produced from on-site goats and chickens. But you’re not here to see poop–it’s the cute goats and Kunana Dairy’s goat cheese you’re after.

4552 Kapuna Rd., Kilauea, tours cost $20/person, [kauaikunanadairy.com], (808) 651-5046

Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill

Tour the only rice mill left in the Islands and visit the fields where the Haraguchi family once farmed rice and now grow taro. Their farm is located in the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, not normally open to the public. Tours are three hours and include lunch. (Note: tours will resume in May 2010, as Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama, who conducts the tours, is currently on maternity leave.)

5-5070 Kuhio Hwy., Hanalei, rates start at $55 for kamaaina, (808) 651-3399 to reserve, [haraguchiricemill.org]

Maui

Oo Farm

Oo Farm in Upcountry Maui supplies PacificO and IO restaurants in Lahaina. This 8.5-acre biodynamic farm not only grows the usual tropical fruits, but also experiments with cooler-weather mainland fruits like peaches and apples. Tour and fresh-picked lunch are offered every Wednesday and Thursday from 10:30am to 1pm.

Rates start at $50/person, (808) 667-4341 to reserve a spot, [oofarm.com]

Alii Kula Lavender

Taking a walk through lavender fields is relaxing in itself; the views from upcountry Maui make it even more lovely. Stop for tea and a scone and pretend you’re in Provence, or right here in Kula, Maui.

1100 Waipoli Rd., Kula, tours start at $12/person, [aliikulalavender.com], (808) 878-3004

ONO Organic Farms

Rejuvenate after a long drive to Hana with a tropical fruit tour and tasting. Depending on what’s in season, you might try jackfruit, soursoup, white and chocolate sapote, or egg fruit. Tours are available by reservation Monday through Friday beginning at 1:30pm and run for about 90 minutes.

$35/person, (808) 248-7779, [onofarms.com]

Big Island

Big Island Abalone

By Kona International Airport, at the National Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority, where alternative energies are being researched, deep-sea water is pumped into tanks that contain growing abalone (and other shellfish).

Tours take place Monday through Thursday at noon. $10/person, [bigislandabalone.com], (808) 334-0034

Twelve Trees Project

In this demonstration orchard, 12 fruit trees were chosen by island chefs, fruit buyers and growers in an effort to provide a quality, year-round supply of tropical fruit for local markets. The 12 fruit are cherimoya, fig, poha, mysore raspberry, grumichama, rangpur lime, tropical apricot, pomegranate, kumquat, loquat, surinam cherry and tree tomatoes. Perhaps you haven’t heard of of these fruit until now, but if all goes well, you might hear more about them. Student chefs at the West Hawaii Community College culinary school are developing recipes for the fruit, and at the end of the project, growers will be encouraged to plant the successful fruit varieties.

82-5810 Napoopoo Rd., Captain Cook, self-guided tours Mon–Fri, 8am–3:30pm, [hawaiifruit.net] , (808) 328-2411