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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.