Cover Story continued

Image: COURTESY KAHUMANA ORGANIC FARM

A table on the farm

Wai’anae Restaurant is right in the midst of the garden

Down a hot, dry road in the Lualualei Valley, Kahumana Organic Farm and Café rests in the midday sun. There are big, shady mango trees, offices, retreat centers, and living spaces. The bluebird-hued Café beckons.

The restaurant is an arm of Alternative Structures International (A.S.I.), a local non-profit organization with projects that include transitional housing for families, job training, and care for the developmentally disabled. The kitchen is a job training site and a “model for sustainability and healthy living”.

We step into a big, airy dining room walled with open windows looking out on gardens laced with butterflies. Vegetables and herbs line up in rows. Families cruise about. Chickens peck the ground.

There’s a screened-in lanai where the sturdy wooden tables are set but it’s full. So we’re seated inside looking out by a server who explains that she is a volunteer with WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) and it’s her first day on the job. She and her husband sold everything and set off to travel. They’re working at Kahumana Farm for a few weeks, living there, eating meals in the café.

“I probably picked those yesterday,” Tiffany says, as she delivers a large salad. I munch delightedly. My friend tries a simple, light vegetable soup ($3.50) and declares it tasty. I sip a tangy Kahumana Cooler of citrus and herbs. The Daily Special ($12-$15) offers a choice of organic chicken, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, or tofu-veggie stir-fry.

I can’t even finish my abundant tofu-vegetable plate. My dining companion demolishes a Mexican Veggie Wrap with Grilled ‘Ahi ($13). After a yummy chocolate dessert ($3) we walk out, feeling good.

Kahumana Organic Farm and Café 86-660 Lualualei Homestead Rd.. 11:30am–2pm; 6–7:30pm, Tues-Sat; 696-8844, [www.KahumanaFarms.org]