The Locavore Experience

Eating locally turns all of Honolulu into urban foraging grounds. It means perusing the vendors and chatting up farmers at the Blaisdell Farmers’ Market to cover the basic foodstuffs like tomatoes, greens and butter (yes, butter is a staple). It’s finding the hidden treasures in a (very) early morning at the Kalihi People’s Open Market with ulu, Waiahole poi, jade blossoms and bananas that come in shades of bluish-green, and then joining the crowds at the KCC market for heart of palm, figs and MA‘O’s vegetables for a taste of Lualeilei Valley terroir (even Wai‘anae has its own terroir!).

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Naked Cow Dairy, O‘ahu’s only dairy

Sisters Monique van der Stroom and Sabrina St. Martin thought about naming their all-female (both of the human and bovine kind) dairy the Diva Dairy. Except, well, none of them are really divas. They show us the farm in worn T-shirts and thick rubber boots, van der Stroom stepping away from repairs on processing equipment, and St. Martin from churning butter. Throughout our farm tour, their cell phones ring non-stop–a call about a broken water pump, about a grant, details for van der Stroom’s trip to bring back processing equipment from California. The dairy business in Hawai‘i is no place for divas. An endangered industry, once large enough to supply all the islands’ demands, has now dwindled down to three dairies: two on the Big Island and Naked Cow Dairy in Wai‘anae.

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Taste of the Hawaiian Range

It’s easy to forget Hawai‘i’s still-active paniolo culture. We may think of riding horses and roping cattle the stuff of childhood dreams, a result of watching too many Westerns. Any vestiges of cowboy culture left are confined to states like Texas. But every year, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range reminds us otherwise. Hilton Waikoloa fills with ranchers in cowboy boots and hats and a twang in their voices, and when the event opens, hungry attendees rush through the doors, like cattle left too long in the corral. One half expects the paniolo to start roping individuals in the crowd.

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MA‘O Farms: From vegetal to digital Waianae youth are doing amazing work

mao2MA‘O Organic Farms is the largest organic farm on Oahu, and while the fruits and vegetables harvested from its Waianae soils are so sought after by restaurants and institutions that the farm has a waitlist, what really sets MA‘O apart is its commitment to youth. The name itself, MA‘O, is an acronym for mala ‘ai ‘opio, which translates to “the youth food garden.”

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North Shore Cattle Company: Doc Lum’s Legacy

cowWhen Calvin “Doc” Lum retired, he leased a parcel of land high above the North Shore, quiet and breezy with expansive views of the ocean and the Waianae range. Not so uncommon for retirees looking for a peaceful place to rest, but it wasn’t for himself. Rather, these thousand acres were for his cattle, and it was the beginning of the North Shore Cattle Company.

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Like Coffee for Wine

For Duane Harens, who has tasted over a million wines and opened at least 150,000 bottles in his lifetime, it’s only natural that he would apply his well-honed palate to other liquid pleasures.

When he’s not out in his coffee fields, tending to the trees and roasting coffee, he’s brewing beer and taking home medals in a recent Kona Brewfest homebrew competition. Whether it’s food, wine, beer or coffee, the former head sommelier of the Kahala Hilton and Ritz Carlton Mauna Lani says “tasting is ingrained in my brain.”

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