In 1848, under the auspices of his friend, Kauai’s last queen, Deborah Kapule (1798?-1853), missionary Rev. George Rowell (1815-1884) of the Waimea Mission Station was awarded a sizable land grant at Waimea to “pasture his dairy cattle.”
At first, Rowell’s “Waimea Dairy” — where he pastured 20 milking cows in 1853 — only supplied the needs of his family and other missionaries at Waimea, but he later expanded it for commercial purposes.
His pastures consisted of sand lands, swamp and other land grant properties of marginal quality.
Meanwhile, Rowell’s productive, soil-rich lands were leased to various sugarcane planters.
A year after Rowell’s death in 1884, the Rowell family leased the dairy itself and its pasture lands to E. E. Conant. Then, about ten years later, sugar planter H. P. Faye (1859-1928) convinced his wife Margaret Lindsay Faye’s family to move their Moloaa dairy to Waimea to consolidate with Waimea Dairy.
When Conant moved to Maui in 1899, the Rowells re-leased Waimea Dairy to T. Brandt and E. Olmstead.
In 1904, Faye, by then manager of Kekaha Sugar Co., purchased the dairy from then owner Olmstead, and the dairy pastures from the Rowells, to ensure milk supplies for Kekaha Sugar Co.
By 1923, Waimea Dairy was milking 25 cows and selling 200 quarts daily to the public, with its employees filling positions such as office worker, herdsman, milk plant operator and deliveryman.
Alan Faye Sr., one of H. P. Faye’s sons, oversaw the management of Waimea Dairy for 36 years, from 1928 until 1964, which included acquisition of the Lihue William Hyde Rice Dairy herd and equipment, when it shut down in 1940.
The Fayes sold their Waimea dairy — but not their pastures — to Meadow Gold in 1964, and Meadow Gold continued operating the dairy at its location makai of Kaumualii Highway between Waimea and Kikiaola Harbor until 1989, when it moved dairy operations to Moloaa.
It closed the Moloaa dairy — Kauai’s last dairy operation — in 2000.