Partnering in produce

POIPU — May Valenciano, sous chef at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, wants something like it at her own home on Kauai’s Westside.

“I have to talk to my husband about that,” Valenciano said Tuesday during the blessing of the hydroponic garden at the Grand Hyatt Kauai.

The Grand Hyatt Kauai invested more than $300,000 to convert one of its tennis courts into a hydroponic garden geared to grow lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and more to supply the resort’s restaurants and events with fresh produce.

Conversion of the 4,000-square-foot court started in September and culminated with the first harvest last week and the facility’s blessing on Tuesday.

“This is growing better than we expected,” said Matt Smith, Grand Hyatt Kauai executive chef. “Our first harvest came in at 190 pounds of seven types of lettuce. We have eight beds and the goal is to harvest two beds each week.”

New starts of lettuce will be planted rotationally every three weeks. The project’s goal is to supply the hotel with a variety of lettuce and other vegetables with an expected output of 120 pounds per week.

The addition of the hydroponics garden adds to the resort’s abundant flora as well as its sustainability initiatives.

“We are very pleased to partner with the University of Hawaii system in realizing practical and sustainable food production on-site,” said Keith Butz, Grand Hyatt Kauai’s general manager. “The internships will significantly help move this project forward.”

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