The ‘Secret’ is out

KILAUEA — Imagine seemingly endless, lush fields of organic and often rare fruits, hidden away and surrounded by majestic views of the North Shore. You probably don’t even know it’s there off Kuhio Highway, just above Secret Beach in Kilauea.

That’s Secret Beach Plantation. The family-run organic farm is growing strong as it provides quality local produce.

“Each year is more exciting than the last,” said Adam Hay, operations manager of Secret Beach Organics.

Founders Bill Hay and Denise DuBarry-Hay of Hanalei, together with other family members, tend to the 140 acres. It was a wild jungle when Bill Hay bought the land in 2009. He helped clear it and start the off-the-grid organic farm of fruits and vegetables.

Today, much of his work involves clearing fields and other preparation and labor done by tractor. It is an idyllic place for progressive, organic farm to develop its roots.

“I just love coming here everyday and seeing the progress,” he said.

Denise DuBarry-Hay, CEO, handles administrative and financial dues for the company, and talks excitedly about the farm. During a bumpy, but exhilarating ride in her husband’s truck across the property she says, “There are many exotic fruits that we have here.”

Rollinia is an example of one of their most prized and rare fruit trees.

“You can’t find rollinia anywhere else,” DuBarry-Hay said.

Located on the Kilauea Plateau, Secret Beach Plantation is diverse and full of rare exotic fruits and other tropical plants, including purple lilioki, sugarloaf pineapple, mangosteen, macadamia and longsat.

There are over 47 species and 20 different varieties from around the world growing at Secret Beach Organics

They planted most of their fruit trees two years ago, after Bill Hay spent four years and thousands of hours clearing, irrigating, and doing water well installation. Currently, they are finishing up planting more cacao and dwarf coconut trees.

Bill Hay says there’s still about two to three years before a majority of the fruit trees become mature and bear fruit.

The plantation boasts plant-life produced through an environmentally friendly and self-sufficient method of agriculture, which adds nutrients to the soil, said Adam Hay.

The vital nutrient nitrogen is put back into the soil by decomposing plants that have become mulch, which he calls “chop and drop.” This saves money, Adam Hay said, because it cuts back on fertilizer costs. Next to a whimsical lilikoi trellis tunnel is the orchard that he said is a successful product of this agricultural process, and includes a number of plant-life such as sesbina and pidgeon pea trees, and citrus, mango, and egg fruit trees.

Twenty-five grass-fed Angus cattle also live there on 20 acres, some of which come from the Princeville Ranch just down the road.

Secret Beach Organics sells produce to North Shore restaurants like Common Ground in Kilauea and Barracuda in Hanalei. The family anticipates business picking up soon.

Future plans call for a roadside fruit stand, fruit baskets, a commercial kitchen, expanding the farm with crops that will include ginger, turmeric and sugar loaf pineapple.

“I’ve become addicted to farming,” Adam Hay said.

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