PUHI — The locally grown and produced beef is finally here.
During a recent invitation-only launch event at the Grove Farm Company, it was announced that Y. Hata, a locally owned and Hawaii- based broadline food service wholesale distributor, was selected to support the recently honored Mana Up awardee Kunoa Cattle Company in launching its local beef production line on Kauai.
“We are pleased to announce the launch of a trilateral partnership to support the local community and create food sustainability on Kauai,” said Kurt Osaki, a Y. Hata brand and marketing consultant.
Kunoa Cattle Company is a Kauai-based ranch with the state’s largest USDA-inspected harvesting facility located on Oahu. The term “kunoa” translates to “stand free.” The company was also named “Best New Business” in 2017 by the Pacific Edge magazine, and was a selection in Mana Up’s inaugural cohort of 10 businesses.
Bob Farias, a Kunoa co-founder, said Kunoa currently ranches about 2,000 head of cattle on about 4,000 acres of land on Kauai and Oahu. He is a third generation rancher who combines progressive grazing practices with Hawaii’s paniolo traditions as a steward of the land.
“We have great ranchers,” Farias said. “Nearly all of the beef consumed in Hawaii is imported. But there was no way to finance the processing plant we needed to get our beef to the next level of delivery. No one wanted to own a processing plant. All that existed were slaughter houses which was limited in what we could do. That’s when we met Jack Beuttell who brought a business sense to the industry.”
The goal of the arrangement is to elevate food sustainability, not just on Kauai, but potentially for the state by being the leader in best practices for ranching, harvesting, processing and distribution in Hawaii, and beyond, said Jim Cremins, the Y. Hata chief of operations.
“We deal with Y. Hata a lot,” Farias said. “They really first heard about Kunoa through our Beef Bars. In the first four months, they couldn’t keep enough of it. The Kunoa Beef Bar with original seasonings is made with 100 percent Hawaii- raised beef, spending their entire life in Hawaii with no added hormones, or antibiotics, ever.”
Kunoa Cattle Company incorporates a sustainable systems approach to its business that incorporates holistic planned grazing, animal welfare technology, renewable energy, and nose-to-tail whole animal utilization. Kunoa models produce a high quality, healthier, and consistent product for the consumer.
“This is fantastic,” said Michael Young, executive chef for the Sheraton Kauai Resort. “We currently have a locally produced beef supplier, but this is a great option to have. It’s exciting to see another outfit filling the need for locally produced beef.”
Russell Hata, president and CEO of Y. Hata, said for the past 105 years, Y. Hata has dedicated its business to serve the people of Hawaii, and to be the distributor of choice by offering the best food service solutions and value to its customers.
“We are excited about the partnership with Kunoa because we share similar values and common goals,” Hata said. “Kunoa Cattle Company has made an impressive commitment. We are selling his mission, and this is exciting to see the island take another step in food sustainability.”
Beuttell, a co-founder and CEO of Kunoa Cattle Company, also was pleased.
“Partnerships and collaborations are what will move us from net food importers to net food exporters,” Beuttell said. “Hawaii has amazing natural resources and talent to produce world-class food products. We’re excited to team up with Y. Hata to show the globe that Hawaii can produce beef worth writing home about.”
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org