The Farm at the Hokuala Resort has continued what has become a decade-long expansion project.
The Farm at Hokuala Resort at Timbers has planted the third decommissioned fairway that includes soursop, macadamia nut, longan, rambutan, ice cream bean, Rollinia deliciosa and ruby red guava trees, all planted from seed.
The resort now has a two-acre chef’s garden packed full of hand-sewn, hand-weeded and hand-picked organic vegetables, edible flowers and herbs.
From traditional Hawaiian medicine and canoe crops like noni or coconut to edible flowers, herbs, and roots like echinacea and turmeric, they will focus on plants that help build immunity and fight viruses.
“We are bringing nature and humanity together to grow not only food but for medicinal herbs like turmeric, which can act as an anti-viral and is a good remedy for other ailments,” said farmer Cody Meyers. “‘Planting forward,’ ‘hyper-local,’ ‘regenerative-grown’ and ‘wellness foods’ are not just marketing terms.”
This focus on naturally-grown products and increased consumer marketplaces for such produce items has pushed the expansion.
“We are creating a living ‘farmacy’ where we grow more than just sustenance,” Meyers said.
The Farm plans on bringing back Hokuala chocolate and coffee to the plate as part of their future expansion.
Growing chocolate and coffee will help complement the farm’s recent value-added selections of honey, hot sauce and herbal teas.
Giving back to the community
Nearly 10% of all their produce harvested is donated to local organizations, Meyers said.
Hokuala also hosts farm-to-fork field trips that teach children how to easily grow food.
“We have partnered with Malama Kaua‘i’s It Takes a Village harvest program, which connects farmers to those in need,” Meyers said. “The Farm’s surplus is also regularly distributed to the Lihu’e Food Bank, Kawaikini Public Charter School and Kaua’i Community College.”
With the advent of COVID-19, there have been significant changes in the industry.
“COVID-19 has made us more self-sustaining than ever by forcing the community to work together,” Meyers said. “Resort land converted to agriculture helps to fill Kaua‘i’s food shortage and feed our kupuna and Kaua‘i’s ‘ohana.”
The agritourism industry is growing, which gives The Farm the opportunity to contribute to the economic foundation of tourism on Kaua‘i.
“Growing our own allows our visitors to savor and enjoy fresh, organic produce while negating tremendous import costs and using non-local ingredients,” Meyers said.
A holistic approach
The food The Farm provides to owners and guests is grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Last year, The Farm had a successful harvest of tropical hardneck garlic and, for 2021, they will be tripling their production.
“We’re one of the few farms in Hawai‘i that grows garlic,” Meyers said. “Growing bulb garlic in Hawai‘i has been a myth and impossible until we grew it and showed how in the most recent Edible Hawaiian Islands magazine. Also, we are looking at a grape variety that works well in our climate to hopefully make Kaua‘i’s first grape wine.”
All of this is done without using pesticides.
From organizing private tours, educational programming, supplying owners in residence with community-supported agriculture boxes to fueling the oceanfront Hualani’s restaurant, The Farm is feeding many.
“Without harming the land it grows in,” Meyers said, “we cultivate our crops in a manner that is a complete turnaround from the history of mono-cropping that was on Kaua‘i and the sugarcane industry’s birth.”