Food La La: Go organic at Kahumana Farm
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
“The way we care for the most vulnerable members of our society determines our mark as a people and a nation.”
— Phil Harmon, Kahumana Organic Farm and Cafe
Kahumana Organic Farm is part of a nonprofit organization that has been around since 1974. Kahumana’s motto is to co-create a holistic environment that welcomes everyone no matter their faith or religion. They believe in community, healthy living and promote that through their cafe, bed and breakfast and activities such as yoga, live music and art.
Included in the Kahumana organization is transitional housing for homeless families. Currently there are 120 families in their two-year program that includes job training, financial training and day care services. They also run a disability program, youth program and commercial kitchen that delivers over 5,000 meals a week to over 35 schools on the island.
Located in Waianae, Kahumana Farm is a great place for both locals and for tourists who want to experience a different side of Hawaii other than Waikiki. I took a tour of the farm, located on a 50-acre property, and tried some of their fresh dishes at their cafe. Assistant farm manager Kali’i Gannet gave a really great tour of the farm, from how it’s run to all the different types of vegetables and plants that are grown on the property. Gannet became a farmer because of his love for food and his desire to know exactly where his food was coming from.
Gannet holding a Heritage chicken.
This is the herb garden which was planted right behind of the café for convenient access while cooking.
This is the packaging station where all of the vegetables are washed and processed before sending out to customers. Some restaurants that use their vegetables include Roy’s, Monkeypod Kitchen, SEED and Kokohead Cafe.
Their biggest and most popular seller is their baby greens salad mix.
Right next to the packaging station is the aquaponics program for growing vegetables that require lots of water. This tank and the connecting three tanks hold 5,000 gallons of water and are six feet deep. The fish create nutrients for the plants and the plants clean the water and create food for the fish, so it’s a symbiotic relationship.
Growing in the aquaponics are water spinach, also known as ong choy, and taro.
Kahumana also raises chickens for egg production. They have over 350 chickens on their property as well as 12 roosters, two turkeys and a few ducks. Chickens are omnivores and need to eat bugs in order for them to be healthy and to produce eggs with dark yellow yolk. I always wondered why eggs in Japan have dark yolks and are much more flavorful than eggs at local supermarkets with pale yellow yolks.
Now I know it’s due to diet and letting the chickens roam around freely outdoors. Gannet said his chickens are fed a variety of bugs, organic grains, organic vegetables and also scraps from the kitchen.
The orchid area of the farm has many different kinds of fruit trees.
This was my first time trying a chico fruit, also known as sapodilla.
It was extremely sweet and tasted like a combination of maple syrup and brown sugar!
They have three types of growing cycles: salad, root and greens. Some of the vegetables currently being grown are carrots, beets, beans, broccoli, kale, chard, spinach, fennel, cilantro and squash.
These vegetables were planted about a week ago. It takes about three weeks to grow baby greens for their salad mix.
This is what it looks like after three weeks.
This is the kale, chard and collard greens area.
This is Chinese squash.
Dragonfruit is the newest addition to the farm.
Love the view of the mountains!
One of the bed and breakfast houses right on the farm property. It can hold about 30 people.
I love this adorable pond called Happy Elephant pond.
This is the main building with the cafe is located on the first floor.
There’s a really cute library that leads to the cafe.
The café menu has a selection of appetizers, entrees and salads all freshly made with produce from the farm.
My friend and I sat on the outside patio near the herb garden to enjoy the view.
I tried the Kahumanu Cooler ($2) which is a refreshing blend of hibiscus and lemongrass.
The soup of the day was a squash soup that came with the entrée. It was filled with lots of kale, chard, onions, garlic and herbs.
The veggie burger ($12), made with garbanzo beans, comes with a stir-fry and creamy tahini sauce. The veggie burger is homemade and is hearty with a crunchy texture.
My favorite dish was the Tofu Thai Curry ($18). The sauce was light yet very flavorful. I especially loved the carrots! They tasted extra fresh and sweet.
After seeing how the vegetables on the farm are grown, this salad tasted extra delicious. The Kahumana Salad ($12) comes with beets and whole wheat bread topped with a butter herb sauce. The dressing is a tangy avocado vinaigrette.
My visit to Kahumana Farm gave me a new appreciation for organic food. I would love to go back again for a staycation and also learn more about farming. For more information on their programs, farms tours and community events check out their website.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about food and drink for the Pulse. Contact her on Twitter or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.