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  • Alii Kula Lavender

    Located on the misty slopes of Haleakala is Alii Kula Lavender, growing 45 varieties of lavender on 10 acres. The herb typically blooms in the spring and summer, but certain varieties bloom year round at this Maui farm.

    Alii Kula is overseen by Alii Chang, owner and lavender engineer, who first began planting lavender in 2001. Since then, the business has diversified its operations by offering a variety of farm tours, hosting weddings and selling over 75 lavender products through its retail store, located on the farm, and website.

    The company’s values-based business model incorporates Hawaiian culture, at the center of which is aloha. “It is our social responsibility to take care of our communities and offer an experience that allows people to reconnect to the land, to each other, and to themselves,” says Chang. “We try to create opportunities for togetherness. What we offer is highly sensory, where you can feel, see, touch, taste and hear your environment.”

    To foster a win-win experience for the community, Alii Kula partners with over 25 local businesses to create its many value-added products. “We don’t want to compete with our neighbors,” says Lani Weigert, sales manager, “instead we want to empower and help them grow.”

    Known for its calming properties, lavender’s aroma is slightly earthy, fresh from the fields. Useful as an antiseptic for minor cuts, bites and burns, it also works well as a skin moisturizer. Products available from Alii Kula include lavender scone mix, lavender lilikoi jelly, lavender rose bath soap with Maui goat’s milk, lavender candles and much more, ranging from aromatherapy items and bath and body goods to culinary specialties and apparel.

    Courtesy the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture.

    Nalo Farms

    Since 1983, Nalo Farms has produced a variety of greens for the local community, popular especially among restaurants. The company later expanded its product line to include salad dressings. The farm is located in Waimanalo, nestled below the Koolau mountains, and employs 10 people.

    “Our products have the best flavor because of the unique weather and soil in Hawaii,” says Dean J. Okimoto, president. “We are able to grow greens with more pungent flavors than greens grown in the mainland.”

    Among the company’s greens are: Dean’s Greens, a gourmet salad of baby lettuces and greens; Asian Greens, a blend of various Asian leafy greens; Healthy Greens, a savory mix of spinach and tatsoi; baby spinach; baby arugula; and Koolau Mountain Greens, gourmet greens packaged in bulk for food service operations.  Freshness is key to the farm’s success. Its mission statement reads: “We cut in the morning, we pack midday, we deliver in the afternoon, and it’s on the customer’s plate that night.”

    Product quality is maintained through attention and care; everything is done by hand — harvesting, processing and packaging. “Quality means excellence,” says Leslie Hanawahine, field operations manager. “We always strive to provide customers with what they want, when they need it and insure our products are always fresh to the chef.”

    Salad dressings are available in Hawaii Sweet Onion and Creamy Honey Herb. The farm also offers fresh herbs.

    Products are available for purchase through the farmers’ markets at KapiolaniCommunity College and in Kailua. They will soon be offered through local supermarkets.

    Courtesy the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture.

    Manoa Honey Company

    The Manoa Honey Company is owned by Michael Kliks, Ph.D., who also serves as president of the Hawaii Beekeepers Association. Kliks, like many producers, is quite passionate about his honey and is working to revise honey labeling requirements inHawaii.

    According to a bill introduced to the 2007 Legislature, “…producers of very high quality raw, unprocessed honey in Hawaii have been losing significant market share to preternaturally cheap, adulterated, imported sweeteners mislabeled as ‘honey’ and as products of the United States of America.” If passed into law, the honey labeling laws will require, among other things, the country (or countries) of origin and the percent of Hawaii-produced honey used. These new labeling requirements would help companies like Manoa Honey Company compete in the marketplace.

    The Manoa Honey Company oversees apiaries across Oahu and Hawaii island, including the remote uplands of Waikane Valley, the coastal forests of Nanakuli and Kalaeloa, the upland forests of Mauna Loa and remote Kau, and the Waianae and Koolau mountains. Honeys include: Waikane Golden, a light amber honey with a floral flavor; Crater Kiawe and Kiawe Cream, smooth amber honeys that naturally tend to “cream” after they have been processed by the bees; Ohia Lehua and Ohia Lehua Crème, full-bodied, rich honeys with a buttery-floral flavor; and Pele’s Gold, unfiltered, unheated honey that retains the biological activity of its natural enzymes, yeasts, pollens, waxes, antioxidants, trace elements and vitamins.

    These honeys are available at Executive Chef, The Compleat Kitchen, Down to Earth stores, R. Field Wine Co. at Foodland Beretania, Umeke Market, Kokua Market, the Source Natural Foods, Shirokiya, Longs Moiliili and Manoa and the Waioli Tea Room.

    Courtesy the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture.

    Big Island Abalone

    Big Island Abalone Corp. farms premium Ezo abalone at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA). Spread over 10 acres, two million abalone inhabit tanks and are grown in a system using a constant supply of pure, cold and nutrient-rich seawater, which is pumped from a depth of 3,000 feet off Keahole Point on the Big Island. The farm also raises a special blend of algae that feed the abalone to achieve optimal taste, texture, color, nutrition and shell characteristics in the end product. The farm exists in a near-perfect environment for growing its Kona Coast Abalone.

    In business since 1998, Big Island Abalone Corp. employs 17 people who operate this unique farm — the only abalone farm in Hawaii.

    The live abalone can be purchased at the farm, the Hilo farmers’ market, KTA Superstores, Don Quixote and Marukai Wholesale Mart. Retort packaged abalone is now available at selected ABC Stores. It is also available at restaurants such as Hayama Restaurant, Sushi Kazu and Hiroshi. The quality of the abalone has been praised by Iron Chefs and served at fine dining restaurants in New York and Tokyo. It is shipped live to markets in Japan and the U.S. mainland regularly.

    A farm tour gives you an opportunity to see, touch and sample abalone. To make reservations for a farm tour, please contact Lyndsey DeSilva at (808) 334-0034.

    Courtesy the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture.

    Green Point Nursery

    Green Point Nurseries offers a complete selection of Hawaii tropical flowers and foliage, which are harvested daily and sent to professional florists all over the world.

    The company’s specialty is anthuriums, which are tested by public and private hybridizers to conduct research and innovate. Currently, the company is helping theUniversity of Hawaii research a scented pink anthurium called Princess Aiko, still years away from commercial availability. Over the years, Green Point has strived to improve its products and services by developing new methods in cultivation and packaging.

    “What makes our product unique is the exceptional quality,” says Eric Tanouye, the company’s vice president and general manager. Green Point has received a number of awards for its anthuriums, including a blue ribbon for its Lavender Lady, a red ribbon for Tropical Fire and a red ribbon to Kalapana as an outstanding anthurium variety. The company also has been recognized for excellence, receiving such awards as the 1998 U.S. Senate Productivity Award, Exporter of the Year for 1992 by the state ofHawaii, Outstanding Cooperator of the Year by the Puna Conservation District and the Outstanding Agricultural Operation award by the 2004 Ag Conference.

    Green Point Nurseries’ products can be found at florist shops, hospitality and special events throughout Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. Products are now available through the company’s web site and can be ordered by phone, (808) 959-3535.

    Courtesy the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture.

    Hawaiian Vanilla Company

    The Hawaiian Vanilla Company – Owned by Jim and Tracy Reddekopp, has been cultivating vanilla on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai`i island since 1989.

    The Hawaiian Vanilla Co. holds the distinction of being the only commercial vanilla farm in the United States. Owned by Jim and Tracy Reddekopp, the company has been cultivating vanilla on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai`i island since 1989 and creates a line of vanilla products by hand in its vanilla kitchen.

    Vanilla is produced by a type of orchid that forms vanilla bean pods and requires careful hand pollination. These orchids bloom only one day per year for a few short hours, and pollination does not necessarily guarantee that vanilla pods will form, which require eight to nine months to mature. This explains why vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world.

    Among the company’s products are gourmet vanilla beans; pure vanilla extract; sugar; lilikoi, chocolate and toffee dessert toppings; champagne, balsamic and lilikoi salad dressings; home fragrance; lip balm; estate grown coffee; black tea; beauty care products; and farm and garden skin care products.

    “A labor of love from our farm to you, that’s aloha!” says Jim Reddekopp. “Quality means hand picked, hand packed by our family — that’s quality.”

    Hawaiian Vanilla offers tours, a tea brunch, a “vanilla experience” gourmet lunch and vanilla tastings. The farm also offers seminars, cultivation classes and vanilla production workshops.

    Products are available through the company’s web site, www.hawaiianvanilla.com.

    Courtesy the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture.