Our final day of Seminar 2 began at Kahuku Farms. Waiting for us upon arrival were Kylie Matsuda-Lum and her husband Judah. Kylie is a third generation Kahuku farmer and current Luna of the business. We all hopped on a wagon trailer pulled by a bright blue tractor and away we went! With the windmills turning lazily in the background, we were able to see some of their crops and check out their commercial kitchen. They even baked some lilikoi mochi for us – served at the perfect temperature – hot and gooey. What a great way to start the morning!
Mid-morning brought us to the TerViva Farm in Haleiwa. Our tour guide for this visit was none other than our Class XVI classmate – Drew Wilkinson. TerViva is a national company with offices in Hawaii, California, and Florida. They grow a tree crop called Pongamia. The tree produces seeds whos oils can be processed into biofuel and protein. It’s a good thing he said the name of the tree often since I seemed to have a very hard time remembering how to pronounce it. The company is somewhat new to the islands and they are still experimenting with their Hawaii home. One of the interesting things shared was that they are a recipient of an Elemental Excelerator grant. Congratulations!
Our hosts for our next stop provided us an opportunity to relax for a bit in a comfortable field office (air-conditioned!) This was a planned “two birds – one stone” visit as we were joined by Alika Napier of Corteva (formerly Dow, DuPont, and Pioneer) and Daniel Carroll of GoFarm Hawaii. Alika gave us a brief overview of their Corteva operation and it’s recent changes and also described the company’s commitment to working with and giving back to the community. Corteva has a great relationship with Aloun Farms and also provides land for GoFarm Hawaii, which is a farmer training program. Our ALP classmate, Jayme Barton, is a current participant in the program and she describes the GoFarm Hawaii training as a great experience.
Last, but certainly not least, was the Sweet Land Goat Farm visit. Our gracious host, farm owner Eric Bello, took us through their milking parlor and processing room, then out to visit the stars of the show in the barn. They currently have approximately 60 milking goats and expect to expand to about 110 within a year. What an accomplishment as they have grown their own herd! From their start about seven years ago, Sweet Land currently produces three types of cheese and a divine caramel. They primarily market directly to local restaurants, but also manage to send small batches to Whole Foods. These gals were so friendly, it was hard to concentrate on anything else. It seems like Nick, Gene Ross, and Jayme would agree!
Sweet Land was kind enough to provide an area for us to wrap up and discuss the positives and potential changes that could be implemented going forward. After a lively discussion, and a bit of shopping, our outer island classmates loaded themselves into their rides and they were whisked off to the airport for a well deserved flight home.