We are familiar with buying local produce at farmers market and grocery stores. After all, there are many great benefits of eating locally grown foods. However, for a while now, we have been wanting to connect with local farms, on the island of Oahu, to know where our food actually comes from. In partnership with Foodland, we were able to visit one of their local farm suppliers on Oahu that currently distributes to their stores.
MA’O ORGANIC FARMS
Ma’o Organic Farms is the closest organic farm from where we live which is located on the west side of Oahu, Waianae. Before the rise of the “modern” area, aka pre-contact, almost a million (estimated 800,000) Hawaiians populated the islands and were a self-sustaining people with no outside contact as a result of the ingenious Ahupua’a system – a way of dividing up the land from Mountain to Ocean into equal parts. As the ancients Hawaiians farmed the fertile Waianae country, the legacy lives on at Ma’o organic farms. “MAʻO is an acronym for mala (garden) ʻai (food) ʻopio (youth) or youth food garden and affirms our belief that when we reconnect and restore the relationship between the land and the people, we are able to return abundance and prosperity to youth, to their families and to the community.”
Everything is hand picked and packed in one day – delivered the next day to stores, restaurants and you (if you subscribe to their CSA – Community Supported Agriculture)! The lifeline of the fruits and vegetables begins in the fertile soil at the bottom of a primordial crater. The seeds are supplied locally. When the produce is ready, it is hand picked, received at the processing shed, washed thoroughly, packed accurately, and chilled before setting off to its appropriate destinations.
There is definitely a lot of communication that happens in the shed and rightfully so as Ma’o Farms quality control is top notch. Compost will be put in bins and repurposed into the land for a future batch. The best part about Ma’o Organic Farms is that most individuals working at the farms are youth (read more about youth internship). Also, MA‘O Organic Farms offers a variety of communal and education programs for the community. If you are interested in a community service learning day, take a look here.
WHERE TO GET MA’O ORGANIC FARMS PRODUCE
Ma’o Organic Farms fresh, local, USDA-certified organic produce is available at Farmers Markets such as Makēkē Wai‘anae – A Farmers & Green Market and Kaka‘ako Farmers Market. As mentioned before, you can also find their products at local grocery stores and Natural Food Stores such as Foodland locations on Oahu, Kokua Market, Down to Earth, Tamura Super Market, and Whole Foods Market.
Coincidentally, you might have already tasted Ma’o Organic Farms produce by eating at some local restaurants on Oahu such as Alan Wong’s, Ka‘aha‘aina Cafe, Kaimuki Superette, Mud Hen Water, Monkeypod, MW Restaurant, Nobu Restaurant, Olive Tree Cafe, PILI Group, Roy’s Ko Olina,, Top of Waikīkī, and TOWN Restaurant.
Another way to obtain Ma’o Organic Farms produce is through their CSA program. Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a monthly subscription system that offers fresh, local, USDA-certified organic produce straight from the farm to the community. CSA boxes are offered to shareholders weekly or every other week, for 8-delivery commitments. Members receive a wide variety of fresh and nutritious fruit and vegetables, grown organically on Ma’o organic farm and delivered to a convenient pick-up site. For more information on the CSA program, visit here.
BENEFITS OF VISITING A LOCAL FARM
As we toured with our knowledgeable intern-guide, Tiare, we couldn’t help but think that visiting a farm should be similar to getting your drivers license – mandatory. It doesn’t matter if you are a local, transplant, or tourist passing through, understanding where our food comes from and the intricate work that goes behind the scenes from farm to table is the most authentic you can get.
Some benefits of visiting a local farm: you can learn something new and possibly end up educating others, see first hand how your food is raised, develop a healthier lifestyle, connect with your community, develop more compassion for the land and maybe feel inspired to contribute in some fashion.
RELATED POST TO READ:
Benefits of Eating Locally Grown Foods
In our experience, after visiting MA’O Organic Farms and learning about their wonderful mission, we have a new viewpoint and appreciation when it comes to local organic food and the work it takes. We highly suggest visiting your local farm and learning more about the food and process. An informed community, is a prosperous and intelligent community. A local farm tour is a great family activity as it will not only expand their knowledge but will also encourage them to take small steps to protect the environment.
Hawaii’s state motto is “Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono” – The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness. There is no better way to embody this motto than through better lifestyle choices as individuals, starting with caring for our land. Once we, as a community, begin to understand how our small choices (such as eating organic and locally grown products), have big impacts, we can bring about a new world.
“NO PANIC, GO ORGANIC”
Disclosure: Wanderlustyle is sponsored by Foodland and the Department of Agriculture for the State of Hawaii. All of our opinions are honest. Mahalo!