Kahuku Farm Tours
Oahu’s North Shore is known for surfing. It’s known for its colorful and tasty shrimp trucks. It’s also known as, “the country.” Mostly, that’s because there are no high-rises here. No hotels. No big box retailers. And, as one can surmise from the word, there are farms in the country.
But the face of Oahu's North Shore farming community is changing in Hawaii. It’s getting younger. You could even say it’s a hot, new business venture.
In any farm, a successful crop starts with the soil. It needs amendments. It needs to be turned. The same might be true of farmers. At Kahuku Farms, on Oahu’s North Shore, a new generation of farmers is getting involved, adding fresh, new ideas to the business and turning out a new way to farm. Isn’t it always that way?
Kylie Matsuda is a fourth-generation farmer at Kahuku Farms, which itself is the merger of two long-time family farms—the Matsuda and Fukuyama Farms. That merger took place during the tenure of Kylie’s father’s generation. Melvin Matsuda and Clyde Fukuyama put their own mark on the family business by way of land expansion. When the Waialua Sugar Mill closed in 1996, the partners leased old plantations lands, more than doubling the size of their farm.
Now, Kylie is growing the business through agri-tourism. Her husband, Judah, leads one-hour wagon tours of the 120-acre farm, traversing rows of Japanese long eggplant, papaya trees, apple banana trees and taro leaf, the four crops that make up the bulk of the farm’s commercial wholesale business.
The tours check in at the farm’s new café, a converted shipping container with a covered, open-air eating area. The café serves tasty treats like iced drinks, smoothies, ice creams and sorbets. Also, fresh-from-the-farm papaya, veggie salads and grilled banana bread. For a little something more, there are pizza and Panini sandwiches.
Kylie has also developed a line of value-added products. That is, bath and body products and pre-packaged farm goods, such as lilikoi butter, mango scone mix and pineapple papaya spread.
She takes it all on the road, too, setting up at various farmers’ markets around the island.
Future plans include a walking tour, a cacao tour and u-pick farm. Crop-wise, the farm is experimenting with lilikoi, starfruit, neem, pineapple and a variety of spices. Also, acai palms, mango and avocado trees, tropical fruits, and hydroponic lettuces.
There’s just no end to the new ideas (and energy) that come from a new generation.