On Day 4 of the Kauai Seminar we jumped into a crisp and cool morning at Kauai Farmacy. We were happily greeted by owners Doug and Jenna and a wonderful concoction of medicinal herbal teas grown onsite. Their operation focuses on growing a diversity of medicinal plants, drying them onsite, and adding value by preparing them for sale as tea, tinctures, salves, and powders. They also incorporate Farm Tours and have a store front area. 100% of their products are Kauai grown!
I really enjoyed the natural look to their herb gardens and how they focus on mainly perennial species. They source a bulk of their own amendments and use compost teas, mulch, and vermicast. A lot of their work lies within the preservation and dehydration process. One of their biggest investments was the drying facility.
Another foundational piece to their operation is connecting with people through Farm Tours, which really gives them a chance to explain the detoxifying and healthy benefits their medicinal products can provide. They have a strong social media presence, internet sales, and send out weekly newsletters. All of these combined help with branding, education, and sales.
It was impressive to see how they’ve grown a successful business over the years. The amount of passion they put into their work is apparent as well as the overlap into their own lives by practicing what they preach about their products.
We ate at Hanalei Taro and Juice for lunch and capped it off with some delicious Holey Grail Donuts run by Nile and Hanna. They sell their products from a food truck every Sunday in Hanalei. The foundation of the donuts is locally grown taro and they are absolutely delicious.
Hanna does an excellent job sourcing fruit from local farmers to create a fruity based glaze topping. Holey Grail sources cacao nibs and vanilla from Class XVI’s own chocolate connoisseur, Will Lydgate, as seen on the holey donut below. Yummmm! I quickly realized why they sell out of their donuts every Sunday. Expansion is inevitable and they will be moving into a central location soon. I really enjoyed their business idea and mindset about “Indulging sustainably, connecting with farmers, and supporting ag.”
Our last stop of the day was the Kilauea Ag Park. Yoshi the founder of the 75-acre ag park and has made some great progress over the years working with the community. Currently the Ag Park is producing 30 CSA shares per week and is able to fund a full-time farm manager.
An impressive farmers market design has been approved and its initial construction will begin very soon. Yoshi has designed a COOP model for the future of the ag park. A farmer internship program is being instituted and will serve as a pathway to increase more farmers in Kilauea and beyond. I’m looking forward to seeing more of his visions come to life and serve as a model for communities around the islands.