State’s Largest Fresh Produce Producer

Seminar 7 Day 2 – Oah‘u

Today we spent much of the morning evaluating the ALP and offering suggestions of ways it could improve. It was a good sharing of ideas that we will present to the ALFH board.

We then headed off to Central O’ahu where some of the most productive farm land on the island blesses the Earth. We met with Larry Jefts, owner of Sugarland Farms, which is the largest producer of fresh produce in the state. They grow 80% of the state’s tomatoes. Larry shared that Sugarland is now the largest producer of bananas in the United States and that 100% of what they grow (all produce) is sold within the state. That’s amazing!

Remaining in the Kunia area, we took a swing through the Kunia Ag Park, which fellow classmate Lisa Zeman manages. It is a new partnership with Monsanto and the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation. Lisa took us to a few sites farmed by small farmers, most of whom are just getting started or were displaced and in need of a new site.

Our final stop for the day was at the Sumida watercress farm in the heart of urban Honolulu. ALP alumnus and former ALFH board member, John McHugh, told us about the history of the farm and agriculture in this part of the island. He shared some of the challenges they face and the innovations they made through research to reduce use of synthetic pesticides. Seeing the spring-fed watercress paddies was refreshing. We look forward to eating some of the watercress tomorrow night!

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Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i
P. O. Box 342066
Kailua, HI 96734