Hale Puna Farm fresh Market
Our foodie staff at Tasting Kauai loves to check out new restaurants and stay up to date on new chef innovations & creations here on island, and while there are few things that excite us more than the search for a heavenly meal, they do exist! I recently had the pleasure of visiting Hale Puna in the town of Waimea. Hale Puna, or the historic Gulick Rowell Mission House, is a burgeoning small scale food forest. This community focused farm is a project we can really get behind. Every Thursday afternoon from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Hale Puna, 9567 Huakai Road you can stop by and visit their farm market and purchase your produce for a good cause. (If this time doesn’t work for you, you can also reach out to set up pickup time for a CSA basket)
Working closely with farm school interns from Ke Kula Niʻihau o Kekaha, they not only have a beautiful flourishing garden, but also strive to provide hands on training to get kids on the west side involved in organic permaculture style farming. They want to show them this is a viable outlet for future employment that can benefit them, their health and their community.
Hale Puna is a 501(c)3. All proceeds from the Farmers Market go towards restoring the historic Gulick Rowell Mission House and to paying these farm school interns (middle and high school students from the west side!).
Getting the next generation to care & get involved is going to shape what the future of food security will look like on our lovely island. Creating more food growth, protecting and honoring the culture, and helping to create economically resilient jobs are all imperative goals for Kauai. They are striving for all of the above with this foundation. Jim Ballantine, a 4th generation West side resident, owns and operates the Kōkeʻe lodge along with Hale Puna. His daughter Fanny runs the market and farm project and is the driving force behind getting this project flourishing.
Here at the farm the students have already planted over 75 fruit trees and many other crops including papaya, ulu(breadfuit), avocado, banana, liliko’i, ‘olena(turmeric), sweet potato, sugar cane and kabocha. The traditional forest garden will focus on presenting classes and workshops around food, sustainability, permaculture and the history of West Kauai agriculture. Any food that isn’t sold at the market on Tuesdays or in CSA baskets, is taken up to be utilized at Kōkeʻe Lodge, so no food goes to waste!
Whether you are a foodie, a history buff, a cultural guru or just a curious visitor – there is something for everyone at Hale Puna. Inquire about a donation based guided tour of the oldest house in Hawaii and their surrounding food forest. This home was built in 1829 and has been majorly renovated only once in 1927. The original wood floors are still inside! They hope to use the house once it is restored as a community center for events and performances that contribute to the cultural richness of West Kauai life. It is so cool to see the home being brought into the modern world with this food focused non profit!
You can find out more about this incredible project and all of the dedicated local people behind it on their website at http://www.halepuna.org/ and be sure not to miss their farmer’s market on your way down from the canyon!