Our usual vacation every year takes place in October after we've done the majority of harvesting. This year we went all out and travelled to the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i. Being the farmers that we are, instead of heading for the sandy beaches and the crashing waves, we took to touring organic farms, botanical gardens and hitting the many farmers markets that occur sometimes up to 5 locations in one day. Amazing considering the island is only 33 x 25 miles with a population of 60,000. We were most fascinated at the opposite spectrum of growing conditions compared with the Hudson Valley. With the rich volcanic soil, sunshine predominent days and abundant rainfall, we assumed Hawaii offered the perfect growing conditions for most crops. Indeed we learned that was not so. Our first farmers market was on the north end of the island in lush Hanalei where the emerald landscapes are dotted with multiple waterfalls in nearby mountains. This was probably one of the nicest markets we've ever been to. Every stand offered produce only organically grown and the variety of tropical fruits, something we rarely eat, became an obsession for us.
Young and mature coconuts were expertly cracked on the spot for hydration and then brought back to the same vendor to be hacked open to enjoy the white coconut meat.
When we spoke with a woman selling her seedlings about how fabulous is must be to grow there, she told us that she was jealous of us! In the Hudson Valley, we could grow so much more food than farms on Kauai citing the 15 different fruit flies alone that devastate crops on the island. In fact, you think Hawaii would be able to grow the most luscious tomatoes with all that sun and heat but large tomatoes are hard to come by because of insect damage and high humidity. Cherry tomatoes are what farmers mostly grow there!
Drunk on passion fruit (lillikoi), soursop, and longon fruits, we looked forward to our tours at an organic chocolate farm complete with chocolate tasting, and an organic goat farm. Stay tuned for more tropicalia.