Hawaii Farm Stand Lets You Buy Direct from Hawaii Farms
There are many things to love about Hawaii Island (aka Big Island), but one of the most memorable parts of a visit to the state’s largest island is the immense variety of fresh, locally-grown food available there. Hawaii Farm Stand wants to share those incredible gifts from the Hawaiian aina (land) with the rest of the state and the United States in order to help Hawaii’s farmers flourish.
No one forgets the experience of cracking into the bumpy, vibrant-red skin of a juicy lychee or the delightful pucker that comes from tasting the seedy flesh of a fresh-from-the-vine lilikoi (passionfruit), all common experiences when visiting the Island’s farms and farmers markets. Hawaii Island is home to 10 of the world’s 14 sub-climate zones, helping to create a rich tapestry of taste throughout the Island. Though some of the areas are more fertile than others – like the Tropical Winter-Dry slopes of the Holualoa Coffee Belt and the Tropical Continuously Wet climate of the Hamakua Coast, all of these climate zones work together to make the 4,028 square miles of Hawaii Island some of the most fertile in the Pacific.
The Hawaii Farm Stand subscription farm box program is the brainchild of Kalisi Mausio and her sister, Angela Fa’anunu, two farming sisters in Hilo who wanted to create opportunities for their farming business and their neighbors’ farming businesses statewide.
The sisters work to develop relationships with Big Island farmers and ranchers, then they gather small batch, handmade products (like honey, macadamia nuts, chocolate, etc.) from these farms and create monthly subscription boxes to sell nationwide.
Originally Hawaii Farm Stand was a branch of their agritourism Hawaii Farm Trails app, created to map and connect Hawaii’s farms, ranches, and farmers markets with visitors as regenerative tourist destinations, but these subscription farm boxes have become an important source of revenue for the participating farms with COVID-19 slowing down tourism.
Supporting Hawaii’s Farmers and Its People
The majority of farms in Hawaii are small, diversified, family-owned operations. As a result, value-added products tend to be grown and made by hand and in small batches. What farms lack in quantity, they make up for in the quality of each item not only through the value-added process but also as a result of the sustainable agricultural practices and the diverse ecosystem and soil supporting the plants. Hawaiifarmstand.com helps to create a marketplace that allows farmers to preserve the identity of their farm and their single-origin products, while ensuring access to a reliable, consistent market.
Hawaii Island serves as the center for agriculture for the entire State of Hawaii, with more than 4,650 farms and ranches accounting for about two thirds (62%) of all farms and ranches and total acreage of farmlands (61%) in the state. Unfortunately, 42% of all farms/ranches on the island reported less than $2,500 per year, as reported by the Hawai‘i County Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline 2012 report. This suggests that a significant percentage of farms in Hawaii are not generating sufficient revenues, making these value-added items getting into customers’ hands even more important. Even with the abundance of different types of foods that can be grown on the island, agriculture still pales in comparison to tourism as an industry in Hawaii; at about 21% of the state’s entire economy, many want to do more to focus on agriculture, rather than tourism, as the driving economy for the state. In addition, 85-90% of Hawaii’s food is imported, leaving a lot of room for small farms and ranches to help drive a movement forward that focuses on sustainability in a variety of ways.
Hawaii Farm Stand is a regenerative enterprise that is committed to telling the story of the farmer and of agriculture in Hawaii. HFS believes that keeping farms in business is the key to reducing Hawaii’s food insecurity and creates the basis for resilience for this island community. Every purchase made at hawaiifarmstand.com goes right back to assisting the farmers through promotional and capacity building programs.
Ordering a Box
In order to get started with a subscription, customers can visit hawaiifarmstand.com. There they will be able to sign up for a subscription to be started on the next month’s mailout cycle. Depending on the type of box, customers can receive a variety of products that include chocolate, honey, coffee, tea, macadamia nut products, and more. Subscription boxes start at just $35 and range up to $60, with free shipping throughout the U.S. One farm box option also includes a code that allows customers to take virtual farm tours where they can learn more about the farms where their new products came from.
For an option to have a box mailed out quickly, customers can choose the one-time box option, and it will be shipped out within a few days, and the shipping is still free! Shipping is available throughout the United States including Hawaii and Alaska. The website also helps to connect customers to over 30 farmers, giving them the option to buy one-off products at their own convenience. Additional shopping options include gift cards, as well as branded “Cultivate Resilience” hats and stickers.
These subscription boxes make great gifts; they’re an excellent way to show someone that you care about their health and happiness, even if it’s from afar. Customers even have the option of including a handwritten note on their custom ulu (breadfruit) fiber note cards.
About Hawaii Farm Stand
Hawaii Farm Stand is a project of Hawaii Farm Trails, an app that provides a platform to connect users with farms, ranches, and farmers markets throughout the state of Hawaii. While the trails are lacking in visitors due to the pandemic, the Farm Stand is connecting people across the country with Hawaii’s farmers and the abundance of products that they create. The Farm Stand sells small-batch Hawaiian-made products through subscription boxes and individual item sales, and offers a platform for direct purchases from farmers. The regenerative enterprise uses every purchase to continue furthering their mission of assisting Hawaii’s farmers through promotional and capacity building programs.