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Wai'aha Farm Tour
Holualoa, North KonaKona Outdoor Circle's dedication to sustainable farming took us on a fabulous tour last week. At Wai'aha Farm we learned about the many ways this farming community is caring for the 'aina in a sustainable way. To start off we toured the lower acreage and saw the wide variety of plants they have been able to grow successfully in the 5 acres that surround the living area. Not only were fruit like papayas, mangoes, lilikoi and tree tomatoes close at hand, but the area also supplied lots of food for their soil and animals including nitrogen fixing trees like pigeon pea. These trees feed the soil and provide supplemental food for the staff as well as their animals.
The lunch we had at noon was simply delicious. Nearly all of the menu came from the farm. We shared cold fresh fruit juices with the staff and talked story over chips and their own three-pepper goat cheese. The buffet luncheon included citrus and fennel salad, a Caesar salad, sautéed kale, their own honey cured ham, chicken sausage patties, a taro and coconut curry over rice and lilikoi bars as well as mango tapioca for dessert.
After lunch we ventured uphill to a 13-acre parcel that houses their animals, the nursery and some additional garden areas. Director, Mike Zelko explained their sustainable fertilization system which involves rabbits, chickens and pigs. Using chicken and pig "tractors" they are able to plow and fertilize an area for a garden using the animals to do most of the work. Their rabbits provide additional fertilizer and their grazing cows and goats provide milk and cheese for the staff. Eggs from the chickens and meat from sheep as well as the other animals keep the staff well fed as they tend to the vegetable and fruit gardens that add to their delicious and nutritious fare.
Those on the trip learned many new systems that can be used in small scale gardens as well as on large sustainable farms like Wai'aha.