Year-round tropical weather offers more than sunbathing: The Hawaiian Islands harvest some of the best produce and products in the world, resulting in a unique farm-to-table movement that is as much a part of Hawaiian landscape and culture as it is the culinary scene.
“Visitors could taste the diversity of the Hawaiian Islands through rich ethnic flavors of local dishes and will often find that a passion for authentic farm-to-table cuisines goes hand-in-hand with a deep appreciation for Hawaii’s cultural heritage,” said Robyn Basso, Hawaii Visitors Convention Bureau.
With farm and food tours, farmers’ markets, restaurants, festivals and events offering an in-depth look into Hawaii’s farm-to-table lifestyle, food of the Hawaiian Islands is to be more than tasted—it’s to be experienced.
Farm and Food Tours
Visitors could follow Hawaii’s intentional farm-to-table process now more than ever with farm tours, food tours and other agricultural experience.
They could experience a fun and educational exploration of bees, beekeeping and honey at Big Island Bees; get a fresh look at specialty and exotic mushrooms on a tour of Hamakua Mushrooms’s farm on the island of Hawaii; explore Kahuku Farms on wagon ride and zipline tours on Oahu; and test their palates for vodka and rum on a tour of Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery on Maui, which offers tastings.
On Molokai, visitors could explore the restored Ka Honua Momona fishpond, see the field-fresh organic yield of Kumu Farms, and taste the coveted coffee and crunchy macadamia nuts of Purdy’s Natural Macadamia Farm.
Food tours are great opportunities where visitors could sample a variety of the unique cuisine in Hawaii. Tour da Food Maui, Tasting Kauai and Hawaii Food Tours on Oahu are just a few examples of tours offering dine-around experiences as well as opportunities to explore local mom and pop places.
Farmers Markets and Restaurants
Hawaii’s farm-to-table movement continues from the earth to farmers’ markets and restaurants. Visitors might enjoy sampling Hawaiian products at venues such as Kapiolani Community College Farmers’ Market in Oahu, Hilo Farmers’ Market on the island of Hawaii and Kukuiula Farmers Market in Kauai.
Visitors could also taste island-grown produce in the most popular dishes at local restaurants. With a multiethnic population, Hawaiian chefs serve up a wide range of delectable, globally influenced dishes. For culinary delicacies with oceanfront views, visitors might try Mama’s Fish House on Maui, the Beach House Restaurant on Kauai and Orchids on Oahu.
Festival and Events
Hawaiian food is something to celebrate, and all of the Hawaiian Islands offer unique festivals and culinary events.
Visitors could try local food, mingle with locals and engage in the culture at local festivals such as Maui Town Parties, Hōlualoa First Fridays on the island of Hawaii, Hanapēpē Art Nights on Kauai and Eat the Street on Oahu.
Events such as Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and Kōloa Plantation Days are great opportunities to engage in Hawaiian culture while enjoying Hawaii’s famous products. Visitors might enjoy Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, set over three weekends on the island of Hawaii, Maui and Oʻahu. The event showcases wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, one-of-a-kind excursions, and exclusive dining opportunities with dishes highlighting the state’s local farmers, fishermen and ranchers.
Only In Hawaii
Unique Attractions and Activities
Pearl Harbor: Named for the pearl oysters once harvested there, Pearl Harbor is the largest natural harbor in Hawaii, a World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and the only naval base in the United States to be designated a National Historical Landmark. December 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Iolani Palace: Once home of King David Kalākaua and his sister and successor Queen Liliuokalani, Iolani Palace is the only official royal residence in the United States. The palace’s architecture was influenced by European styles and includes several firsts for Hawaii, including electric lights, flushing toilets and telephones.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: With 150 miles of volcanic craters, scalded deserts and rainforests, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is home to Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.
Lānai: The island’s 89,600 acres of countryside invite fishing, swimming, diving, hiking, hunting and horseback riding.
Road to Hāna: The 52-mile Hāna Highway is one of Hawaii’s most celebrated drives, with tropical views and towering waterfalls throughout its multiple twists and hairpin turns.
Kauai: Kayak or stand-up paddleboard down the Wailua River, trek through 40 miles of hiking trails of Waimea canyon and Kōkee State Park, or take a sailing tour along the Nāpali Coast.
By Cassie Westrate
Photo courtesy of Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.