Small-scale Farming Hawaiian Style
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“There are no problems here, but there are always challenges,” Barney says. “The biggest is that we are isolated; we’re 2,500 miles from the next stop.” Being isolated has caused the couple to become more connected with their environment as their survival depends on it.
“We are an hour and a half from Hilo or Kona,” Barney says. “You learn to do repairs; you stay aware of what you need and become more self-sufficient, less wasteful.”
Dreams come true
Even though the Big Island is ideal for growing crops such as those raised at Ailani Orchards, weather can still affect the bottom line. For example, any time heavy winds come with rain, trees are likely to be blown over and destroyed.
Barney also worries about pollination and fences and animal health.
“There are a lot of variables – farming is farming,” Barney says. “When you move into an area like this, you just sort of jump into the ‘back pocket’ of the older farmers, and they become your mentors. They were very helpful. And now, I have become a mentor to others.”
Mornings like one not too long ago make the two realize they’d make the leap again. Sitting in their living room enjoying home-raised Ka’u coffee, they looked to the orchard and saw turkeys strutting. The chickens were all gathered around a ewe with her two new lambs. The entire farm seemed to be in communion with the miracle of life – an essential characteristic of country living that makes Ailani Orchards a dream come true.
If you find yourself traveling Highway 11 between Kona and Volcano, look for the Ailani Orchards stand between mile markers 67 and 68. The farm stand is open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. most days of the year.
Libby Platus writes about food from the farm, ranch or garden to the table. A native of Los Angeles, she’s visited all 50 states, discovering interesting places and fun things to do.
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