KAUMAKANI — Aloun Farms, an O‘ahu-based farm company, celebrated shipping 10 shipping containers of sweet onions to O‘ahu from Kaua‘i last week.
“This load is the first to go out after being grown on Gay & Robinson lands,” said Richard Takase, a consultant with Aloun Farms. “Yes, we’ve grown products on Hartung Brothers and G&R lands, but this is the first shipment that is going off-island to O‘ahu. We shipped out 10 containers, but could’ve shipped more.”
The shipment demonstrated Aloun Farms’ commitment to agriculture. Takase said in 2023, besides the onions, other crops, including watermelon, corn, eggplant, zucchini, kabocha and Halloween pumpkins, won bok, head cabbages and more will be shipping from Kaua‘i.
“Those fresh-farmed crops grown in Kekaha were shipped to Honolulu for distribution within the state for the first time in 50 years,” Takase said. “This crop of onions is one of the best quality ever grown. It must be the magic in Kaua‘i soils. The crops love it.”
Aloun Farms started to produce vegetables on Kaua‘i in 2022, with the first evidence of the produce making its appearance as free pumpkin giveaways to the community during Halloween. In addition to the seasonal pumpkins, other Aloun Farm produce included zucchini, sweet onions, won bok and cabbages that appeared in local markets marked with the Aloun Farm stickers.
“The crops were amazing, with productions surpassing expectations,” Takase said.
Aloun Farms, with its mission of helping Hawai‘i to attain sustainable agriculture, was started 45 years ago by Aloun Sou and his family of four children. Two of his sons, Alec and Mike, have taken the Aloun Farms operation to the next phase.
Like many immigrants, their homelands of Laos and Thailand were coming off decades of war and geopolitics, Takase said.
“Mr. Sou wanted a better life for his family, and was lucky to relocate to Hawai‘i,” Takase said. “Aloun grew up in the heart of old Bangkok, and agriculture was always an important part of life. That experience gave the family an opportunity to make a living in Hawai‘i.”
Starting in Wai‘anae, then moving their crops to the Ewa and Wahiawa agricultural lands on O‘ahu, Aloun Farms’ quality products grew to be found in all of the major markets, restaurants and hotels in Hawai‘i.
A stumbling block to the business model is urban development through central O‘ahu economics and the lack of support for agriculture to provide fresh food at reasonable prices.
Water, lease rents, employee wages and the high cost of housing has made sustainable agriculture for Aloun Farms on O‘ahu unfeasible.
“Discussions were held, and the future on O‘ahu was not good. Maui and Kaua‘i were discussed, and we were blessed with the opportunities that were offered on Kaua‘i,” Takase said.
“The aloha we received from the Kekaha Agriculture Association, Senate President Ronald Kouchi, Stephanie Iona, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, the Kaua‘i County Council and many others helped us determine that Kaua‘i was in the future of Aloun Farms.”
Takase said Aloun Farm loves Kaua‘i, and looks forward to continuing to provide its people with healthy, fresh, locally grown products.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island
Be First to Comment