Friday, May 4, 2018

Touring Diversified Agriculture in Ka‘u

Hydroponic lettuce in a greenhouse ready for eating. Photos by Lee Neal

Guests help out with the tea planting.

John Cross, Kaʻu Valley Farms Land Manager,
points to nursery specimens.
Photos by Lee Neal 
Our first Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ka‘u Valley Farms Tour yesterday, Thursday, May 3, showed participants the diversified agricultural endeavors taking place on 1,500 acres that climb the slopes of Kahilipali Ahuapua‘a, the hill behind Naʻalehu. The tour featured coffee, tea, sweet potatoes, lettuce, and other vegetables. 

Lee Segawa, Kaʻu Valley Farms Farm Manager, 
shows attendees which part of the plant is used 
to make tea, the new growth.
Guests visited green houses where young plants are started, some hydroponically, and the fields where many grow out. The owners are in the process of planting a large tea farm as well as growing food to be sold locally.

A trip to a water tunnel, lunch from a local restaurant, including locally sourced vegetables, were on the itinerary. Farm Manager Lee Segawa explained how crops are grown. Land Manager John Cross told the history of the plantation water system and the land itself. 

Kaʻu Valley Farms grows sweet potatoes below
the hillside, looking out to Naʻalehu and the Pacific.
A brief walk into the 85-acre Native Forest upon the lands - a forest area that was never converted into sugarcane provided a glimpse into original, pristine native Hawaiian forest. 

Visitors also received some hands-on experience, helping to plant Camelia sinensis tea plants and sampling hydroponic lettuces.

For more, visit To see if this event will be offered next year, visit our website at

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