Wailea Agriculture

North America’s largest grower of hearts of palm is located on the lush Hamakua Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Owners Michael Crawford and Leslie Hill started Wailea Agricultural Group (Wailea Ag) in 1994 by transforming old sugar cane land into an ample 110-acre food forest. Today, page the land is home to tons of tropical flowers, plants, fruits, and spices that all grow in abundance. The cream of the crop is Hawaiian heart of palm, a nutritious and highly prized vegetable that is harvested from the inner core of palm trees. Wailea Ag harvests the precious crop by hand and averages over 15 tons of heart of palm, many of which supply fine dining restaurants and hotels throughout Hawaii and beyond.

1994

Year Wailea Ag began.

110

Acres of Wailea Ag

15

Tons of heart of palm harvested each year.

20+

Varieties of edible plants grown.

35+

Years collective farming experience.

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Seattle travel photographer
Seattle travel photographer
Seattle travel photographer
Seattle travel photographer
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Wailea Ag was among our first farm stops on the Big Island culinary tour. While we were prepared to see lots of palm trees on the property, we never expected to find the modern day Garden of Eden as well. Michael was our tour guide and he loaded us up on a motorized golf cart and took us on a personal tour of his 110-acre property.

In no particular order, here is what we saw growing abundance at Wailea Ag: fresh peach palm, lychee, rambutans, pulasans, longans, Meyer lemons, keffir limes, durian, dragon fruit, avocado, passion fruit, mangosteen, starfruit, jackfruit, soursop, açai, citron, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, bay leaves, and cinnamon, to name a few.

While it seems that Michael and Leslie are already growing a large variety of crops, they are constantly experimenting with new fruits and vegetables, so it’s almost guaranteed that their farm will continue to grow over time. By the time we were done with the extensive tour, we also had a box to take home that was full of pretty much every fruit we could get our hands on.

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How does Wailea Ag factor in sustainability? Lucky for Michael and Leslie, their cash crop is largely sustainable by nature. Heart of palm is a renewable crop in that new shoots constantly replace the ones that have been harvested. A variety of sustainable farming techniques are also practiced, such as leaving trimmings and fallen leaves and fruits around the original plants to help fertilize them over time, and composting plant cutting. An on-site reservoir of water catchment makes use of abundant rain fall, and allow hunters are permitted to hunt feral pigs that roam the property.

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Seattle travel photographer
Seattle travel photographer
Seattle travel photographer
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Seattle travel photographer
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Seattle travel photographer

Wailea Agricultural Group, Inc.
P.O. Box 69
Honomu, Hawaii 96728
www.waileaag.com
(808) 963-6360

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Suzi Pratt is a Seattle event, food, and travel photographer available for hire. She is also a contributing writer at Digital Photography School and runs a blog teaching others how to start a photography business.
2016-10-28T04:43:45+00:00
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