2012 Top 5 Farm-fresh Products

Just as I’m writing about our Top 5 restaurant picks in this week’s “Tastes of Kaua’i” column, I’d like to share our Top 5 Farm Fresh Products in this space.

We covered our first farmer June 2, 2011, and since then, husband/photographer Dan and I have jostled down many of the island’s red dirt roads to spotlight the stewards of our land.

At first, I thought I’d list our favorite growers, because they deserve acknowledgement for the hard work that goes into feeding us.

But the number of favorites was so overwhelming, there was no way Dan and I could single out just five.

So we turned to our favorite farm-fresh products instead. As it turns out, all but one involves a farmer anyway. The selection process was based on their 2012 appearance in MidWeek Kaua’i, and how frequently we use and/or recommend their product. Through this column, we have met many Kaua’i farmers, including the ones listed here, who grow organically and are not certified. This, and the hefty carbon footprint of shipping food here, makes buying local my first priority.

* On Jan. 18, Dan and I spent an enchanting Saturday morning at the Hanalei Farmers Market. We were there to cover Cas SchwabeLutton, owner of Akamai Juice Co. Lutton sources most of her ingredients from the market as well as North Shore farmers, and makes highly delicious and super nutritious juice blends, which also are available at The Garden Cafe at Common Ground. This October, The Garden Cafe started selling Lutton’s Hot Shots and Wellness Shots. These drinks work. One day, I watched a lady with a migraine drink three Hot Shots over several hours, and in the end, she claimed they released her from the pain.

* Our story for A’akukui Ranch grass-fed beef ran April 5. While doing research, I learned that the animals we eat consume more antibiotics than we do. By ingesting them, we become immune to antibiotics and vulnerable to super-bugs. Rancher Duane Shimogawa’s 100 percent all-natural, grass-fed cows graze on 1,600 acres of Kaua’i pasture. The animals are raised and slaughtered on Kaua’i, and are available at Ishihara Market, Sueoka Store and Kukuiula Market. Collin Darrell of Grown serves A’akukui Ranch at his pop-up events, and you can find it on the menu at Oasis on the Beach and Kaua’i Pasta.

* I will be eternally grateful to Steve Frailey, noni farmer, owner of Hawaiian Health Ohana Farm and maker of noni lotion and fruit leather. His story ran in our May 30 issue, and ever since I have used his product daily.

The lotion alleviated my carpal tunnel, and quickly heals bug bites, rashes, cuts and scratches. Even Lucy, our 10-year-old dog, has benefited. She developed a string of tumors along her back from an allergic reaction to a leptospirosis vaccination. I put noni leather into her food twice a day, and not only did the tumors disappear in three months, but her arthritic limp did as well.

* We learned about a very effective, all-natural bug spray while visiting Raven Liddle’s farm for the June 6 issue of MidWeek Kaua’i. Now, every time we go to a farm, we douse ourselves in Hawaiian Jungle Shield by Second Skin Naturals. Neem and noni keep the bugs away, and aloe and jojoba make the spray double as a light moisturizer. Lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass and lavender soften the pungent smell of neem.

* On June 20, we covered Cloudwater Tea, the only tea farm on Kaua’i. Owner Michelle Rose hand processes five whole-leaf, 100-percent estate grown tea: white, green, wulong, black and pu erh. Right now, the only way you can buy the tea is at cloudwatertea.com, or by taking a tour. As you stroll the property, goats feed in the grassy meadows that are surrounded by mountain ranges, and chickens

strut and peck for bugs. The leisurely tour combined with a tea tasting leaves you feeling serene and alive.

We’d like to thank Kaua’i’s farmers, fishermen and ranchers for nurturing our bodies with nutrient-rich food, while caring for our greatest resources: the island and its people. It has been our pleasure to share your honest work with MidWeek Kaua’i readers.

And to our readers, mahalo nui loa for turning to these pages every week. We wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.

Marta Lane is a Kaua’i-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.