There’s a Hawaiian phrase, “aina momona,” that speaks to the abundant bounty of the land and our role as stewards to care for it.
The island of Molokai with its abundant resources is truly aina momona, and what helps this sense of stewardship thrive is supporting the farmers, fishermen, and ranchers who encourage sustainable produce.
Even if you’re just on Molokai for the day, you can help “eat local” by frequenting restaurants that buy from local farmers. One of those spots is Paddler’s Inn, where the menu features local shrimp from Keawa Nui Farms, as well as beef from Molokai Ranch and delicious local produce.
So, too, does Hale Kealoha have a wealth of local produce, and is located oceanfront at Hotel Molokai with tables right by the water. Here you’ll find island-raised shrimp, beef, and fish that’s been locally caught, and you can even find local produce like sweet potato and ulu (breadfruit.)
If you’re staying on the island for any period of time—and have cooking facilities in your condo—consider a stop at Kumu Farms to pick up organic produce. Here you’ll find succulent strawberry papayas, apple bananas, and lilikoi, and be sure to grab a bag of the popular, homemade mac nut pesto.
Speaking of mac nuts you can also make a stop at Purdy’s Mac Nut Farm, which has been growing the tough, flavorful nuts since the early 1980s. More than just a popular visitor attraction, the farm is a place where shoppers can pick up or ship home boxes of nuts, as well as seasonings, mac nut oil, and macadamia honey.
If you’re headed out to Halawa Valley, make a stop at the small store at mile marker 25, and shop for organic, biodynamic produce that’s grown on Puu O Hoku Ranch. Everything from kale to cherry tomatoes are grown right on the ranch, as are chard, lychee, bananas, and creamy avocados. You can also pick up cuts of beef from the ranch’s free range cattle, and help perpetuate the lifestyle of ranching and farming on the island’s east end.
Or, if you’re simply driving down the road and see fish being sold from a cooler, stop and chat with the local fisherman and purchase a couple of fish. Chances are it was caught that morning and will be exceptionally fresh—and you’ll also get to talk a little story with locals who call this place home.