This might be the best possible way to get your hands dirty. We’re at the lush Hana Ranch, 3,600 acres of organic farming and grass-fed cattle ranching between ocean and mountain in Hana, a tropical pocket on the eastern edge of Maui.
We’re handed baskets, gardening gloves and knives, and we roll up our sleeves. Everything here is organically grown and raised without the use of synthetic chemicals or GMO seeds. The ranch’s hospitality manager, Morgan Maki, shows us rows of different heirloom carrots, beets, basil, tomatoes, limes, bananas. Who knew there were so many types of bananas? “Some are eaten raw, some are for cooking, some are for dessert,” Maki explains.
Everything here is grown with a regard for its impact, he said: a regard for the land, the environment, the ecosystem, and for the ranch and its 26 employees, most of whom are relatives or friends. Built in the 1940s as a hotel, the ranch has blossomed into one of Hawaii’s premiere sustainable food and agriculture destinations, supplying local restaurants with fresh, seasonal produce and beef. Along the way, it has become a little-known farm-to-table heaven. If you’re going to visit Hawaii, this is an immersive way to experience it: picking your own food with professional chefs, then cooking and dining with them.