04/01/16

Aloha!

Today marks the end of our current farm internship session! The time has flown by impossibly fast, but the proof of our time together is all around us on the farm. We have spent a few hundred hours together digging, planting, weeding, and harvesting. I am amazed by how beautiful and productive the farm is looking, and it’s due to the passion and hard work from this group of interns. We are also wrapping up our permaculture project. Take a look at our new outdoor processing area! IMG_9023
A look back at our project area before we did any work there. Covered in cane grass and false kava.

IMG_0132
New storage for tools is being added along the packing shed wall, as well out an outdoor sink for processing produce!
IMG_0143
This shaded area will be great for our morning check-in, as well as processing turmeric, lemongrass, and other crops.

IMG_0145
A view from the berm. This vetiver will help hold the slope. We have also planted bananas and taro in areas where we anticipate a lot of water run-off from our turmeric washing station.

 

A view from the berm. This vetiver will help hold the slope. We have also planted bananas and taro in areas where we anticipate a lot of water run-off from our turmeric

washing station.

In the Community Fridge we have . . .
Kale
Brassica Mix
Arugula
Dandelion Greens
Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Lemon
HI Chilies
Eggs
Wing Beans
Purple Cayenne Peppers
Okra
Fennel

Mahalo,
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

Category: Farm · Tags:

3/30/16

Aloha!

As of this week, the chicks have been on the farm for a full month! It has been amazing to watch their wings and bodies develop, as well as see their behaviors becoming increasingly bold and independent. They have now moved out into the whole brooder house and no longer have a need for their heat lamps. Their tiny chirps are becoming more pronounced, and they are showing a desire to take flight and roost.

Over the last two days, the crew has taken advantage of the sun and dug a total of five beds in Grace and Lehua Garden. We planted collards, Asian greens, and cilantro. We had a big harvest today, so the fridge is packed extra full of delicious produce! I’m particularly excited that we’re starting to harvest our okra plants. I’m predicting some gumbo in our near future:)

 

IMG_0097
These little ladies are growing up so fast! They’re looking a little gangly and awkward in their quickly changing bodies. I’d call this their pre-teen phase.

IMG_0098
Chicks hanging out in the Brooder House – so much new space to explore!

IMG_0103
We used to be able to examine all the chicks in this basin. Now they fly up to roost on its edges.

IMG_0442 (1)
A picture of our first okra harvest! This variety is called “carmine splendor” and has a unique deep red hue. (The kale photo-bombing in the background is looking cherry too!)

In the Community Fridge we have . . .
Kale
Brassica Mix
Arugula (extra spicy)
Dandelion Greens
Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Lemon
Lemongrass
Eggs
Wing Beans
Okra
HI Chilies
Purple Cayenne

Mahalo,
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

Category: Farm · Tags:

3/28/16

Aloha!

Over the last week we have seen some major transformation in upper Grace Garden. Just a week ago the sorghum grass cover crop was almost as tall as I am! It was all cut down using the flail mower and incorporated using the rotary plow. After the tractor work was done, the crew got in there to shape the beds by tamping and raking. On Saturday, with help from students from University of California – Santa Cruz, we planted out ten beds of Hawaiian red turmeric. We will be planting the rest of the beds with white mango turmeric and Indira yellow turmeric in the week to come. We saved seed on all three of these varieties of our turmeric in early January. Planting our own seed means we must also spend hours sorting through our stored turmeric and grading it, deciding what is best for planting. After planting, we will be top dressing the field with compost, manure, and mulch. This long term crop will be in the ground until we begin to harvest it in November.

IMG_0470
The crew sorting turmeric – separating out pieces that have rot or are too small for planting.

IMG_0691
Upper Grace, just a week ago, covered with sorghum and Sudan grass, as well as buckwheat.

IMG_0564
Jonathan cultivates the soil using the tractor.

IMG_0062
After digging, prepping and planting, the field is looking fresh and promising.

 

In the Community Fridge we have . . .
Kale
Brassica Mix
Arugula
Dandelion Greens
Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Lemongrass
Wing Beans
Eggs

Mahalo,
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

Category: Farm · Tags:

3/21/16

Aloha!

We’ve welcomed Aaron back to the farmily. You may remember him from his time as an intern here from April through October of 2015. Now he is back in action, joining this next session with his infectious exuberance and pro-activity. This guy comes with his own axe and machete and was already working on the farm before the work week began today – you could call him a jungle Jedi. We will be keeping on most of our current crew for a full 6 months, so you’ll be seeing familiar faces around the farm for quite a while. We are excited to embark on a new session with this group of old-timers, hopefully bringing even more depth to the learning environment and refined skill in doing daily farming tasks.

IMG_0744
Aaron cruisin in style

IMG_0593
I’m looking forward to getting a spearfishing lesson from Aaron. Here is a picture of him down at the coast on a previous fishing excursion.

IMG_9085
n other news, take a look at these carrots growing in Mana Garden. I told you all about direct seeding these a few weeks back, and it’s been fun to watch them grow and fill out. I’m so excited for these guys to mature and to have them available to you in the fridge!

IMG_9088
Over in the brooder house, our chicks are growing up fast – at 3 weeks old, their wings feathers are developing nicely.

In the Community Fridge we have . . .
Kale
Brassica Mix
Arugula
Dandelion Greens
Bok Choy
Salad Mix
Lemongrass
Eggs

Mahalo,
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

 

 

Category: Farm · Tags:

3/15/16

Aloha!
We have had a beautiful sunny Monday here on the farm. This morning we worked in Mana Garden, doing some weeding and pruning. In the afternoon, the crew got to work in their personal gardens where their self-directed projects are really coming along beautifully. Amongst the crew there was terracing, bamboo fence building, cane grass removal, painting, and beekeeping going on. We have some rock-star interns who put a great amount of intention and care into the work they do.
We have an abundance of bok choy and brassica mix right now, so come on over to the Community Fridge and hop on the stir fry trend. I know what I’m having for dinner:)

Plant Spotlight on . . . Buckwheat!
Over the last few weeks, I have been learning about what an incredible plant buckwheat is. We chose it as the cover crop for Lehua Garden after our ginger harvest because of its rapid growth for early incorporation. Its seeds germinate in just 3 to 5 days. It establishes, blooms, and can be incorporated in just 35-40 days.
Buckwheat is a fantastic “green manure” because once it is incorporated, it breaks down quickly, releasing its nutrients into the soil for the next crop. Other benefits are that it is bothered by few pests, it smothers many annual weeds, it thrives even in low fertility, and it solubilizes phosphorus, making it accessible to successive crops.

IMG_8995
The bees have been going crazy in the buckwheat field, and we are so grateful for their work in pollinating these lovely flowers.

IMG_8976

Manny uses the weed whacker to mow down a few feet of buckwheat so that we can get in there and dig some fresh new beds. To his right are beds that were cultivated the week before and planted with Provider Beans, which are already flourishing. You can also see the mulched pathways between the beds – a great solution for smothering weeds around the edges of our growing space.

IMG_8998

A view from the back of Lehua Garden. Buckwheat is a beauty.

In the Community Fridge we have . . .
Salad Mix
Brassica Mix
Arugula
Dandelion Greens
Bok Choy
HI Chili Peppers
Purple Cayenne Peppers
Lemongrass
Eggs

Mahalo,
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

Category: Farm · Tags:

3/11/16

Aloha!

As part of the internship program here, the interns engage in a permaculture design project and installation. Over the past week, the crew has had an introduction to permaculture and a class in permaculture design methods.  In our site selection process, we surveyed the farm for a location to design, eventually deciding on the area adjacent to our packing shed. We are excited to increase the efficiency and aesthetics of the area, a place where we spend a large portion of our time. We then embarked on an in depth site analysis, in which we noted existing features and structures, such as direction and location of sunlight, water flow, infrastructure, and access points. In the next week, the crew will work together to create a final design, which will we will install together in the remaining weeks of this session. We have already gotten to work clearing the cane grass and false kava, giving us a clearer understanding of the land we’re working with. Because this space is next to our community fridge, you all will be able to observe the progress we make and see permaculture in action as the land evolves. This is a hard working, creative group, and I am so excited to see how the design progresses. IMG_9023
Mark, Matt and Jonathan observe the area. We can all agree that the weeds have got to go.

IMG_9026Cane grass over Andrea’s head! Can you spot mark in this picture?

IMG_9033
After only about 2 hours, we cleared most of the weeds, allowing us to more fully imagine what the space might become.

IMG_9041
Interns come together to share their findings after completing their site analyses.

In the Community Fridge we have . . .
Salad Mix
Brassica Mix
Arugula
Dandelion Greens
Bok Choy
HI Chili Peppers
Purple Cayenne Peppers
Lemongrass
Eggs

Mahalo!
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

 

Category: Farm · Tags:

3/3/16

Aloha!
Last weekend, the crew went adventuring around the island! Some of the farmily took off on a group trip to Hana, others went to bask in the sun at Little Beach, and a few went on an awe inspiring hike with our good friend, Jungle John. We are some happy farmers:) One of my favorite parts of living on the farm is walking around the property each day and noticing how the plants transform. Recently, I have been keeping my eye on the gorgeous pineapple flowers along the driveway. It takes around 13 months before pineapple plants send up a flower and 18 months to a year for the plant to produce a pineapple ripe for eating. Since learning this, I have gained a deep appreciation for every bite of pineapple I am blessed to eat. Check this beauty out!

IMG_8523

Meet Mark Gregory
Mark Gregory is a go-getter who came to Hale Akua to begin a new life. It’s not uncommon for him to have taught an English class via Skype and hiked down to the coast and back all before starting work on the farm in the morning. He can do a lot of push ups. It might not come as a surprise to find out that Mark Gregory was a cheerleader in college. He brings his award winning team spirit to every task on the farm. His favorite plant on the property is night blooming jasmine and his favorite weed is Okinawa sweet potato. His favorite song to farm to is “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty. Mark’s personal garden area is the aquaponics system and the bees. He chose these areas of interest because he had limited experience with both, and he would like to have his own aquaponics system and bee hives one day. After his time at Hale Akua, he hopes to continue traveling the world working on farms and eventually manage his own farm.

IMG_8585
Mark bringing that cheer spirit in Aloha Garden
IMG_3236
Mark Gregory, adventurer extraordinaire!

IMG_8214 (1)Mark and Manny celebrating their success after digging a massive clump of vetiver grass out from Aloha Garden.

FullSizeRender (2)
He’s all about the yoga. Not a bad view either.

In the Community Fridge we have . . .
Eggs
Bok Choy
Baby Bok Choy
Dandelion Greens
Kale
HI Chilies
Wing Beans
Lemongrass
Rosemary
Thai Basil
Mint

Mahalo,
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

Category: Farm · Tags:

2/10/16

Aloha!

Today the farm crew has been hard at work transforming Lehua Garden, a zone of the farm that is near and dear to my heart. When I first arrived on the farm 4 months ago, Lehua was a field full of ginger. Now that the ginger has been fully harvested, it is time to plant a cover crop. The soil has been tilled and we are seeding buckwheat, which will establish quickly, reduce weed pressure, and rejuvenate soil fertility. I am thrilled to be on the farm long enough to witness the full cycle of crop rotations of longer term crops in Lehua. I will be ecstatic when we get to plant a new crop in there and receive a bountiful harvest from that space! We have also been managing the periphery of the garden and pulling up weed mat along the back boundary. We are working with the slope that exists there by forming a terrace, where we intend to plant lime trees and introduce vetiver grass as a stabilizer along the the sloping edges. Did you know that vetiver grass roots can grow 15 feet deep?! It is an excellent plant for reducing erosion, and we are loving propagating it more here at Hale Akua.

ALSO, it’s that time again . . . Spring Mix is back!!  If you’re anything like me, you’ve been waiting for those tender Salanova Lettuces to be stocked up for some epic salad eating.

image3

Above is a picture of Lehua Garden during my first week here in early October.

image2

After some serious sweat and love, you can see the incredible progress we’ve made!!

image1 (1)

Manny harvests some lettuces ripe for the eating:)

In the Community Fridge We Have . . .
Eggs
Salad Mix
Arugula
Mint
HI Chilies
Rosemary
Turmeric
Thai Basil
Wing Beans

Mahalo!
Xx Jennifer and the Hale Akua Farmily

Category: Farm · Tags:

Aloha!

2/5/16

Aloha All!

This week, we gave hugs, love, and all of our best wishes to Elan Goldbart as he headed to a new home in Santa Cruz, California. The farmily here misses him already, but his presence, inspiration, and hard work in his time as co-manager here at Hale Akua is felt around the farm. I think the plants miss him too, so we’re giving them some extra love 😉Elan_7970

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hale Akua Community and many friends gathered around the cottage and fire to celebrate Elan and our the community that we have here together.

IMG_8107

What better way is there to spend a last night on Maui than getting into shenanigans at the Fun Factory with the Hale A-crew-ans? We are sure that Elan is riding into a bright future (especially with with those wheels).

IMG_7979

In the Community Fridge we have . . .

Eggs
Kale
Arugula
Dill
Mint
HI Chilies
Rosemary
Turmeric
Thai Basil
Wing Beans

Mahalo,

Xx Jennifer and Hale Akua Farmily

Category: Farm · Tags:

Permit #CP 2005/0006
Permit #SUP2 2005/0004
TAX ID 94-327-2640
TAX ID 94-327-7590

Conditional Use Permit Pending