HONOLULU (KHON2) — More than a year after the pandemic first started, signs of recovery are starting to show. For many local farmers, the fruits of their labor are finally paying off after months of uncertainty.
“About a year ago the restaurants closed so we had to cut back our plans for expansion,” Bruce Campbell of Ma Farm said.
Farmer’s markets were also closed for a time, but their reopening and heavy demand by local residents helped keep crops profitable.
“Basically the farmer’s market has kept us alive as a farm,” Campbell said.
“The markets have been incredible, to see the local people come out and buy food that was grown here,” said FarmLover’s Farmer’s Market Executive Manager Pamela Boyar said.
But as farmer’s markets brought in money, farms that make their living selling to restaurants and hotels struggled. That began to change recently with a boom in spring break tourism.
“Within a week I’ve used about 120 pounds of just lettuce,” Merriman’s Executive Chef Chad Yamamoto said. “Broccoloni and romanesco that’s another 100 pounds so in that week. We’ve had 200 pounds of produce that we’re bringing in just from the local farmers.”
As business gets back up and running, Ma Farm is looking to double it’s capacity as restaurants gain steam.
“We’re looking for a small restaurant that matches our small farm that wants to feature local organically grown vegetables,” Campbell said.