The Big Island is a farming island. Due to the island's diverse micro-climates a variety of crops can be grown year-round. Kona is famous for being one of the world's excellent coffee-growing regions, but the Big Island produces many other major crops including macadamia nuts, papaya, bananas, and flowers such as orchids, anthurium, and protea. At a single meal you may have delicate local lettuce and juicy tomatoes and cucumbers grown in the cool moist Waimea uplands, beef and milk from local cattle raised on the Hilo-side, mushrooms from the damp Hamakua area, marlin caught off the Kona coast, poi from Waipio valley, and passionfruit from the Hawi area.
Right in our neighborhood we have: a plumeria farm, a large coffee farm (although most people also grow a few plants on their property), a huge coffee roastery, a macadamia nut processing plant, a queen bee farm, a honey processing plant, a plumeria farm, and a large orchid farm next door. In addition to these large operations, everyone we know grows some food on their property. Papayas grow like weeds here and just about everyone in our neighborhood has some papaya trees, as well as citrus which does great down here near the ocean in the sun and heat. Here at the Inn we grow green figs, tangerines, starfruit, white pineapple (a local delicacy), mangoes, and coconuts. We also rotate various vegetables and herbs like lemongrass, sweet potatoes, kale, citronella, and amaranth. (We also just added a Tahitian lime and a Meyer lemon and will continue to add more food-trees each year.) Our neighbors produce oranges, limes, lemons, avocados, pummelos, bananas, tangelos, lychee, surinam cherry, and jaboticaba, among others. We often share and/or exchange fruit since it is so plentiful, different things are ready at different times, and we all grow different varieties. It is a wonderful luxury to live in a place with so much local food and such a strong sense of pride in the land.