Farm-fresh Lunch And Dinner At Kahumana

Jo McGarry
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Wednesday - May 19, 2010
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Robert Zuckerman, Ranjithkumar Ramankumar and Joe Lapilio at Kahumana Organic Farm and Cafe

When the journey involves a drive along the Waianae Coast with its white, sandy beaches and sun-kissed ocean, and the restaurant in question serves fresh food straight from the farm, lunch becomes a memorable experience.

Swing right off Farrington Highway at the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and head back into the valley off Lualaualei Homestead Road and you’ll find Kahumana Organic Farm.

Here, amid a citrus orchard and mango trees heavy with ripening fruit, sits a newly opened organic café serving food grown just a few steps from its kitchen.

To be fair, this isn’t exactly your average neighborhood café, but for those willing to make the drive in search of farm-to-fork cuisine, this country café is a delightful destination.

“It’s sustainability at its best,” says Kahumana’s Robert Zuckerman, who manages the café. “You can see the farm from the dining room, and see farm workers in the fields as you’re eating.”


Zuckerman also is proud of the kitchen’s organic approach to the entire menu and not just the produce grown on the farm.

“We use really high-quality ingredients and we make almost everything from scratch,” he says.

The devotion to healthy eating is obvious from the first taste of the restaurant’s homemade Citrus Cooler. The blend of black teas with farm-grown lemons, limes and agave nectar provides a thirst-quenching introduction to the home-grown menu.

Kahumana, a certified organic farm, grows a variety of fruits and root vegetables including carrots and beets. For now, the farm produce is available on weekends at Waianae Farmers Market, but if interest in Kahumana’s unique ability to produce root crops continues, look for the farm’s fresh produce on sale elsewhere around the island.

Daily specials are offered for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays, and while the specials change depending on the availability of farm produce and local fish, there’s a core menu of some excellent fare. I loved the Greek Salad - a plate filled with mixed greens, onions, tomatoes and cucumber as well as feta cheese, whole-wheat pita bread and black olives. Yogurt, handmade at neighboring Naked Cow Dairy, is served as a perfect dip for the pita, and the made-from-scratch (dried beans, not canned) hummus is perfect.

House entrees, the ones you’ll find on the menu most days, include Mac nut Pesto Whole-wheat Pasta served with fresh farm greens and a side salad or soup ($10) and a Mexican Veggie Wrap ($8). The menu is small (four or five simple entrees, three salads, soup and desserts), but beautifully presented and of the highest quality.

“The food is really good,” says Waianae Coast Coalition director Joe Lapilio, “and as well as offering a more healthful way to eat to our local community members, we also are beginning to see that people are driving from Kapolei and beyond to come here to the cafe.”

If you have the time, or you’re looking for a destination lunch spot to take visitors or friends, Kahumana will delight those in search of healthful food and a somewhat soulful experience.

For the curious, and those looking to spend some down time in the country, there’s an open day at the farm scheduled for Saturday. Farm tours, tastings, cultural exhibits, crafts, children’s activities and live music offer an opportunity to see what’s been happening behind the farm gates these past 40 years.

“We want to show people that we’re a model for sustainability and for healthy eating,” says Zuckerman.

“People are looking for healthier alternatives,” adds Lapilio. “At Kahumana’s organic farm, we’re able to offer them.”

Happy eating!

Kahumana Organic Farm and Café


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