I thought it was a good idea. Fred enjoyed himself and so did I. This activity might go down in family lore as "what was Mom thinking"? I was thinking. I believe I read about Merriman’s restaurant and farm tour in Food and Wine. We are all foodies so wouldn’t it be interesting to see an organic farm and then eat dinner there afterward?
The farm is 2800 feet above sea level so the weather up there is drastically different than the weather on the coast. We were sort of prepared but not completely. We all wore long pants, sneakers and sweatshirts but it happened to be raining off and on and was unbelievably windy. I was happy to wear the yellow windbreaker that the tour guide provided and use the umbrella but everyone else didn’t. They stood under my umbrella and shook.
We started out at the farm. 3 acres. They sell about 160 lbs of veggies a day. We learned all about how everything is planted. The majority of their cash comes from selling spinach, mixed salad and lettuce. They also do root veggies but those three things are the most profitable. We tasted as we went through the tour. Everything was really good. They sell at the local farmers market every Saturday and have been doing so for 17 years. The land that they farm on is part of the Government’s land which is leased only to people who are half Hawaiian. The farmers mother is half Hawaiian which is how they use the land. They have a 199 year lease.
After we did the farm area we drove down the road to her mother’s other farm area where she grows flowers
for market. At one point the land was just grass but now it is a jungle of beautiful flowers. Her mother is into lei making and has had two books published on the art. Some of the flowers that she grows are specifically dedicated to lei making.
At the end we saw the husbands passion for collecting old cars. One of them was a model A which is part of the model T genre. That was quite cool.
The tour guide then took us to a livestock farm. Cattle is one of the biggest industries on the island. Who would have thought? The land was beautiful. Rolling green hills high in above the water with Mauna Kea in the distance. We had rainbows everywhere. After the rain settled and the sun came in. I have never seen so many huge and magnificent rainbows.
We came back into town for dinner at Merrimans. Much to the kids demise, actually mine too, we had dinner with the group. We didn’t get to order off the menu but it was a planned meal which had all been grown at the farms we saw. The menu looked really good so we were all bummed but in the end, the meal at Merrimans was hands down the best thing we have had on the island. Really delicious and creative.
We started off with a salad gazpacho soup. Chunky vegetable gazpacho soup in a bowl and over that is a large lettuce leaf, sliced strawberries, sliced radishes and chunks of cut up tomatoes. I believe the additions to the soup had been mixed with a light citrus vinaigrette. It was delicious. They also served with this warm whole wheat bread which was hot, thick and tasty. Main course was a bit of a combo that didn’t necessarily work together but it gave us the opportunity to try different food. Sliced lamb over a mushroom risotto and sauteed spinach. All good. The lamb was particularly delicious. A corn salad served next to grilled mahi-mahi that is served over a whipped potato vegetable mixture and grilled eggplants on the side. The fish was fantastic. Simply grilled, juicy and tasty.
Dessert was a passion fruit mousse with marinated strawberries on the side and a nut shortbread cookie. I am not a huge passion fruit fan but this tasted more like pineapple. It was excellent.
We all loved the meal. I’d consider going back up there for another meal but it is a 45 minute drive from the hotel. On the way back we were reminiscing about favorite travel actitivites which is always fun but asking ourselves why can’t the resorts cook like this? The makings for good food is obviously available on the island. My guess is the next few nights won’t be as good but Merrimans is worth the journey. The farm trip, I liked it but it might not be for everyone. It certainly was not for the kids but again time will tell on that one.
Thanks for the Merriman review – we will for sure try it next year. Not looking forward to the 45 min treck, but if you say it’s worth it we’re doing it.
Love farm tours with meals, I think you can’t have too many in life. Hawaii is supposed to be a big Permaculture place. If I were going I would try to tour Permaculture farms. You know, strawbale walls, mud ovens in the back yard for baking bread, that sort of thing. I’m a city girl now, but get dizzily romantic about homesteader life.