Agriculture Club

Hawaiian Fresh Farms’ Tristan Reynolds is planting seeds for the future of farming.

Farming has been a lifetime labor of love for me,” says Tristan Reynolds, Hawaiian Fresh Farms farmer and founder, of his familial value: appreciation for the land. “I’ve always been involved in some form of agriculture in my life, whether it was growing a garden, or just participating in, what I like to call, ‘being a fruit tramp’ (laughs), or just picking fruits.”


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From honey to pesto, Reynolds' edibles regularly satisfy market shoppers (photo by Nathalie Walker).

Reynolds is the good-natured front-man behind Hawaiian Fresh Farms, a network of farmsteads rooted in sustainability and committed to harvesting the freshest produce, bringing them from the farm to your table. Its crops and livestock operate under a “stewardship of the land” philosophy, borrowing methods from the traditional Hawaiian ahupua‘a system, permaculture, agroforestry and hugelkultur, to produce wildflower honey, vanilla beans, quail eggs, goat cheese and various legumes.

Jargon aside, Hawaiian Fresh Farms’ stewardship is all about equilibrium: i.e., replenishing valuable nutrients into the soil and practicing animal husbandry, or giving animals the things they need to thrive while simultaneously using them as effective resources.

“A long time ago, Hawaiians lived here [in Hawai‘i] completely sustainably without any imports and hardly any exports. With that in mind, I know it can be done—where we are self-sustainable. It’s just going to take time and a cooperative effort to really be able to do that,” Reynolds states.

In its essence, Hawaiian Fresh Farms aims to improve the food industry and create a more diverse habitat for flora and fauna through small plots of veggies, respectively.

“Having a perpetual harvest and different techniques, such as companion planting, really leads to a desirable crop,” Reynolds says. “Working with diversified veg really gives us a line of vegetables, not just a one, like in a traditional monocrop. So when you have, say, 15 different vegetables, you really get some interesting harvests.”

One such crop is white Vienna kohlrabi, which Reynolds explains are similar to radishes and often used in Asian cuisine. “We are also known for growing our watermelon radishes, as well as our chilled beets, red beets and golden beets, so our beet mix is very, very popular.”

Fostering strong relationships with restaurant chefs is another field where Hawaiian Fresh Farms thrives. “Everything that we grow, we are able to work with local chefs who will buy it directly from us,” says Reynolds, acknowledging the need for premium produce. “So I ask chefs, What do you want to use? What do you want to have on your menu for the upcoming season?’ And then, I grow it for them. ”

Aside from its strong culinary partnership, Hawaiian Fresh Farms has sprouted its popularity with general public through value-added products: super food pesto, kombucha, etc., available at Eat The Street, Night Market, farmers’ markets, and through its newest branch, wedding catering. Of Hawaiian Fresh Farms’ exciting nuptials venture, Reynolds shares: “We use local ingredients to craft truly unique and dynamic meals that accentuate our local cuisine.”

Quality food aside, Hawaiian Fresh Farm’s true success springs from people of passion. “Having those people who do have a great potential to effect change, those are our real tools and resources here,” Reynolds states. “With business, I know that people are really the only asset that actually accrues value. For example, if you were able to buy a tractor, the day you start using it, it actually depreciates in value. With a person, the more you invest in them, they become worth it—not only for the company, but also for themselves.”

Th us, Hawaiian Fresh Farms is nurturing its team to flourish as businesspeople and agriculturalists, or as Reynolds calls them, the “agripreneurs” of tomorrow.

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