The heavy, clay-filled soil is so rich I almost want to taste it. It’s called Lualualei vertisol, named after the Lualualei valley on the leeward side of Oahu where Gerry and Kukui Maunakea-Forth first founded Ma’o Organic Farms.
When I ask Chuck Boerner of Ono Organic Farms how long he’s been selling produce to Down to Earth, he pauses, bemused, and says, “Geez, I don’t know.” After consulting with his wife, Lilly, he settles on “twenty, maybe thirty years. I was supplying Bobby since he was up in Wailuku. They’re our best customers.”
When I was nineteen years old, I dropped out of college, took the subway to the airport, hopped on the first flight to Spain, took a train out to the country and started walking, carrying only a change of clothes and some books I’d been meaning to read.