For our second Talk Story with the Love Life! Team newsletter feature, we are thrilled to share the story of Ko Farms, a local grower that has been providing organic produce for Down to Earth for almost 30 years.
Ko Farms, hidden deep in Palolo Valley (Oahu), is a world away from busy Honolulu city life. Though many of us think of farming as an activity that takes place far away from the city, Ko Farms has settled into the urban farm life easily. And it’s no wonder: Ko Farms is very nearly magical. Butterflies and birds hover about, sun streams through the large trees onto the kale plants, and the ocean is still and deep blue in the distance. Built on the hilly terrain in the back of the valley, Daniel Ko has carved out multiple terraces in which to grow his greens. Thousands of kale plants, collard greens and dandelion greens fill the terraces and beds with bright, living green energy. Other crops dot the landscape– a few peppers in one field, some banana trees in another, a few avocado trees or citrus trees here and there. The soil deep in the valley is rich and healthy and the weather is perfect for the greens– provided there are not too many rainstorms.
Daniel Ko has been farming for most of his life. He began with a small goat dairy with his brother, where he worked for years. His brother had a passion for raising the animals, but Daniel said he was always much more interested in vegetables. Over the years he has farmed properties in Waimanalo and other locations in Palolo. They have been farming the current property for just 10 years.
Ko Farms has long been certified organic; Daniel says that he was never interested in using the chemicals anyway, and the certification ensures a good price for his greens. He uses organic seeds and compost made in the neighborhood from local garden waste and tree clippings. His organic management includes bird netting, mulch, green manures and occasional use of organic pest controls for the persistent cabbage moths.
Currently, Ko Farms sells certified organic herbs, lacinato and curly kale (in bunches and bags), collard greens and dandelion greens to all four Oahu stores.
All of these greens are deeply nutritious and versatile in the kitchen. Juice them, blend them into smoothies, or find hundreds of salad, soup and entrée recipes on our website that feature kale, collards and dandelion greens.