Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kahuku Farms

Driving around the North Shore of Oahu, there are just so many things to see.  So many places call your name.  "Stop Here."  "No, Stop Here."  "Why choose?  Stop at both places!"  
Kahuku Farms was one of these places.  Local.  Fresh.  Delicious looking.  Near famous shrimp trucks, and in a fairly well traveled area of the North Shore, their little farm store called Kahuku Farms Farm Cafe was just so tempting.  We stopped for shakes (pictured below) and some lilikoi ice cream.  

It wasn't bad, it was just tremendously disappointing.  First, I must mention what my wife has dubbed a term for a phenomenon, "the Aloha Bump."  This "Bump" is the good vibe that people feel being in Hawaii - and this vibe makes people more inclined to write positive reviews on crowdsourcing sites, like Yelp.  In addition, everyone is so laid back in Hawaii that they love everybody, and everything!  Kahuku Farms was the beneficiary of an Aloha Bump.  

We ordered the lilikoi joy (lilikoi and banana), haupia pineapple (pineapple and coconut), and lilikoi ice cream.  This was after we found out there was no more papaya for a half papaya with ice cream (my first choice).  Despite my earnest request for -anything but banana- in my smoothie, the unapologetic attendant informed me that lilikoi joy MUST come with banana and there were absolutely NO substitutes.  She, and her cohort, swore up and down that because lilikoi is such a strong flavor (think a slightly less pronounced passion fruit) that you cannot taste the banana.  

I gave it a shot, and I paid for it.  Paid for it in more than one way.  Banana is such a strong flavor in smoothies, especially when it is the base of the drink, and extra especially when it is starchy and under-ripened.  I could taste almost nothing but banana.  Think a tart banana shake with seeds.  My kind, accommodating, anti-conflict wife took a taste and knew that I would not be happy.  She agreed it was terribly banana-y.  Her haupia pineapple was good, but average.  The lilikoi ice cream scoop was good, but not smooth.  It was crystalized, maybe a little old or not creme-based.  This said, things were fresh (though frozen).  Also, we did not try the paninis or other offerings at the farm.  

What can I say, other than I was very disappointed?  Mostly, I would have appreciated the folks being just a little accommodating.  Since treats like these are a dime a dozen in Hawaii, I am not going to be speeding back to Kahuku.

Kahuku Farms
56-800 Kamehameha Highway  
Kahuku, HI 96731
2.5 of 5


  1. I like your ". . . kind, accommodating, anti-conflict wife's" term of the Aloha bump. I think that's really true of so many things.

    I also don't care for the banana flavor in smoothies, it's just too strong.

  2. Kahuku Farms should have used their right to "refuse to serve you". I would have...

  3. Thank you Anonymous for your kind anonymous words. The blog feels like it has hit a new legitimacy mile-marker to have its first genuine complaint. Feel free to come back and complain more. As for refusing to serve me, they sure could have. I would have saved $18.00 too. I personally think that my overall review was more than generous, since crystalized ice cream is anything but delicious...

    1. Aloha from Kahuku Farms!

      My name is Judah, husband of Kylie Matsuda a fourth generation farmer and strong supporting member of the family business. My wife and I are the directing managers of the farm cafe prodject you visited.
      I have just had the opportunity to read the review of your experience.
      Unfortunately, a significant amount of time has passed and it would have served us greater to have found out about your experience much sooner..
      Rude and negative comments can be difficult to hear and even harder to accept.
      However, it is important for us to understand that in these situations,there are always opportunities to learn and grow.
      We choose to use a fresh fruit, non-dairy base of our farm grown apple bananas for all our smoothies.

      We have learned from your blog posting that there will be people who do not appreciate the banana flavor. We have also learned that it is very important to educate our guest about the liliko'i fruit being naturally a very tart flavor.
      We now recognize the importance to be able to provide our guest with the option to change our recipie upon their request.
      In regards to our liliko'i ice cream, we obviously made a big mistake. Our quality control is our reputation and the icy texture is unexceptable!

      If you ever find yourself in the island country town of Kahuku we welcome you to return to our little Cafe and redeem a free serving of our Liliko'i ice cream.

      Mahalo for your honest review!
      From our Ohana to yours,
      May you life be filled with blessings and rewards!


    2. Judah,

      I appreciate your visit to the blog and comments. I appreciate that you heard a few issues that you plan to address. You should note, however, that I love liliko'i.

      Your thoughtful response represents a turn I believe that will pay off. Everyone wants to support small businesses, family owned operations, and local farms. Occasionally you'll hear tough feedback, or someone won't like something. It's how you respond to that after all. You'll see on this blog a number of serving issues, but the establishment is always judged by their response. In some instances you may judge you really don't want that customer, but it's still important to handle the issue with grace (like the pending Crush review).

      I cannot wait to go back and give the farm cafe another shot. Good luck! Mahalo.