Mari’s Gardens has been growing sustainable produce since 2010. They provide fresh, quality ingredients not only to the community, but also to local chefs and restaurants. Owner, Fred Lau shared, “We plant, harvest, and replant immediately... the day we harvest is the day we plant.
At Mari’s Gardens, you can buy their locally-grown produce and also find rows of aquaponics and greenhouses. Fred feels it's important to promote sustainability and to support local farmers. “Teaching our children to be sustainable is happening already. Now we have a new generation of chefs that promote organic and healthy and local, and all of those things are important.” They help contribute to this mission by the different ingredients they grow.
In one of the greenhouses, we got to see seedlings that had just been planted. “We will grow the seedlings in the trays for two to three weeks and then they get put out onto these channels and they sit here for another three to four weeks. We’re pumping the water with nutrients to the channels...”
We got to hear from Mililani native, Hunter Gentry, who is currently working as a Chef at the Greenbrier, an award-winning luxury resort in West Virginia. From a chef’s perspective, he suggested one way to practice sustainability is to “use one product for multiple uses” and to “talk to farmers.” This helps them to “grow what we need, and grow only what we need, so that way we focus on less food waste.”
Mari’s Gardens has a wide variety of produce from beets, lettuce, oranges and more. Chef Hunter crafted us a dish using local products fresh from Mari's. He plated fresh lettuce, braised beets, radish slices, Cara Cara oranges, and a delicious lilikoi dressing. It was a delicious salad that was colorful, and most importantly, fresh!
Fred emphasized that local ingredients make all the difference! The small act of using local ingredients can not only take your dish to the next level, but is ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and healthier Hawaii.