A famous song speaks of Waimanalo Blues, but leave the beach road and turn toward the magnificent Koolau Mountains, and you’ll find that the real color of Oahu’s rich farmland is green.
Dean Okimoto is Waimanalo’s best-known farmer. His salad greens – a mix of lolla rossa, red oak leaf, arugula, red kale, curly cress, tatsoi and green romaine – grace the tables of Hawaii’s finest restaurants, and as an advocate for farmers and their produce, he is the voice of sustainable living in the islands.
We spent a morning on the farm with Okimoto, gathering ingredients for a simple, sustainable salad using both fruits and vegetables. We used oranges, avocado and locally grown macadamia nuts (which take on the texture and appearance of Parmigiano-reggiano when finely grated).
“Look for thin-skinned, local oranges,” says Okimoto. “They’re sweeter and juicier, and the uglier ones are always best.” and always ask for local produce when you’re shopping, because “asking for local produce in the supermarkets is the best way to keep our farmers in the limelight and encourage managers to bring local products into the stores,” he says.
You’ll find Okimoto, his greens and dozens of other farmers and their homegrown produce at the weekly Farmers’ Market held Saturdays at Kapiolani Community College, Thursdays in Kailua and Sundays in Mililani.
Want to do more to increase the power of your dollar and decrease your own carbon footprint? Buy local. Nothing could be easier.
Except our stunning salad.
*1/2 pound ‘Nalo Greens
*1 Ka’u orange, peeled, seeded and sliced
*1 Sharwill avocado
* 2 ounces Maui Surfing Goat cheese
* 1 ounce Big Island Candies macadamia nuts (grown on Maui)
Assemble greens on plate. Top with orange segments and avocado. Crumble cheese on top of greens. Using a microplane or other fine grater, grate macadamia nuts and add to mix. Toss lightly to combine ingredients. Drizzle Maui Onion dressing or extra virgin olive oil on top. Serve immediately.