By Wendy Osher
February 15, 2022, 8:31 AM HST
Makaʻalae Farms on Maui is set to receive $250,000 in funding from the US Department of agriculture to help create new products and better advertise goods and services.
According to a post on the Living Local 365 website, Maka’alae Farms is a family-owned and operated farm dedicated to bringing authentic kombucha brewed with organically grown ingredients in Hawaiʻi.
The product was available at many retailers through 2020 including: Tamura’s Fine Wines and Liquors on Maui, Pukalani Superette, Hāna Farms, the Hāna Farmers Market, and ʻĀina Gourmet at the Honua Kai Resort; however, when the state shut down tourism to Hawaiʻi the company made the difficult decision to close its kombucha brewery in Pāʻia, come back to its farm full-time and work on building an Ag processing facility/kombucha brewery on its 12 acre family farm in Hāna.
“We are currently working on building the brewery on our farm and will relaunch our kombucha in cans statewide in early 2023,” said Jamie Garrison and Mitchell Garrison of Maka’alae Farms.
“We scaled back to selling only in Hāna for now through the Hāna Farmers Market while we are building our brewery,” according to the Garrisons.
During the height of production, flavors included: Turmeric Lemon Basil, Pineapple Hibiscus, Papaya Limeade, Mango, Starfruit Limeade, Ginger Blue Spice, P.O.G., Lemongrass Ginger, and Chocolate Chili and Spice.
“We did make all those flavors and much more but only one or two are currently being sold at a time. This is temporary and we will bring back all of our flavors when we have our brewery up and running,” according to Maka’alae Farms.
“We’re incredibly excited to relaunch in cans across Maui and the State of Hawaiʻi,” they said.
The support is part of a $1,149,316 allocation to farms on Maui and Hawaiʻi Island to grow their businesses and become more successful in accessing new markets.
In making the announcement today, US Senator Brian Schatz (D- Hawaiʻi) said, “Small farms and agricultural businesses help feed families with fresh, home-grown food. This new federal funding will invest in our local farmers and give them more resources to grow their businesses and support their local communities.”
The new federal funding is provided though the USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant Program and the Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program. “The VAPG Program helps agricultural producers increase benefits to customers through the processing and marketing of new products. The RCDG Program improves economic conditions in rural areas by helping individuals and businesses start, expand, or improve mutually-owned businesses like rural cooperatives,” according to the announcement.
According to Sen. Schatz, these grants can be used by the recipients to cover processing costs, develop business plans, and conduct feasibility studies.
The balance of Hawaiʻi grants were issued to Big Island businesses and include the following:
- $200,000 for The Kohala Center on Hawai‘i Island
- $49,999 for Mother Nature’s Miracle on Hawai‘i Island
- $250,000 for Hawai‘i ULU Producers Cooperative on Hawai‘i Island
- $214,379 for Island Harvest on Hawai‘i Island
- $184,938 for Spicy Ninja Sauce on Hawai‘i Island