When planning a boomer adventure to Hawaii’s Big Island, what comes to mind? Sun. Surf. Relaxation. Aloha. What about dining at restaurants to experience locally sourced food? Are you ready for a healthy dining adventure? Step away from the resort scene to follow this off-the-beaten-path slow food tour. Your taste buds will thank me.
If you’re staying in one of the resorts on the Kona coast, take a drive into coffee country in the hills above Kailua-Kona to Holuakoa Cafe and Gardens in Holualoa Town. It’s here that Alan and I experienced our first locally sourced meal on the island of Hawaii. The management takes the slow food concept seriously focusing on food products that are grown within a 5-mile radius of Holualoa Town. Now that’s locally sourced food.
Boomer visitors who drive from Holualoa Town to Waimea might think they’ve arrived in the wrong state. You certainly won’t find palm trees or a sandy beach. This is Hawaii’s high country where old lava flows reveal evidence of former volcanic eruptions and grasslands feed the cattle at Parker Ranch. Be sure to stop for lunch or dinner at Merriman’s Restaurant in Waimea. Twenty years ago, owner Peter Merriman joined forces with 12 other Hawaiian chefs to encourage local vegetable and fruit production. The result — the birth of Hawaiian Regional Cuisine.
Of course you don’t have to drive across Parker Ranch to enjoy a meal at Merriman’s. It’s a quick drive up into the hills from the Kohala Coast to your meal. Expect to dine on produce and fish that are 90% locally grown using only sustainable methods. You’ll find a Merriman’s Restaurant on Maui and Kaui, too.
From Waimea, let’s take our slow food tour down the winding road to Honokaa on the Hamakua Coast (that would be the Hilo side of Hawaii). Would you like to wake up to a locally sourced breakfast? A stay at Waianuhea Bed and Breakfast not only introduces boomers to off-the-grid luxury, but Manager/Chef Randy Goff’s gourmet breakfasts feature organic, locally grown products to fuel your active day. If you give her enough notice, she’ll even cook dinner.
I like to think that I learn something from each trip that I take. My journey to Hawaii reminded me of how good home grown tastes. The flavors are more intense — the color of the produce more vibrant. And of course there are the environmental benefits of locally sourced food grown on an island that depends on fuel-hogging ships and planes to import products.
Today is Blog Action Day, where bloggers take one day to write about an important global topic to inspire a world-wide conversation. You guessed it — the topic for 2011 is food.
More Blog Action Day food posts:
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Hawaii that serves locally sourced food? Post a comment to share your recommendations. Our motto: eat local wherever you go.
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A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.