Hana Farms offers an ambitious, delicious version of the roadside farm stand. In addition to blue-ribbon, organically-grown produce such as dinosaur egg-sized avocados, it offers quick bites, grab-n-go sandwiches, and dinner specials.
Sitting out at picnic tables beside the rainforest canopy, you can watch the farm in action or gaze at banana, pineapple and breadfruit orchards. When we went, most of the workers were busy hauling in freshly picked bananas or tilling the soil. The café seems a side-project, a modest showcase for their produce. No matter, the food is excellent.
Banana bread is the official snack of the Hana Highway. Many roadside stands offer it. The area is full of banana palms and Hana bananas are famous statewide. Hana farms has a fresh, rather that over-ripe banana flavor in their loaves. It has a crisp, sugar-dusted loaf top and a moist crumb. It’s the best banana bread that we’ve had … by a Hana Highway mile. We clawed at it throughout the drive, until the paper pan was left with only a few crumbs. We regretted not getting an extra loaf to eat toasted and buttered later on, like civilized people.
Happily, Hana Farms offers more than just the usual banana bread and fish taco concessions. Baked manapua is a classic Hawaiian snack. These are the same thing as Chinese char siu pork buns, but, being in Hawaii, the bread and the BBQ pork are sweeter. The buns are tasty and generous with tender pork, but they don’t have the same pillowy texture that excellent pork buns exhibit.
We prefer the unusual spicy ham and cheese turnovers that are spiced with hot chilies and sweetened with passionfruit butter (one of the farm’s many house-made condiments offered for sale). The turnover is generous with tender cubed ham and the buttery pastry is soft and thin.
To drink: honey-scented, Maui-grown coffee, sparkling lilikoi (passion fruit) lemonade, and iced tea made with local herbs. All three drinks impressed us enough to recommend this stop this stand for a least a refreshment, even if you can’t stand banana bread. The ginger-lemongrass tea helped sooth road-sick stomachs.
High-quality hot sauces, pickles, jams, and many other farm-stand charms are available to take home. Most of the products are made from fruits and veggies grown on their estate. Wood-oven pizza is available on weekends during the evenings.