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Bountiful Big Island
Getting Close to the Land via Agritourism

"Agritourism" is becoming increasingly popular on Hawaii's Big Island, as vacationers are seeking more substance during their precious leisure time. City denizens especially, longing to get away from traffic, crowds and hectic lifestyles may find solace and pleasure in exploring orchards, sampling juicy just-picked mangoes or fresh macadamia nuts, getting closer to the land and reconnecting nature on a very fundamental level.

Agritourism is basically "defined as the overlap of agriculture and tourism," and includes such components as farm visits, tours of regions, ranches, living history farms, agricultural fairs and festivals, as well as staying in farm-related beds & breakfasts and dining in local restaurants serving regional cuisine. Of nearly 5,500 farms offering agritourism in the U.S., more than 3,000 are located on the Big Island, many featuring tours, accommodations, activities and more.

Aside from the ubiquitous macadamia nut and coffee other crops include avocado, banana, guava, mango and exotics like carambola, durian, moya, lilikoi, rambutan, mangosteen, longan and lychee. The Big Island is, in fact, leader in diversified agriculture as farmers can grow just about anything on the island.

The following three destinations are eager to share their bounty with visitors to the Island:

Macadamia Meadows Farm Bed & Breakfast
A stay at Macadamia Meadows Bed & Breakfast is a visit to the old Hawaii. Take a walking tour of their orchard and learn about the history of macadamia farming in Hawaii. Try your skill at cracking a fresh nut. You might even get to pick, crack and husk your own bag of nuts. South Point, believed to be the landing site of the first Polynesians, is just down the road. Nearby are also Green Sand beach, Punalu'u and Volcano National Park.

Lucky Farm
Here's another option for really getting close to the land and getting a feeling for the old Hawaii by staying at this century-old working macadamia nut/Kona coffee farm. Tour the farm, pick exotic fruits you may have never seen before, drink coffee that is ripening on trees just outside the door.

Kahua Ranch
Kahua Ranch offers an "upcountry B&B experience" on the slopes of the Kohala Mountains. Tour the ranch and its hydroponic gardens, take horseback rides and enjoy Paniolo barbecues. Hydroponics, by the way, refers to the growing of plants without soil.

For a brochure or more information on Hawaii's Big Island's many ranches, farms and farm B&B's visit www.hawaiiagtourism.com. Click here for hundreds of listings to great destinations.

(Updated: 07/01/08 HC)


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