This Is A Winner!

I’m a new customer of Oahu’s Farm To Car program and I could not be happier about this enlargement of Hawaii’s farmer-support programs.

Especially during the pandemic when I’d like to reduce the number of times I have to mingle with untested shoppers at the local supermarkets and try to social distance at the cashier stations. This weekly Hawaii Farm Bureau curbside pickup venture is for me!

Here’s how it works. First, you go online to FarmToCar (https://farmtocarhawaii.org/) and register and include a credit card. Then at noon on Sundays, you go back to the FarmToCar website, sign in with your email, and go to the page with what’s available to order. Select your needs.

The choices will please most home cooks. There are almost 400 offerings of local produce and prepared products such as local honey. More than I had been finding at the drive-in and home delivery site called Farm Link Hawaii. Prices seem just a tad lower, too.

But there is one big caveat. When you order at Farm Link your order is automatically transmitted. But with Farm To Car you must jump through some button hoops to confirm and place your order.

With Farm Link Hawaii, I had been going to the Banàn store across from the UH campus to do my pickups. Farm To Car is different. You order Sunday noon+, and you don’t pick up until the next Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. That’s at the Blaisdell Center. You drive mauka on Ward Avenue and turn in (well sign marked) to the big lot between the Concert Hall and the Galleria. Give a worker your name and/or order number. You’ll be directed to station 1 or 2. That’s where a cheerful Saturday worker will bring out an orange, synthetic bag (or bags) loaded with your order and put it in your car’s interior or trunk.

The only human contact you have is when you open a window and call out your order name or number. Then you drive straight out onto King Street. What a snap! I loaded up on lettuces, potatoes, long eggplant, sea asparagus, apple bananas, tomatoes and honey.

You must order at least $25 worth and the Farm Bureau adds in $5 for the handling and the credit card company fee. So same as Farm Link’s $30 minimum.

When I went last week at 10:30 a.m., there was only one car ahead of me and it was at a different pickup station. There are 10,000 registered customers. Farmers in the program say they made about $200,000 in the first two months of it. On any Saturday, workers hand pack around 300 bags.

Funding has come from the City, Corteva AgriScience, and Alexander & Baldwin.

Try it. You’ll love it.

—30—

 

 

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

2 replies on “This Is A Winner!”

  1. We are bi-weekly subscribers with Ma’o Organic Farms for a pick up of what amounts to two full bags of fruits and greens at Kakaako Farmers Market. We canceled with Farm Link Hawaii which was skimpy. The contents vary on each pick up which makes it really interesting because you end up trying some types of produce for the first time in your life. We don’t waste too much as we make green smoothies out of much of it. Tip: add a shot of apple cider vinegar to a glass of smoothy to make it very easy to drink. The Ma’o booth has other produce for purchase. Check out the program and pick up locations at: maoorganicfarms.org

    1. My one concern would be that you are committed to 8 boxes and $224 of whatever they give you. It’s why I don’t use the “farmers choice” box at Farm Link Hawaii. I may not want a large daikon or 4 cucumbers. I prefer to order only what I need that week, which both Farm Link Hawaii and Farm To Car allow me to do.

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