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Kaunamano Farm was started by Brandon Lee and Keoni Regidor, owners of Napua at the Mauna Lani Beach Club. In 2014, Lee applied to the Kamehameha Schools’ Mahia‘ai Matchup Program, an agricultural startup competition that was awarding not only acreage but also seed money to farmers with the most innovative ideas.

“The competition started with 127 applicants that were narrowed down to 10 and then three,” says Lee. “We were awarded second place, and that gave us $15,000 and 20 acres. With that money, I bought a fence and six female Berkshire pigs (gilts) from Santa Rosa, California.”

"Kaunamano Farm's approach to Berkshire hog-raising is predicated on intensive pasture management and rotational open-air grazing,” Lee explains. “The rotation allows for both livestock production as well as soil capable of producing quality vegetables.”

The herd is fed a steady diet of tropical fruits, including guavas and star fruit, Okinawan sweet potatoes, macadamia nuts, and bananas from Lee’s own orchard. 


Lee and His Berkshire Pigs

“There’s something powerful about raising your own animals and going through the process and creating something like a hot dog or a product that you’re feeding yourself and your family. There’s something powerful about being self-sustaining."

“In the 1970s, Hawai‘i was harvesting more than 60,000 pigs a year. Last year, Hawai‘i harvested only 1,800. We should all be eating local products because it’s good for Hawai‘i, it’s good for our community, it’s good for a better, more sustainable future for our state.”

Lee says he hopes to increase the value of Hawai‘i’s homestead agriculture.

“I want to create a place-based system that will allow someone to use their family’s land — whether it be 5, 10, 20 or 100 acres — and to be able to make a living they can be proud of.”

"I was just going to farm a few pigs for the restaurant,” he says. “Now we are trying to have a conscious positive impact on Hawai‘i.”

The farm provides the Bruce Bello Bacon, House-Made Spam, Hamakua Polish Dogs, Berkshire Pork, and 'Nduja Spread available for sale on our "Products" page. 

See Kaunamano Farm Featured in an Episode of Hawai`i Rooted