Some 20 years ago, no one dreamed of growing vine ripened local tomatoes, fresh sweet corn or crisp baby lettuce on Hawaii. The farming landscape was dominated by sugar cane and pineapple plantations.
Peter Merriman had a diverse vision for local agriculture, a vision that grew into the agricultural, political and economic movement now known as Hawaiian Regional Cuisine.
Peter, along with 12 other prominent Hawaii chefs who could see the potential of the island's rich volcanic soils, started encouraging farmers to produce an abundance of vegetables and fruits never grown before on the island.
Local Waimea botanist Erin Lee, for instance, had a small herb business. With Peter's encouragement and her own pioneering spirit, she soon had a thriving business that now supplies Merriman's with the juiciest, most flavorful tomatoes in Hawaii. Her specialty is the Lokelani tomato, which is offered at Merriman's with fresh basil, Maui onions, capers and blue cheese.
Erin is just one example of a local grower who expanded and succeeded through the creation and growth of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. Today, many other local growers, farmers and ranchers are part of HRC, producing a variety of select items--from fresh organic mushrooms and greens, to award-winning goat cheese and range-raised, hormone free lamb and beef.
As the home of Hawaii Regional Cuisine, we honor the connection between the farmer, the cook, our community, our earth.