By Dagny Brand
Located on the island of Molokai, Barking Deer Farm is a small family operated farm that has a mission and mindset of “growing healthy soil in order to grow really healthy vegetables,” explained owner Jamie Ronzello, who spent over a year cover-cropping and composting before planting anything to ensure the soil was of the highest quality. “The idea is to provide nutritious, locally grown produce to our community, something that is sometimes hard to get on Molokai.”
Barking Deer Farm grows over 25 kinds of vegetables and herbs, including “anything from root crops, beets, carrots, radishes, to cooking greens, kale, lettuce, salad mix, and leeks,” with Ronzello’s favorite being the beets. “As long as we maintain our soil, we have really amazing, beautiful vegetables.” Ronzello’s focus on healthy soil results in the high quality of vegetables reflected in the high customer satisfaction at Barking Deer Farm. Barking Deer Farm also has a selection of coffee rubs. “We use locally grown coffee and pair those with spices and herbs that meld with the flavor of the coffee.” The coffee rubs are very versatile and can be used as a seasoning and dry rub for many dishes. In addition, Barking Deer Farm offers a Hibiscus cooler tea, which is “a blend of organic tea utilizing local Hibiscus, lemongrass, and peppermints.” With many 100% organic products, Barking Deer Farm contributes to the health and happiness of the Molokai community.
“For the sustainability of our islands, we need a bunch of small farms collaborating, raising that next generation of farmers, working with the aina, and really focusing on feeding our community with the resources we have here,” Ronzello said, emphasizing the importance of local agriculture. Barking Deer Farm partners with Sustainable Molokai to bring produce to the local community. “My main mission in life is reconnecting with the land and hoping to inspire others to do that as well. It’s really empowering once you start harvesting your own vegetables, and you realize, ‘Wow! I can really feed myself, I can feed my ohana, I can feed my community!’” While Ronzello grows beautiful produce for the Hawaiian community on Barking Deer Farm, she also hopes that more people will grow their own vegetables in their backyards to help sustain the islands.
The products from Barking Deer Farm are sold through Sustainable Molokai’s Mobile Market and through select retail stores on Maui. For more information about Barking Deer Farm or sustainable agriculture, click here.