Featured Entrepreneur

Island Harvest

Nathan and Andrew T., Founders
Kohala Coast, Hawaii Island

Island Harvest is a certified organic farm growing macadamia nuts in North Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii. The rich Kohala soil and micro-climate provides ideal conditions to grow macadamias, without the need for irrigation, resulting in a sustainably grown product known for its rich and buttery flavor. Island Harvest offers its own line of assorted organic macadamia products.

Owners of Island Harvest, Nathan and Andrew T. believe that farming should be done with a holistic approach that cares for the land, trees, employees, and community. They seek to build healthy soils, develop vibrant root systems, and optimize the value of macadamias to benefit the Kohala community.

What was your experience like during the Bank of Hawaii mentorship program and what was the biggest takeaway you got from it?

Bank of Hawaii has been Island Harvest's business bank for decades now and we are thankful for their continued support. Going through the mentorship program was a way to connect with Bank of Hawaii employees in a way we never had before. There is so much knowledge and talent at Bank of Hawaii and being able to get advice and insight from their team was invaluable.

Our mentor helped us guide the way we identify and reach our target customers. Being able to use data and benchmarking to see how our customers are interacting with our brand over time helps guide our planning and decision-making.

What does it mean to have a business in Hawaii?

It's 100% the people we work with. Our company is located in the small, tight-knit, community of Kohala on Hawaii Island and nearly everyone who works at Island Harvest grew up here. Our community supports us and we try to give back in as many ways as possible. Doing business in a way that focuses on the sustainability of our communities and the land we steward is a special thing we strive to excel at.

What do you need to make your business work?

Agriculture in Hawaii is tough business. It requires skilled work from every member of our team from pruning to operating specialized equipment. The beauty of farming is that you are working with plants in a living system, but it also makes it difficult as things in the soil, trees, and environment are always changing and forcing us to adapt. One distinct advantage we have that helps our business work here in Hawaii is that we don't have as many pests for macadamias as in other parts of the world and we have very good soils and climate. Because of this, we are able to produce premium certified organic macadamia nuts that have a uniquely rich and buttery flavor.

What's next for Island Harvest?

Island Harvest started as a farming business and wholesaled in-shell macadamias to other brands for over 30 years. It wasn't until 2021, that Island Harvest expanded the business through the addition of our line of salted, unsalted, and dark chocolate covered macadamias. Going from just a farming operation to a retail brand has allowed Island Harvest to grow and diversify its revenue streams, laying a platform for the future. Because we are new to having our own brand and products, the opportunities seem unlimited. We look forward to offering new flavors and ways to eat organic macadamias in the coming years while growing our brand. We will also continue to plant more trees and diversify the crops on our farm with the goal of helping our community of Kohala become a thriving hub of sustainable agriculture.

What’s a business tip you learned from the program?

There's value in being patient and deliberate while you grow a small business over time. Don't feel like you have to grow faster than you want to.

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