Kulahaven Farms LLC, Hawaiʻi’s first, and only, rainbow trout aquaponics farm will be closing operations by the end of this year, the business announced.
“We have been conducting our research and development phase at a minimum commercial scale for the past 4-1/2 years and it has been a struggle. Margins are thin at such a small scale, even when you have such popular products as we have,” said John Dobovan, Founder and CEO of Kulahaven.
In addition to fresh rainbow trout, the company also sells organically-certified baby watercress at many retail outlets across Maui and through Times Supermarkets on Oʻahu.
“We took a real beating during the COVID pandemic and with massive fish losses during power outage in August we were left wondering how we could continue. And then we lost our lease. We can’t farm without land,” Dobovan added.
Kulahaven produced at least a portion of over 200,000 meals in 2021 with just a 1/3 acre farm that uses minuscule amounts of water, according to Donovan. The company is on track to produce even more food this year.
“The good news,” Dobovan continued, “is that we have essentially completed the research and development phase of our business plan. We are looking for Kula ag land to purchase and the capital to build out a much bigger operation. In the meantime we want to thank all of our wonderful customers and loyal supporters who have made our work so rewarding.“
Kulahaven plans to continue producing watercress and trout until Christmas.
On Maui, customers can find Kulahaven watercress at Valley Isle Produce, Mana Foods, Down to Earth, Pukulani Superette, Takamiya, Foodland supermarkets and the Maui Food Hub. Fresh trout can be purchased through the Maui Food Hub, at the Upcountry Farmers Market , Pukalani Superette, Tamura’s Wailuku and at fine restaurants such as Mamas Fish House and Merriman’s Kapalua.
For more information, visit Kulahaven online at www.kulahavenfarms.com.