Visit Hawai`i’s ONLY remaining Rice Mill (listed on the National Register of Historic Places), where the past meets the present. Tucked away on a working wetland taro farm (the largest taro farm in the state) on Kaua`i’s dramatically scenic North Shore, the Haraguchi Rice Mill is found within a National Wildlife Refuge, usually not accessible to the public. Learn about Hawai`i’s agriculture and cultural history, view endangered native water birds, and explore the cultivation and uses of taro, a traditional Polynesian food source. Then enjoy a complementary picnic lunch featuring unique items prepared with taro grown on the very farm you visit.
Lyndsey’s great-great-grandfather began working these fields in 1924. They’re still worked today by the family; her father and mother, brother, husband, even her grandfather and young daughter. Six generations in all. When she’s not giving one of her rare tours, Lyndsey spends her hours working the farm. “It takes perseverance to be a farmer, maybe just being stubborn,” says Lyndsey.
The taro fields were in place in ancient times but when the Haraguchi family bought them in 1924, they were planted with rice. Rice was the Haraguchis’ main crop until competition from California made them switch back to taro in 1962.
The rice mill, stocked with machinery from Japan, was for decades a major part of the Kauai agricultural scene and the mainstay of the family business. It is the ONLY remaining rice mill in all of Hawai’i! Although it’s no longer used, the family has preserved the rice mill as a nonprofit historic landmark, rebuilding it after not one, but two hurricanes, not to mention the occasional flood. It’s now filled with a growing collection of historic artifacts for your viewing.
A tour of a historic rice mill and taro fields is not for everyone, but those who go seem to be deeply engaged. It’s not a canned tour. Lyndsey isn’t reading from a script. She’s immersed in the subject and family history, able to answer questions on everything from turn-of-the-century mill engineering to endangered birds.
Tour Description: Tour includes farm fresh tastings, hands on activities, lunch, drinks, desserts, endangered birds & wildlife observations in areas that are normally closed to the public. Costs are $87/adult with children rates available.
Tour Duration: Tours are offered on Wednesdays. Check-in is at 9:45 AM and tours end at approximately 1:30 PM (3.5 to 4 hours). Tours start promptly at 10 AM at the Haraguchi Rice Mill Kiosk. It is located at 5-5070A Kuhio Highway, next to Hanalei Taro & Juice Co., near the entrance to Hanalei Town and a five minute drive from Honu Point. Park in the area behind the Rice Mill Kiosk. Restrooms are located near the parking lot. Limited restroom facilities are available on tour. Tours are conducted rain or shine. Call 808-651-3399 if you get lost or have any questions.
The Haraguchi Rice Mill is a nonprofit organization. Your visit, donations, and gift shop purchases help support free school tours, education programs and restoration efforts.
For more information and online booking, go to http://www.haraguchiricemill.org/ Tours are by appointment only.
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