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When Bryan Otani’s great-grandfather moved from Japan to Hawaiʻi many decades ago, he put his homeland farming knowledge to use right away and fed his family with sustenance crops like potatoes and cabbage. Over the years, the family maintained the operation and passed it down from one generation to the next.
Today Bryan heads the farm in the Kula district of Maui and continues that heritage with green beans, broccoli, multi-colored baby carrots, and the popular Maui Kula sweet onion. He believes locally grown produce is the best, and he’s fully committed to providing just that. All of their produce is grown on the 45-acre Otani Farm. Though Bryan’s father is retired, he still helps out with the farm’s operation, shipping Maui Kula sweets from April through January and other items running year-round.
Like other sweets, the all-yellow Maui Kula onions pull their characteristics from the soil and weather conditions. Maui has a near-perfect climate for this crop, with warm days and cool nights. And of course, there’s the volcanic soil that onions find so welcoming.
The Otani's grow from direct seed, transplants, and sets, and they hand plant and hand harvest most of it. Hands-on care is practiced at every level of the farm with about eight full-time employees who work all the crops.