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Ben Field was born and raised on his family farm in Kahalu‘u on the eastside of O‘ahu where he grew up helping in the nursery.
“I thought everyone grew up on a farm, so it was normal," Ben said. At a young age, he was exposed to the demanding nature of nursery management.
It was only after moving to Honolulu to pursue a degree in Botany at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa that Ben realized how much his farm life in Kahalu‘u meant to him. His grandparents started farming their nearly 7 acre farm in Kahalu‘u over half a century ago. Ben’s grandpa was an airplane mechanic by night and a corn farmer by day. His grandma sold corn by the side of the road and was known as the “Corn Lady” of Kahalu‘u. After two generations before him, Ben has stepped up to work the family land as Māpele Fields. Kahalu‘u, cradled by the Ko‘olau Mountains along Kāne‘ohe Bay, is a green leeward gem but offers a challenging growing condition with long periods of wet and thick soil. Ben, with his wife Laura, grows plants suited for the soil like bananas, taro, and long term trees without the use of any pesticides or chemical spray.
Besides farming their land, Māpele Fields also provides agricultural services to nearby farmers and landowners. These services include installation, improvement and/or maintenance of agricultural systems, primarily orchards.
Māpele Fields’ main crop is cacao which is typically harvested every year between October-March. In between the cacao trees are companion plants like bananas and turmeric (which are quicker growing than cacao and can be harvested before the cacao trees mature). Additionally, the Field family also grows taro, breadfruit, ginger, ‘awa, chocolate sapote, grapefruit, and other specialty fruits.
If you would like to contact Ben or visit Māpele Fields, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org