Kumu Farms — Molokai’s source for fresh, healthy and gourmet farm products — received the award for Exceptional Small Business (11-25 employees) at last night’s 2012 Mayor’s Small Business Awards. More than 250 people attended the ceremony at the King Kamehameha Golf Club on Maui.
Located in the Ag Park across the highway from the Molokai Airport, Kumu Farms has been doing business on Molokai since 1981. The 120-acre farm specializes in organic papaya and harvests about 20,000 pounds of papaya per week. The farm also grows 4,000 pounds of sweet basil and 500 pounds of other fresh herbs plus many specialty crops. The farm, including its retail outlet, employs 25 local people.
Accepting the award last night was Emanuela (Manu) Vinciguerra who spoke about the importance of statewide agriculture and how Molokai is already a model for coexistence and partnerships between all types of farmers: biotech, homestead, organic and backyard farms.
“We are all one big ohana and this award is the result of our teamwork that exists at Kumu Farms,” said Manu. “It wouldn’t have been possible if we weren’t all working together.”
Molokai Chamber of Commerce President Rob Stephenson congratulated Kumu Farms on the accomplishment.
“Please join me in congratulations to Grant Schule, Manu Vinciguerra and the entire Kumu Farm’s team of agriculture professionals for their accomplishment in receiving this prestigious award,” wrote Stephenson. “Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to the Molokai community.”
Awards were also handed out for Young Small Business Person of the Year to Josh Jerman, The Wailea Group, LLC; Exceptional Small Business (10 or fewer employees) to Joe Rossi, Maui Babe, Inc.; Exceptional Small Business (26-50 employees) to Les Tomita and Mariah Brown (Da Kitchen); Outstanding Non-Profit Business to The Maui Food Bank; and the Lifetime Achievement Award to John B. Guard, III & Susan Guard (The Pet Shop, Inc.).
“Small business is Maui County’s most important economic engine, and we should never forget the sacrifices that business owners make every day to keep their businesses operating,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “They take on risk, work long hours, and put their personal assets on the line while providing jobs, services and goods to our community. We are fortunate to have such a strong small business community in Maui County and are privileged to honor them.”