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Hawaii: Agri-tourism and a room? Here's a Lucky break

April 16, 2012|By Russ Parsons | Los Angeles Times Food editor
(Kathy Parsons / special…)

I just spent a little more than a week exploring Hawaii – the Big Island and Kauai – and found some real gems I’ll be sharing the next few days on the Travel blog, leading up to the Travel section's special Hawaii issue this coming Sunday. A few more will appear later this week on the Food section’s Daily Dish as well, so check that out too.

Agricultural tourism started gaining notice in Italy, when small farmers began renting rooms to visitors from the city who were longing for a taste of their family roots. Though these agriturismos now can be posh, back then they were usually more rustic, sometimes in the extreme. If you want a taste of the Hawaiian version of this, Pomaikai “Lucky” Farm on the Big Island is ideal. We spent three nights here, and though it took a day or so to settle in to the routine, once we did it was the ideal start to our island trip.

Lucky Farm is set on an old Japanese family farm about 23 miles from the Kailua-Kona airport and has plenty of chickens (and roosters) and farm cats sharing several acres thickly planted with exotic fruits and flowers as well as working coffee and macadamia nut orchards.

It has three guest rooms. Your first choice should be the converted coffee barn, a light, airy space separate from the rest of the buildings, or one of the garden rooms, particularly No. 1, which is on the end and gets extra light. The rooms are clean and well-maintained, even though the windows are only screened in, which does allow some road and rooster noise. The garden rooms are comfortable for two; the coffee barn will sleep four.

The hosts Johnsie Sumner and John Paul Jones are friendly and chatty and eager to give tours of the grounds and point out the various exotic fruits and flowers. They might even play some of their music for you. Breakfasts include coffee and jams and jellies made from beans and fruit grown on their own property.

Oh, and did I mention it starts at only $90 a night, for a double, right in the heart of the Kona coffee belt?

Lucky Farm, 83-5465 Mamalahoa Highway, Captain Cook, HI 96704; (808) 328-2112.

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