Wilson Galdones

Wilson Galdones


Farmer Story: 

Wilson Galdones was only a senior in high school when he leased his first half acre of farmland. Even back then he was planting mostly taro – Chinese and Araimo varieties. When Galdones enlisted in the Army, his brother took over the farm and expanded, adding more varieties at a larger scale.

Coming from a long line of farmers, farming was always in Galdones’ blood. During his military career, living in Oklahoma and Texas, he took up ranching as a hobby. His goal was to eventually come back to Hawaiʻi Island to farm and raise livestock.  

kalo field with treeline in background

While he was gone the sugar cane plantation where his father worked closed and his father started a farm. When Galdones retired from the military he sold his properties on the continent, moved home and took over the farm. He bought 25 acres to raise cattle, goats, and sheep and leased seven acres for farming Okinawan purple sweet potatoes and pelehua taro, with a small section reserved for growing vegetables, such as corn, jicama, bananas, white yam, araimo taro and Chinese taro for personal use. 

planted taro in field

The pelehua taro – a variety that had been introduced to his brother by a Samoan farmer – proved to be a good choice after much trial and error and advice on how to improve quality from fellow farmers.

“Kalo is a local staple,” Galdones said. “I figured farming kalo will benefit the local community. Most of the kalo customers are locals and local small businesses. It’s a good way to support the local economy.”

kalo roots in wheelbarrow

Being on the rainy east side of the island, Galdones enjoys good weather for growing taro year-round and says he can do almost everything himself without extra hands. 

When it comes to eating taro, Galdones enjoys its diversity and how different ethnicities use it in their cuisines. 

“The best part of producing on the island is that the state is a melting pot of different nationalities,” Galdones said. “You can make it into chips, add it to a favorite soup, eat it like rice, or pound it into a local favorite: poi.”

Featured Recipe: Kalo with Coconut Cream

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