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Q&A With Ahualoa Family Farms

New Owners For The Oldest Mac Nut Factory On Island

Matt Holmes, Marketing Director of Ahualoa Family Farms, answers some questions about this beloved family operation and the work done to produce the mac nuts that delight the Big Island.

Why farming on the Big Island?

Chad’s farm business in California supplied feed for local dairies. As the local dairies continued to be replaced by housing developments, Chad set his sights on the next big thing. His sister had lived on the Big Island and said he should look for farm opportunities here. Chad met the founders of Ahualoa Farms who were looking to retire, they immediately hit it off and the rest is history.

What was the greatest challenge, taking over the oldest macadamia nut factory on the island?

The first step was resurrecting this historic old building that had been neglected for so long. The massive restoration is still working on to this day. Simultaneously, we were designing the processing equipment, which we had no previous experience with. The equipment was delivered in pieces, and we had to put it all together ourselves. Then, as soon as we went to flip the switch on the new factory, the pandemic hit, which was a massive challenge for everybody. We were ready to start processing all of our macadamia nuts, and suddenly we had no visitors coming to purchase them.

How long does it take for a macadamia nut tree to produce its first harvest?

About 5 to 7 years. We have a 25-acre diversified farm and support over 50 local growers who we buy additional nuts from. Many of the macadamia nut trees on the island are past their prime, therefore we hope to start planting new trees soon. 

Do you farm anything else besides nuts?

Yes, in addition to macadamia nuts, we also grow 100% Hamakua coffee, which is quickly gaining a following. We grow Meyer lemons and lilikoi to make our specialty products. We also have a section of our farm where we grow flowers. We are in the process of planting a fruit forest with every edible plant and fruit imaginable, too.

What are you most excited about?

Continuing to promote and support local agriculture. Farmers are often taken for granted, yet, they are responsible for an essential job. Aside from Ahualoa Family Farms supporting our local mac-nut farmers, we hope to plant new macadamia nut trees to sustain our farming family for generations. So please thank a farmer and support locals.

How many flavors do you have for your macadamia nuts?

We have 11 flavors of gourmet-quality macadamia nuts. We pride ourselves on having the freshest, most delicious macadamia nuts, made in small batches. We have a dry roast (plain), sea salt (the classic flavor), lilikoi, Hawaiian honey, Maui onion & garlic, coffee liqueur, pineapple & coconut, chili-spiced, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and cinnamon spice available during the holidays.

How many states and countries do you distribute your products to?

Our products can mostly be found within the state of Hawai'i. We have dozens of retail partners across the state that resell our finished products, and we also supply bulk macadamia nuts to different bakeries and restaurants. Plus, we have our online store so we can ship to anyone in the world!

Learn more at

We have a 25-acre diversified farm and support over 50 local growers who we buy additional nuts from.