Award Year: 2014
Congratulations to the Hashimoto Persimmon Farm on being selected as the recipient of the 2014 Maui Matsuri Business Award. Hashimoto Persimmon Farm in Kula continues its legacy of producing persimmon fruit from trees planted nearly a century ago.
In 1915, Shinichi Hashimoto purchased a ten-acre plot in Kula, sight unseen. At the time, the property had a small access road and the ground was steep and rocky. Shinichi was also faced with the challenges of a chilly winter climate and a scarce water supply. He needed to find a crop that could thrive on his property despite looming setbacks. The crop he discovered was a hearty fruit, perfect for a Kula farm: Japanese persimmons. Shinichi’s persimmon tree variety is native to Japan and bears fruit referred to in Japanese as “kaki.” Shinichi planted five hundred Japanese persimmon trees, and his family continues to cultivate the trees and harvest the fruit each autumn.
The farm remains a successful family business. Shinichi passed on the persimmon farm to his son Isami, who then passed it on to John, and then currently to his three sons, Howard, Clark and Noel. All sons work together to run the farm, and Clark is the day-to-day farm manager. Clark involves his mom, Hanako; his wife, Jackie; and his four siblings and their spouses, children and grandchildren. Jackie created recipes for persimmon jam, butter and scone mix to utilize the fruits that were set aside due to aesthetic imperfections. Six generations have influenced the Hashimoto Persimmon Farm over the years.
Hashimoto Persimmon Farm is a fitting nominee for the Maui Matsuri Business Award, as it has helped to preserve and perpetuate the Japanese culture on Maui for nearly 100 years. What began as a small farm, started by a Japanese immigrant, is now hundreds of flourishing fruit trees and the strengthened bond of six generations united for a common purpose: cultivating persimmons and honoring Shinichi’s memory.