FOR more than twenty years, farmer Michael Manor and his team have worked in harmony with Mother Nature to grown certified organic lettuce, arugula, kale, swiss chard, parsley, basil, cilantro, chinese cabbage, beets, edible flowers, and much more.
“The earth is holding the minerals and the nutrients in very special ways. The trick is to get it to work for you.”
- Michael Manor, Farmer
Tucked away on the lush Hāmākua coast, of the Big Island of Hawai`i, the farm has views of both the summit of Mauna Kea and the expanses of the Pacific Ocean. Rich volcanic soil, ample rain and sunny days produce a delicious bounty that can be found in grocery stores and restaurants across the island. The farm has two different parcels of farmland, where crops are rotated, and a certified kitchen where the produce is washed and packed, right in Pa`auilo.
Owner Michael Manor learned how to farm on the other side of the world from Hawai`i. Raised on a kibbutz, a collective agricultural community, in southern Israel, he got his start with growing citrus in the 1970s. But he questioned the safety of the chemicals used in the kibbutz orchard, his concerns were dismissed.
When he arrived in Hawai`i in 1996, he was determined to farm organically. It’s not easy working with Mother Nature; The farm has had it’s share of rainstorms, drought, cold spells, birds, wild pigs, and other forces of nature. But hard work and the belief that farming organically was the right thing to do for the earth and their community has sustained Mother Nature’s Miracle.
Today the farm employs a dozen people, including Manor’s daughter, Shahar, who runs the office. The crew, is out in the fields as the sun rises, weeding and planting. They harvest twice a week, crates of fresh greens and veggies trucking up the hill to the certified facility, that they call “the kitchen”, in Pa`auilo. After washing. packing, and sending the harvest on it’s way for delivery around the island, the crew shares a communal meal to seal a good day’s work done. It’s a tight team, despite their varied background from all walks of life.
Mother Nature’s Miracle has been a certified organic farm since it’s inception in 1996. They are certified by Organic Certifiers Inc. This means no chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are used in growing or processing the produce. They follow strict standards in the growing, harvesting, and processing of their certified organic vegetables and greens.
In 2002, Organic Certifiers was one of the first organic certification agencies to become accredited to the USDA NOP (National Organic Program) standard. To maintain organic certification the farm is subject to rigorous documentation and annual inspections. Inspectors can also come to the farm at any time to take samples of produce and soil.
Mother Nature’s Miracle takes exceptional care to prevent any food-borne illness, especially rat lungworm disease, found on parts of the Big Island. The farm has a certified food establishment facility where all produce is washed and inspected before it reaches customers. They also take steps in the fields to eliminate any presence of slugs, snails, or rats. (See side bar on rat lungworm).
Extra care is taken with the salad mix, which is ready to eat without rinsing. The salad mix is triple washed with Peroxy A, an FDA and Organic Certifiers approved antimicrobial that kills any microbes that might present.
“Cleaning is a big part of the salad mix preparation. It actually takes more time to wash it and clean it and bag it than to plant and harvest it.” -Michael Manor
Cases of rat lungworm disease (Angiostrongyliasis) from ingesting host parasites, are gaining media attention in Hawaii. The Hawaii Department of Health website states;
“Angiostrongyliasis, also known as rat lungworm, is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by a parasitic nematode (roundworm parasite). The adult form of A. cantonensis is only found in rodents. However, infected rodents can pass larvae of the worm in their feces. Snails, slugs, and certain other animals can become infected by ingesting this larvae; these are considered intermediate hosts. Humans can become infected if they eat a raw or undercooked infected intermediate host, thereby ingesting the parasite”.
They also say, “you should thoroughly inspect and rinse produce, especially leafy greens, in potable water.” To learn more see website Hawaii Department of Health website.
In mid-2019 we added a new level of protection for our consumers. We are now using ozone to soak and wash all of the produce including the Salad Mix and arugula. The ozone kills nematodes that could carry rat lungworm disease by stripping their mucus membranes.
Ozone has a long history of use for water and food products. It was first used in France to provide safe drinking water in 1906. The FDA and the USDA deemed ozone to be GRAS (generally recognized as safe) as a disinfectant in 1997 and approved as an anti-microbial agent for food contact in 2001.
As an antimicrobial agent, the ozone keeps our greens fresher by killing bacteria on the surface of the leaves. So ozone provides a double win – killing any nematodes infected with rat lungworm disease and extending the shelf life and freshness of our produce.
This process also conserves water because ozone keeps the washing water cleaner and fresher for a longer time; a definite win for the environment.
Our cleaning process for the Salad Mix makes it edible right out of the bag. We do the work for you. Please contact us with any questions about our cleaning process