Richard Ha writes:
The response we've been getting from the community since we stopped producing tomatoes has been absolutely overwhelming. We did not expect it.
We knew people liked our Hamakua Springs tomatoes, but none of us anticipated the extent or amount of comments we've been getting. It's really been unbelievable.
I recently got a note about our tomatoes from a couple in Kailua, on O‘ahu, and I wanted to share it with you. I'm posting it here with their permission:
Dear Richard and June Ha,
I read with great dismay that you will no longer be growing tomatoes due to the age of your hydroponic equipment. I don’t know how others feel about this, but my husband and I adored your tomatoes and will be very sad to be without them in the future.
I have a suggestion that you may not have considered. I know that I would be more than willing to donate money towards a new system. I imagine that there are others who feel the same way we do and would do likewise.
Is it worth your time to make a plea to the public for funds, stating the goal and having a chart indicating how close you are to that goal? Would the newspaper support your goal and put the information in a box on the front page, keeping track of the progress as well as keeping the public aware of your need? If there was a bank account or some such place to send funds, you might just receive enough to update your equipment and be back in the tomato business.
It is so sad to see HI become more dependent on imported food rather than less, as should be the goal. Anyhow, this has been on my mind since the article was published. I contacted the reporter who said he would pass along the information, but I just had to see if you were even considering the idea.
Thank you for listening.
That was very nice of them. I had to tell them that we've passed the point of no return at this point. The problem is that costs have gone up, but the energy that drives tomato production - the sun - has not gone up.