Taro is a traditional form of food sustenance and nutrition in ancient Hawaiian culture. It is a root vegetable grown in large flooded fields. The edible tuber is cooked and mashed into a smooth starchy food called Poi. I’ve never eaten any but reports are it looks like sticky purple pudding and seems a little like eating paste. I gather its an acquired taste. My interest in it was limited to photographing the fields where they grow.
The first time we headed up to the North Shore the large taro fields before Hanalei immediately caught my eye. I quickly made plans to drop my wife at the nearest shopping opportunity so I could head back out with my camera.
Its possible to get down low and close to the Taro and get shots of the field extending out with the mountains as a backdrop.
Throw in a few clouds and you have the potential for some dramatic shots. Here a farmer walks among his crop.
I spent some time watching that same farmer use a tractor to prepare a field for planting. It almost looked like the tractor was magically floating on the water.
One of the best views of the Taro fields can be seen at the Hanalei Valley overlook just off the highway on the way to Hanalei Bay. While I was truly captivated by this view and spent more than a few minutes photographing it other visitors were not so taken. I watched a car pull off into the overlook, drive slowly past as a woman held a video camera high out the window and then speed off down the highway. Seriously folks, slow down and smell the Taro. This ain’t the mainland!
While the overlook is a great place to take it all in, its also a great place to push in and photograph the details. The well defined grid of fields makes for some great shots based on patterns.
While the North Shore is filled to bursting with spectacular scenery, don’t forget to spend a little time to check out the Taro Fields. Its worth the effort.