We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Britton T and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Island Harvest was founded in 1991 by my father, Jim, as a farming company in Kohala, Hawai’i, but it wasn’t until early 2021 that our organic macadamias products started hitting shelves! So although the company is over 30 years old, we’ve transitioned from a farm wholesaling in-shell nuts to becoming a brand offering single-origin macadamia products for individual consumers nationwide.
I can’t say whose idea it was to launch the Island Harvest products, because I think each person on our team over the last 30 years has planted the seeds and paved the way to make it possible. From everyone in the past to our present-day team of 20 people, each person plays an important role to get macadamias from our farm into your hands. And that is what makes Island Harvest macadamias special. We are from the small tight-knit community of Kohala, a town of about 6,000 people, and we are proud to farm sustainably and offer people a great tasting product that comes from a special place.
I think everyone at Island Harvest knew we could eventually launch our own products, but we didn’t always have the ability to pull it off. Farming is hard and usually not very profitable, but after transitioning our orchards to become certified organic in 2015, we had a few good years to build up enough money to start working on a brand in 2020. It started with partnering with a local macadamia processor and getting some logos and packaging designed. We then launched in 2021 with three products; dark chocolate, sea salt, and unsalted macadamias. People liked them and here we are a little over a year later!
I just feel fortunate to be the person to manage the brand; from ordering all our supplies to fulfilling online orders, to the many other things it requires to run a small business. At the end of the day, I think my favorite thing to do is still hopping on a tractor and doing farm work, but I also feel a sense of responsibility to share the Island Harvest story and products with those that I can. I am also proud that Island Harvest is committed to sharing profits from our products with our farming team and the small community of Kohala, while continuing to farm in a way that cares for the land.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The Big Island of Hawai’i has some great local breweries, like Ola Brew with locations in Kona and Hilo. Ola Brew uses locally grown ingredients like ginger, hibiscus, and pineapple in their beers, ciders, and seltzers that are both unique and delicious. After eating some macadamias, going on a coffee tour is always a great idea. While there are so many great ones, Greenwell Farms is my favorite and has excellent Kona Coffee! Finally, hitting the beach at Hapuna Beach State Park is one of the best ways to relax. If you are fortunate enough to visit Hawai’i, please keep in mind that not every place is a tourist playground. It’s important to respect the land, wildlife, and the people who live here by listening and educating yourself on the history, culture, and protocols of where you are visiting.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The whole community of Kohala, Hawai’i that has supported our farm and business for so many years!
Crystal Grosshuesch Photography @crystalgphoto https://www.instagram.com/crystalgphoto/