At Leprendo, we believe that every product has a story, and every story deserves to be told. Today, we are excited to introduce Lavaloha, a unique farm nestled on the verdant hillsides of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Lavaloha’s story is a tapestry woven from the threads of nature, history, and human perseverance.


The Birth of Lavaloha

Lavaloha’s origins are deeply rooted in the ancient movements of the Earth. The farm sits on land formed by volcanic activity beneath the Pacific Plate, where lava erupted, cooled, and eventually rose above sea level to form the majestic Mauna Kea. This peak, standing at 13,803 feet, is not just a geographical landmark but a silent witness to the ever-evolving story of Lavaloha.


The First Settlers

The original Polynesian settlers who discovered this fertile land were drawn by the abundance of wai, or water. In their language, the repetition of the word waiwai symbolizes wealth, an essential element in sustaining life. These early inhabitants cultivated the land with staple crops like ulu (breadfruit), brought to the islands on their canoes. Although we were not present during these times, the legacy of their sustainable practices lives on at Lavaloha.


The Era of Sugar Cane

The landscape of Lavaloha underwent a significant transformation during the sugar cane era. This period marked the rise of a global economy that redefined local agriculture and culture. However, the collapse of the sugarcane industry in the 1980s left the land in the hands of small farmers who diversified into crops like sweet potatoes and macadamia nuts.


A New Beginning

In 2002, a diverse group of individuals came together to revive the land. Engineers, musicians, mechanics, artists, and farmers, collectively known as Lavaloha 1.0, embarked on a mission to restore and rejuvenate the farm. Their efforts led to the cultivation of various crops, with cacao becoming the standout success. Despite challenges, including equipment-devouring mud, the team’s perseverance paid off.


Reviving the Land

The early days of farming at Lavaloha brought forth lychee, longan, and the all-important cacao. As the cacao trees began to flourish, the farm transformed. Hillsides previously scarred by past agricultural practices were now dotted with young fruit trees, symbolizing hope and renewal. Old cane roads were cleared and repurposed, bringing life back to neglected areas.


Learning and Growing

The journey of cacao production at Lavaloha has been one of continuous learning and experimentation. The initial harvests were labor-intensive, with makeshift tools and manual processes. Over time, the farm developed its own standards for ethical worker conditions, bean quality, and single-origin production. Hawaii’s cacao industry is still in its infancy, and Lavaloha is at the forefront, setting benchmarks for others to follow.


The Magic of Lavaloha

Today, Lavaloha thrives with a dedicated team of workers from diverse backgrounds. While the cast of characters may have changed since the early days, the farm’s spirit remains the same. The laughter, camaraderie, and passion of the people who tend the land are what make Lavaloha’s chocolate truly exceptional. From whistling contests to impromptu concerts over the hum of farm equipment, the magic of Lavaloha lies in its people.


Supporting Each Other

The Lavaloha team has faced numerous challenges together, from personal losses to navigating the global pandemic. These experiences have strengthened their bond and reinforced their commitment to supporting the community. As the farm continues to grow, so does its mission to produce exceptional chocolate while fostering a sense of togetherness.


Discover Lavaloha with Leprendo

Leprendo is proud to feature Lavaloha on our platform. By connecting consumers with the rich stories behind their food, we bridge the gap between farm and table. Lavaloha’s journey from lava to laughter exemplifies the resilience and passion of small-scale specialty producers. Join us in celebrating Lavaloha and experience the unique flavors and stories that make their chocolate so special.


At Leprendo, we don’t just sell food; we share stories. Discover Lavaloha and other remarkable farms on Leprendo, where every bite is a journey from farm to table.

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