During our visit to the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, we had the opportunity to tour the resort’s on-site oyster farm. This is a program that the resort is very proud of and just one of the many things that makes the property so unique. The Four Seasons Hualalai is the only resort in the U.S. that grows its own oysters.
The Four Seasons Hualalai is committed to conservation, and their oyster farm is just one of the projects overseen by their team of marine biologists. David Chai, the oyster farm and resort’s director of natural resources explained, the pond is fed by pure spring water, and the lack of rain on the western side of the Island of Hawaii ensures that very little washes into the pond. In addition, David personally monitors the water quality and regularly sends samples for testing.
The unique conditions on the property allow the oysters to grow to maturity much more quickly than the same oysters grown in cold ocean water. According to David, they have the perfect growing conditions which include water quality, year-round food supply, and the temperature is not too hot or cold around (75 degrees) so they are always in growth mode. Pacifics can grow to full size in about six months here verses one to two years on the main land. Once the oysters reach the ideal size, they spend several days in above-ground tanks fed with fresh spring water (not from the pond) to allow the oysters to purge. The Pacific oysters grown on the property have been so successful that David has expanded his aquaculture operation to include Manila clams and Kumamoto oysters.
In addition to caring for the oyster farm and thousands of reef fish on the property, the Four Seasons Hualalai marine biology team has also been a leader in local conservation efforts. For example, they were instrumental in implementing a 10-year fishing ban to help resolve overfishing issues off the coast of the property.
Oysters from the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai oyster farm are served at the resort’s restaurant. We can’t wait to return to the resort to experience more of their incredible culinary offerings.