Purdys Macadamia Nuts
If you simply want to satisfy a craving for macadamia nuts, grab a bag or can from the Friendly Market in Kaunakakai. But if you want to have a macadamia experience, if you want to break bread or crack shells with a true macadamia guru, head to Purdys Macadamia Nuts.
Under the shade of his bushy, dark-leaved trees, Tuddie (pronounced TOO dee) Purdy rattles off facts with the precision of a college professor. With shoulder-length gray hair, a thick mustache, yellow shorts and blue flip flops, however, he looks more suited for a beach party than a lecture hall.
Still, he can expound at length on history (the machinery to pick and husk nuts was developed in the 1940s and revolutionized the industry); botany (the trees are one of few with the ability to produce fruit year-round); and farm processes (workers harvest, husk and dry the shell-enclosed nuts before removing their brick-like outer casing and roasting them).
Purdy holds court next to the farm’s business office and gift shop in a clearing brimming with character: Macadamia nut shells litter the ground; a lawn mower and tractor rest near a children’s dump truck and a snoozing Labrador; a few kittens frolic yards from a bumper sticker affixed to the shop’s front window, reading “Don’t change Moloka’i. Let Moloka’i change you.”
It’s an unconventional setting for an unconventional businessman. Purdy says selling macadamia nuts isn’t his focus. “Eating is first, second and third,” he says, encouraging you to pick husk-covered nuts from the tree, and, later, crack the shells of raw nuts with a hammer at a nearby counter to taste the nugget inside. Purdy notes that visitors can get close to the trees here, unlike macadamia nut operations elsewhere. “We do not irrigate, fertilize, pesticide, herbicide,” he says. “There are no poisons on the farm.” And no heavy sales spiel.
“Our intent is to educate the visitor on our island. We’re not on email…we’re not trying to sell,” he says, acknowledging that businesses don’t make money educating people. Yet, “It’s all about the knowledge,” he insists.
Purdy’s Natural Macadamia Nuts
Ho’olehua, HI 96729
Days & Hours: Tue-Fri 9:30a-3:30p