Our Story


Lydgate Farms is run by our fifth generation Kaua’i family. We grow high-quality cacao to make the finest craft chocolate. We also grow award-winning vanilla and honey. Our 46-acre farm sits above the town of Kapa’a, between Sleeping Giant and Mt. Wai’ale’ale. Lydgate Farms is in an ahupua’a (land division) named Olohena, known for its rolling hills and the numerous springs and rivers that make this valley fertile for growing. Often called the Garden Island, Kaua’i is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and, as a result, has the most developed soils and fertile growing conditions. In addition to our specialty crops, you’ll find a wide variety of botanicals around our farm that influence the taste of our honey and chocolate. Visit us in Wailua for an interactive farm tour and chocolate tasting.

How the Lydgate Family Came to Kauai

Emily and Will Lydgate, owners of Lydgate Farm, are the great-great-grandchildren of William Ludgate who arrived in Hawaii as a young man in the 1860s. The spelling of the name was eventually changed to Lidgate, and then Lydgate to honor an older literary ancestor (spelling was much more fluid in those days). William was a millwright who founded the Hilo Iron Works and later joined with Theophilus H. Davies in the creation of Laupahoehoe sugar plantation and other sugar ventures on the Hamakua coast. William’s oldest son John Mortimer (known as J.M.) was raised in Hilo and Pauuilo and moved to Kauai in the 1890’s where he became an important community figure. J.M. was congregational minister who preached in english at the Lihue United church and in Hawaiian at the Koloa Union church. J.M. was also a surveyor for the kingdom, and later territory of Hawaii. He also used his sugar background to great effect as managing director of McBryde sugar plantation on Kauai in the early 1900’s. He was instrumental in the creation of the Wainiha hydroelectric plant and surveyed the ‘powerline trail’. He was also a botanist and is survived by many endemic Hawaiian plants that bear the scientific name lydgatei. J.M. is most widely remembered today for Lydgate Beach park which was named in his honor after he passed for his work to preserve the heiau (traditional hawaiian places of worship) throughout Wailua. Lydgate is one of the most widely used family parks in the State of Hawaii, a fact which would surely make J.M. happy.

These expeditions resulted in the publication in 1887 of Hillebrand’s “The Flora of the Hawaiian Islands,” the first and still a standard reference work on Hawaiian plants. The book begins with a dedicatory note to JM, and to this day, there are over a dozen native Hawaiian plants, many of them rare and endangered, whose botanical names include the term lydgatei, in recognition of the boy who was the first to bring them to the attention of the scientific community.

Creating Lydgate Farms

Lydgate Farms’ predecessor, Steelgrass Farm was created by Lydgate descendants on Kaua’i in 2008. The farm began to produce chocolate, vanilla, and honey and conduct some of the first farm tours in Hawaii. The farm is currently managed by William ‘Will’ Hibbs Lydgate, the fifth-generation of the family in Hawaii. He was raised with many legendary tales of family exploits among the Hawaiians which captured his boyhood imagination.To honor his family heritage and their connection to the islands, Will made the decision to rename the farm from Steelgrass to Lydgate Farms.

Diversified Agriculture at Lydgate Farms

For 150 years, sugarcane and pineapple were the primary commodity crops in Hawaii. In 2017, these industries came to an end. While there were tremendous yields in these crops, they took a toll on the soils. Here at Lydgate Farms, we believe that an important key to the future of agriculture in Hawaii lies in creating high-quality products from specialty crops, such as cacao, cultivated in sustainable ways that work with the land. We use natural farming techniques and organic fertilizer to build the soil health and nurture the land. In Hawaiian, the phrase Malama ‘Aina means to care for the land so it can sustain life for future generations. We are proud to continue our family’s legacy and support sustainability efforts through the experience of thoughtfully crafted chocolate, small-scale farming, and educational farm tours.

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Botanical Inventory

  • Chevron down Palms
    • Hawaiian Coconut (cocos nucifera)
    • Samoan Coconut (cocos nucifera)
    • Triangle (neodypsis decaryi)
    • Princess (dictyosperma album; rubrum)
    • Queen (syagrus romanzoffiana)
    • Majestic (ravenea rivularis)
    • Royal (roystonia regia)
    • Giant Windowpane (beccariophoenix madagascarensis)
    • Pritchardia (pritchardia hillebrandii)
    • Betelnut (areca catechu)
    • Mt. Lewis (archontophoenix purpurea)
    • Metallic (chamaedorea metallica)
    • Orange Areca (areca vestaria)
    • Ivory Crownshaft (chambronia hookerii)
    • Date (phoenix dactylifera)
    • Dwarf date (phoenix dactylifera)
    • Bismarck (bismarckia nobilis)
    • Fishtail (caryota mitis)
    • Red Sealing Wax Palm (chrytostachys lakka)
    • Foxtail (wodyetia bifurcata)
    • Cycad (cycas revoluta)
    • Bamboo Palm (chamaedorea seifrizii)
    • Silver Saw Palmetto (acoelorraphe wrightii)
    • Chinese Fan Palm (livistonia chinensis)
  • Chevron down Fruit Trees
    • Vitamin-C tree, Acerola (malpighia punicifolia)
    • Allspice (pimenta dioica)
    • Bay Laurel (laurus nobilis)
    • Brown Turkey Fig (ficus carica)
    • Ceylon Gooseberry (dovyalis hebecarpa)
    • Cinnamon (cinnamomun zeylanicum)
    • Fairchild Mango (mangifera indica)
    • Fuerte Avocado (persea sp.)
    • Hass Avocado (persea sp.)
    • Hayden Mango (mangifera indica)
    • Jaboticaba (myrciaria caulifloria)
    • Ka’u Orange (citrus sinensis)
    • Kaffir Lime (citrus hystrix)
    • Key Lime (citrus aurantifolia)
    • Lilikoi (passiflora edulis)
    • Lichee (nephelium litchi)
    • Mangosteen (garcinia mangostana)
    • Moro Blood Orange (citrus sinensis)
    • Meyer Lemon (citrus limonum)
    • Papaya (carica papaya)
    • Pineapple (ananas comosus)
    • Rose Apple (syzygium jambos)
    • Rambutan (nephelium lapaceum)
    • Soursop (annona muricata)
    • Star Apple (averrhoa carambola)
    • Strawberry Guava (psidium cattleianum)
    • Tahitian Lime, Bearss Lime (citrus latifolia)
    • Tahitian Breadfruit (artocarpus communis)
    • Yellow Guava (psidium guajava)
    • White Pirie Mango (mangifera indica)
  • Chevron down Hardwood and Flowering Trees
    • African blackwood (dahlbergia melanoxylon)
    • African Tulip (spathodea campanulata)
    • Albizia (paraserianthes falcataria)
    • Big Leaf Mahogany (swietenia macrophylla)
    • Buddha/Bo Tree (ficus religiosa)
    • Camphor (cinnamomum camphora)
    • Chocolate Tree (theobroma cacao)
    • Christmasberry (schinus terebinthifolius)
    • Clerodendron (clerodendrum bungei)
    • Cocobolo (dahlbergia retusa)
    • East Indian Rosewood (dahlbergia latifolia)
    • Gold Tree (tabebuia donnell-smithii)
    • Ironwood (casuarina cunninghamia)
    • Java Plum (syzygium cuminii)
    • Koa (acacia koa)
    • Lignum Vitae (guaiacum officinale)
    • Milo (thespesia populnea)
    • Norfolk Pine (araucaria heterophylla)
    • Octopus Tree (schefflera actinophylla)
    • Pheasantwood (senna siamea)
    • Plumeria (plumeria rubra)
    • Royal Poinciana (delonix regia, Madagascar)
    • Variegated Ficus (ficus benjamina)
    • West Indian Mahogany (swietenia mahogani)
  • Chevron down Tropical Flowering Plants
    • Ayahuasca (banisteriopsis caapi)
    • Bougainvilleia (bougainvillea spectabilis)
    • Bromeliads
    • Cattleya orchid
    • Clock Vine (thunbergia mysorensis)
    • Dendrobium orchid
    • Gardenia (gardenia jasminoides)
    • Phalaenopsis orchid
    • Vanilla orchid (vanilla planifolia)
    • Wild Coffee (psychotria viridis)
    • Zingiberaceae:
      • Kahili ginger (hedychium gardnerianum)
      • Edible ginger (zingiber officinale)
      • Red/Pink ginger (alpinia purpurata)
      • Shampoo Ginger (alpinia zerumbet)
      • Shell Ginger (alpinia speciosa)
      • Torch ginger (etlingeria elatior)
      • White Aromatic ginger (hedychium coronarium)
      • Yellow Aromatic ginger (hedychium flavescens)
    • Sexy Pink Heliconia
    • heliconia stricta
    • heliconia psittacorum
    • Lobster Claw (heliconia rostrata)
    • Spiral Ginger (costus barbatus)
  • Chevron down Bamboo
    • arundinaria amabilis (Tonkin Cane)
    • bambusa edulis
    • bambusa lako (Timor Black)
    • bambusa multiplex
    • bambusa multiplex var. “Alphonse Karr”
    • bambusa oldhamii
    • bambusa textilis
    • bambusa ventricosa (Buddha Belly)
    • dendrocalamus asper var. Hittam
    • dendrocalamus brandisii
    • dendrocalamus giganteus variegated
    • dendrocalamus latiflorus
    • dendrocalamus membranaceous
    • dendrocalamus strictus
    • gigantochloa atroviolacea
    • gigantochloa atter
    • gigantochloa sp. #3751
    • gigantochloa sp. #3827
    • gigantochloa luteostriata
    • guadua angustifolia
    • otateia acuminata var. aztecorum
    • phyllostachys bambusoides (Madake)
    • phyllostachys nigra var. Bory
    • phyllostachys nigra var. Shimadake
    • schizostachyum brachycladum
    • thyrsostachys siamensis (Monastery Bamboo)
  • Chevron down Hawaii Plants
    • ‘A’al’ii (dodonaea viscosa)
    • ‘Ae’ae (bacopa monnieri)
    • ‘Awa (piper methysticum; Kava-Kava)
    • Hala (pandanus tectorius)
    • Hapu’u, Hawaiian tree fern (cibotium splendens)
    • Hau (hibiscus tiliaceus)
    • Hibiscus kauaiensis
    • Naupaka kahakai (scaevola sericea)
    • Ohia Lehua (metrosideros polymorpha)
    • Pritchardia fan palm (pritchardia pacifica)
    • Pua keni-keni (fragraea berteriana)
    • Taro (kalo) (colocasia esculenta)
    • Wili-wili tree (erythrina sandwicensis)