James “Kimo” Simpliciano, Simpli-fresh Produce

James SimplicanoFarm-to-Plate advocate James “Kimo” Simpliciano has come full-circle in fostering the art of farming for culinary use. With Simpli-fresh Produce LLC, a west Maui based farm operation, Kimo provides fresh, locally- grown fruits and vegetables to some of Kaʻanapaliʻs top restaurants including Hula Grill, Leilani’s on the Beach, and Sangritas Grill + Cantina.

Formerly a chef at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Kimo crossed the culinary crossroad to become a full-time farmer. He grew up farming and gardening with his extended family on the island of O’ahu. He now cultivates crops on more than 75 prime acres of agricultural lands in west Maui from Lāhainā to Kā’anapali and Nāpili to Kapalua. When heʻs not on the farm, Kimo is often at Lāhainalunā High School, Kamehameha Schools Maui, UH-Maui campuses or with the Huliau Foundation. This is where he mentors students aspiring to become Maui’s future farmers, talented chefs and environmental engineers.
James holds a Culinary Arts degree and heʻs quickly gained a reputation in Maui’s vibrant dining scene. He says, “my food revolution continues to mentor, educate, provide service to community thru farming and cooking.”
Kimoʻs volunteer work is driven by a desire to share his knowledge about good, fresh home-cooked meals. He not only enjoys creating specialized menus and preparing meals for charity events and guests from all walks of life, he devotes his time to grow healthy, nutritious organic fruits and vegetables, wherever possible. Kimo works to maintain and sustain the localvore ideal: buying local produce and growing community gardens. Kimo is inspired by Mao Organic Farm on the island of Oʻahu. He truly believes every community should have similar kinds of farms available for the youth to keep fit, and as a model to address childhood obesity problems.
Kimo attributes his passion for farming to his grandfather Concordio , his father Jorge, and the second  wave of Sakada. Sakada are Filipino men imported by the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association to Hawaii as “unskilled laborers” from 1906 to 1946 mainly from the Visayas and Ilocos. At the age of 25, Grandpa Concordio and his cousin, Andres arrived in Hawaiʻi to work in the sugarcane plantation in the early 20’s. ” As a chef and a farmer, I have been heavily influenced by the dedication, deep cultural values, and the many sacrifices made by my Grandpa Corcodio and his cousin Andres,” said Kimo. “They worked hard to not only financially provide for their families, but most importantly, to help develop, strengthen, and flourish Hawaii’s economy.  Without the Sakadas, none of us would be here today.”