Mike and Rhonda Pollard have been residents of Hawaii for over a decade, moving to Hawaii from Southern California. They were looking for a slightly slower pace of life, and of course, were avid ocean sports lovers. What they found most importantly were the great people and culture of Hawaii, which now serves as a guide for the way they run their business.
Mike grew up in central California on his family’s farm. Upon graduating high school, his dad, Ken, proposed that he either take over the family farm or attend college. Mike chose the college route and earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He worked in aerospace and defense for most of his career, and most recently was a Senior Engineer at the W.M. Keck Observatory on Hawaii’s Big Island for nearly a decade. However, Mike knew that he wanted to get back to his roots in farming because as the saying goes, “You can take the boy off of the farm, but not the farm out of the boy.” After much thought and consideration, Mike and Rhonda purchased Kahi Ola Mau Farm, and over the course of five years, turned it into the beautiful place that it is today and started making delicious chocolate. Mike’s dad always joked that ‘he was the first in the family in over 200 years not to farm.’ Now Mike flies his dad to Kahi Ola Mau Farm twice a year for special projects that require his ‘expert’ touch.
Rhonda was born and raised in Florida where she earned the nickname “Nature Girl” for her love of the outdoors. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from University of Central Florida and Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in Coastal Zone Studies. In 1997, she did her graduate internship for the State of Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources-Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands and fell in love with Hawaii. She dreamt to one day make the Aloha State her permanent home. She, too, has an agricultural lineage, as her father worked in agribusiness, including Florida Citrus, Sunshine State Milk Producers, and South Florida Water Management. When Rhonda isn’t managing Honoka’a Chocolate Co’s social media marketing, you’ll find her active in dog-lover pursuits. She runs a website dedicated to information about dog-related things on the Big Island, serves on the Board of Directors for Hawaii Island Humane Society, and is the President of Friends of Waikoloa Village Dog Park.
Kahi Ola Mau Farm, Est. 1920