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All Hail the Sweet Maui Onion King

It is the type of success story that makes us proud at Worldwide Farmers Exchange.

Philippine native Noel Escobedo came to Kula, Maui as a WFE intern with Yoshio Arakaki, a former WFE host farmer and owner of one of Hawaii’s premier sweet onion farms. Upon completing his internship, Noel returned to finish his schooling at Sorsogon in the Philippines. After completing his schooling, he was once again sponsored by Mr. Arakaki…and ultimately took over his farm.

In the past, the farm harvested sweet onions only once a year; however, Noel found that he could plant of sweet onions every two weeks so the plants could be harvested throughout the year. This innovative planting process changed sweet onion production on Maui forever…and Noel became very successful.

Fast forward to present day and Noel Escobedo Farms has grown into a thriving business known for its luscious lettuces, tastebud-tickling tomatoes, mouth-watering mangoes, palate-pleasing papayas…and the king of them all, the much revered Maui Sweet Onion.

It is this last crop that has earned Noel his reputation in certain circles as the Maui Sweet Onion King.

Noel remains grateful to the WFE for the many opportunities that have opened to him as a result of his participation in the program—and he is committed to giving back, by educating the worlds next generation of farmers, especially in the Philippines where he provides scholarships to students and supports the agriculture community infrastructure, to help improve their farming practices.

More than just sweet onions: workers box papayas and mangoes at Noel Escobedo’s Farm in Kula, Maui.
More than just sweet onions: workers box papayas and mangoes at Noel Escobedo’s Farm in Kula, Maui.
Nothing beats a ripe tomato (except maybe a Maui Sweet Onion, that is).
Nothing beats a ripe tomato (except maybe a Maui Sweet Onion, that is).
From left to right: Glenn Belarmino, president of the Worldwide Farmers Exchange alumni organization in the Philippines, Marianito Tesorero, Aries Acosta, Fernando Borile, and a couple of friends. This photo was taken at Noel Escobedo’s university alumni annual event. The friends gather once a year, somewhere in the world, where one of the alumni lives. So far, they’ve met in Canada, England, Taiwan, Japan and multiple locations in the U.S. They travel as a group to these reunions.
From left to right: Glenn Belarmino, president of the Worldwide Farmers Exchange alumni organization in the Philippines, Marianito Tesorero, Aries Acosta, Fernando Borile, and a couple of friends. This photo was taken at Noel Escobedo’s university alumni annual event. The friends gather once a year, somewhere in the world, where one of the alumni lives. So far, they’ve met in Canada, England, Taiwan, Japan and multiple locations in the U.S. They travel as a group to these reunions.
Noel Escobedo (far left) at a dinner gathering for trainees, family, and friends at his farm.
Noel Escobedo (far left) at a dinner gathering for trainees, family, and friends at his farm.
Maui Sweet onions growing at Noel Escobedo Farms.
Maui Sweet onions growing at Noel Escobedo Farms.
Greens and lettuces at Noel Escobedo Farms, ready to be transplanted into the hydroponic system.
Greens and lettuces at Noel Escobedo Farms, ready to be transplanted into the hydroponic system.
Lettuces at Noel Escobedo Farms.
Lettuces at Noel Escobedo Farms.