Our Staff

Our Wonderful Staff

Makana Oliveros in the kitchen

Makana
Kitchen Lead

We were introduced to Makana Oliveros (whose first name means gift in Hawaiian). Makana was roughly 12 years old when he started helping us along with helping his mother run their family’s Mexican food booth at the Waimea farmers market. His father was a Paniolo or Hawaiian Cowboy. Makana attended a local Hawaiian charter school and worked with us every Saturday he was able. He grew up in cattle country, Waipio Valley area, also around our farm and jam business. After graduation, he started full-time in our kitchen and assisted at the farm. He is currently the lead cook/manager of our kitchen. He was raised with Hawaiian culture, donating time and participating in cultural community activities frequently. We greatly admire and respect him, he's an amazing young man and we are so blessed to see how he has matured. He and his partner have a farm in Waipio Valley where they grow traditional taro to make poi. We were pleased and honored that his Poi Coconut Butter was selected as a Good Food Award Winner as well as earning three other International Awards this last year. This was Makana’s creation in our kitchen where we also strive to use more native and local cultural crops in our recipes. Makana personally selected Kathy Long’s Image on the Poi Butter, showing a strong proud young Hawaiian man, knowing the physical and tough nature of growing wetland taro. We are looking forward to his bright future and his next amazing creation.

Chef Charbel Aoun
Consulting Chef

A skilled Culinary Professional, and a 2-star Michelin award winner in 2002 from L'auberges restaurant, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Recognized for a comprehensive knowledge of Italian & French cuisine and an innovative approach to setting the stage for a customized dining experience. Winner of a golden certificate in Molecular Gastronomy in 2009, Berlin, Germany. More than 22 years of progressive experience managing the provision of fine dining for resorts, restaurants, country clubs, and clubhouses; refining the art of cooking; developing impressive menus; and preparing culinary dishes influenced by culturally diverse regions around the globe. We are blessed to have him as a consulting Chef and he creates recipes using our products for you.

Anna Barnett
Kitchen Staff

Anna is our Lead in our kitchen. An experienced cook, with a wealth of knowledge. Being raised in Saint Petersburg, Russia, she shares a Russian, eastern European style and International approach to her cooking. She has an incredible work ethic and a professional approach to everything she does. She has helped us create and prepare many of our award-winning preserves and sauces. Try her Gold Medal Awarded Tahitian Lime Green Adjika Sauce or her Balkan Pindjar Sauces .

Leo Barnett

Leo Barnett
Kitchen and Farm Staff

Leo is a beekeeper, farmer, and general handyman, besides being married to Anna he is a can-do-anything type of guy, whether it is pouring our honey , processing fruit, cooking in the kitchen, installing fencing, climbing and trimming palm trees, even running his local community farmers market he does everything with an infectious enthusiasm, that makes tough chores seem easy, and he inspires us all.

Anna and her husband Leo have been with us for years, it is truly a pleasure to work with them. They own their own organic family farm, raising chickens, ducks and goats, growing tropical fruits and vegetables, processing goat milk and making delicious goat cheeses.

Laura Serene and Hoku

Laura Serene and Hoku
Shipping and Quality control

Hoku the Parrot’s favorite fruit is Lychee 🙂 Laura is our rock of Gibraltar, she has worked for us for years and is an amazing lady, a steady-nonsense person. She oversees the shipping, packing, labeling, and product presentation. If it does not pass her inspection, it does not go out. We are blessed to have her and her sidekick, Hoku, her African Gray Parrot, and our company mascot who greets everyone who enters her domain.

Natalia Kozlova
Kitchen and office staff

Natasha is a wonderful young woman who loves to cook and bake, always sharing with friends and family. She assists in our kitchen and anywhere else she is needed. We are pleased and proud that she was accepted and has graduated from The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She created the wonderful Papaya Coconut Preserves. We are eagerly awaiting her next culinary creation.

Jim Niderost
Farmer’s Market Salesmen/ Sales Manager

A true professional, he has worked with us for years. Jim’s number one concern is and will always be our customers, staff, and friends. He believes in improving himself and helping those around him grow and enrich their lives. A motivator for all who have the good fortune to meet him. He loves to share, a travel writer, food blogger, and an outdoor adventurer. You will see him at our local farmers markets and shows. Our Hānai brother. (Hānai is a term used in Hawaiian culture that refers to the informal adoption of one person by another.)

Jim Niderost

John Paul McGuire
Farm Manager

John Paul is our own country gentleman who manages and works our orchard/farm. He has a wealth of knowledge in different agricultural practices, focusing on organic, local, sustainable, biodynamic, Korean Natural Farming, Creation stewardship and other natural methods. Also a man of all trades, keeping our equipment up and running, making our compost, fertilizer teas, fertilizing, harvesting, planting and doing whatever farm chores are needed. Our dogs, cats and farm animals love him, a gentle soul we are blessed to have the good fortune of knowing.

Timo Budow
Salesmen and Export

Our local and International sales representative on Oahu, you will find him at our Saturday Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market. (Largest in the State). He is passionate and energetic in all that he does, a true professional. Whether it is surfing, playing tennis, Ice Hockey or giving private tours and of course selling our preserves, he always strives to do his best. Fluent in Japanese, he will be representing us in Japan where he worked for many years.

Keoni Ward

Keoni Ward
Oahu Sales Manger

We are so fortunate to have found Keoni, a talented cook and baker with years of experience baking and selling at the Honolulu farmers markets. For years he has been using our preserves in his bakery’s recipes. Be sure to ask about his recipe for his extra dark chocolate coconut brownies. They are out of this world!!

Kathryn Trujillo

Kathryn Trujillo
Salesperson

Our newest sales representative, always positive and energetic, is becoming a fixture at the Kaka’ako Farmers Market in Honolulu selling our preserves. With a background in the fine food and spirits industry, she is a wonderful addition to our staff. She creates delicious drink recipes with our preserves. We are so fortunate to have her represent us.

Lon Lloyd

Lon Lloyd
Beekeeper

Camping with the grandkids or surfing, Lon is our man of nature, it is always enjoyable to work with him. His observant and insightful approach to his management for the hives and their health inspires us to be more considerate and aware of nature surrounding us on our Island. Lon has many years experience taking care of his hives and selecting locations to produce some of our amazing tasting Honeys.

Maggie Connor

Maggie Connor
Sales and Marketing

Maggie is a true professional, a positive motivating force in our company, an ex-olympic athlete, coach and motivational speaker. She succeeds at whatever she puts her mind to, whether selling at local farmers markets for us or assisting with online and local marketing.

David

David Herron
Computer Programmer /Online Marketing

David helps us keep in touch with our customers, working on and managing our website, email and newsletters. He’s the man at the keyboard that keeps our online business going.

Gabriel “G” DiCristofaro
Head of Marketing

G’ is a world traveler with his wife and loves supporting the online presence of Steve’s Akaka Falls Farm, “since they grow naturally, pesticide and chemical free, and make low. sugar delicious preserves.” He is a big supporter of wildlife and sealife efforts. We are blessed to have his bounding energy and infectious enthusiasm. He oversees our social media posts, email marketing, and website.

Corinne Stefanko

Corinne Stefanko
Farm and Animal Lover

Besides being married to Steve, Corinne can be found mowing the orchard or filling the water ponds. She takes care of our cats, dogs, flocks of Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Turkeys, and anything else that moves or grows. With over 40 years of planting and growing experience, she's a wealth of knowledge. Happiest when she's outside with our furry or feathered family. Being an ex-pilot she’s always interested in the weather, letting us know about what’s coming next. Corinne found and selected the location for our Farm.

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