Roasted beets are sweet treat

One of the most popular root vegetables is beets, the root of a plant whose greens are edible and delicious, too. Plentiful at this time of year, especially on the mainland when root vegetables are abundant, beets have been elevated from boiled and canned status to gourmet with new cooking techniques and varieties.

Salads of roasted red beets with goat cheese come to mind as the epitome of beet preparations of recent years. Golden or yellow beets have made their appearance as well as chioggia beets, the two-toned striped beets of Italian origin. Pickled, roasted, steamed, pureed or raw, beets are part of our contemporary tables.

When buying beets, it’s better to buy them with their tops so you can see how fresh it is — droopy greens indicate age. But beets hold up well when stored in the refrigerator. There’s no way to tell whether a beet is sweet except to eat it; knowing your beet grower can help you get fresh, sweet and firm beets.

Gardening Books – Holiday Roundup

Instead of a roundup of “gardening books,” maybe we should just refer to this category of publication as Dirty Books. Anything to do with soil falls under our new rubric. That way, writers who farm wouldn’t feel the need to elbow aside rosarians who write, who in turn wouldn’t jostle rudely past backyard gardeners concerned with mundane raised beds of veggies, bruising thin-skinned egos along with the tomatoes. Anyone insane enough to dig holes, pour money into the ground, wait to see what happens and then sit down at a computer to tell us about it has earned the right to a little respect.

While it’s true that we can’t live without food, it’s equally certain that we need beauty to live well. Anna Pavord, a gardener who plants sweet peas with her cabbage, understands this very well. The author of “Bulb” and “The Tulip” has collected in THE CURIOUS GARDENER (Bloomsbury, $35) selections from 20-odd years’ worth of essays published in the British newspaper The Independent. Let me lay my seed packets on the table: I am a Pavord groupie. Anyone who can look at a vase of tulips and offer a cogent explanation of world economic history has my devoted attention. She is intelligent, perceptive and well informed, writes gracefully and has a dry, sly wit.

Freshened frills restyle poinsettias for new year

Poinsettias can transition from Christmas into New Year’s decorations with some additional flair. Get dried, curly ting ting plant branches from a florist or craft supply shop, and place the stems into the pot and among the poinsettia foliage.

Ting ting comes in silver, gold, red, green and natural colors. Floral supply shops also carry spray glitter that is safe for plants. Simply changing the container or decorative wrap will also freshen up the plants to carry into next year.

Poinsettias are native to Central America and tropical Mexico. A botanist and diplomat named Joel Robert Poinsett, who served as a U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 1825 to 1829, is credited with making this plant known throughout the world.

Poinsettias of today look much different from those found growing in the tropics. Short, bushy types have been developed for indoor holiday decoration. Intensive hybridization has resulted in beautiful new colors, including cream, yellow, peach, pink, improved reds and marbled and speckled bracts. The modern hybrids also hold their color for many weeks, lasting through the holidays and into the new year.

The brilliant color of the poinsettia does not come from the flowers, but rather the bracts. Bracts, often mistaken for flower petals, are actually modified leaves. The true flowers are small, yellow buttons, called cyathia, in the center of the colorful bracts. In November and December, when the days grow shorter, the colorful bracts begin to form.

Appraisal — County buyout equals pricey water on Lanai

WAILUKU – Earlier this year, the County Council demanded that the Lanai Co. “ask” for an appraisal of the value of its water company, with a view toward acquiring it to be part of the Department of Water Supply.

The appraisal by Brown & Caldwell is in. It estimates that if the county acquires the Lanai water system, rates would have to be raised nearly 900 percent, since costs of operation, new equipment and paying for the system would require nearly 10 times as much money as the $553,000 in revenue that the private company now enjoys.

On Tuesday, the Water Resources Committee, without comment, passed the agenda item on to the next council. If it had not done something, the Lanai proposal would have been filed.

Unresolved council projects expire automatically with the council that gave them birth, unless specific action is taken to pass the uncompleted work on to the next council. The next council will have five new members.

Mayor-elect Alan Arakawa has said since the beginning of his first term in 2003 that he wanted all water in the county to come under public control. That would include private water companies at Kapalua, Kaanapali, the Wailuku Water Co. and East Maui Irrigation.

However, during his first term, Arakawa did not acquire any private water for the county.

Chiarella, Isagawa claim titles at Emerald Course

WAILEA – Alex Chiarella of Pukalani and Cassy Isagawa of Wailuku won the 15-18

titles Sunday in the Haliimaile Pineapple Company Tournament of Champions at the Wailea Emerald Course.

Isagawa carded a 70 in the second round for a 138 total, 12 shots better than the runner-up, Honolulu’s Marissa Chow (75). Chiarella (70) finished at 140, a shot better than Lahaina’s Aaron Kunitomo (74) and Honolulu’s Lorens Chan (73).

Five golfers from Honolulu claimed first place – Malia Nam (76) won the girls 7-10 title with a 154 total, Len Yamada (80) was the boys 7-10 winner, finishing at 157, Hana Furuichi (72) totaled 146 for the girls 11-12 championship, Sian Rogers’ second straight 72 gave him the boys 11-12 crown and Richard Hattori (70) was the boys 13-14 winner with a 142. Ciera Min of Hilo closed with a 73 to finish at 144 for the girls 13-14 title.

Pukalani’s Jaelin Ishikawa (87) was fourth in the girls 7-10 division with a 182.

Jasmine Cabajar of Wailuku had a second-round 84 to place fourth in the girls 11-12 competition with a 169 total, two shots ahead of the fifth-place finisher, Kahului’s Kristeena Locke (87).

Kalea Heu (83) of Wailuku tied for fifth in the girls 15-18 division with a 156 total.

Kahului’s Kimberlie Miya-moto (81) had a 165 total for a sixth-place finish in the girls 13-14 division. Marissa Ura-domo (86) of Kula was seventh with a 168.

In the boys 15-18 division, Andre Bedard (77) of Kihei tied for eighth at 151, and Jameson Keiley (80) of Haiku was 11th at 159.

Chiarella, Isagawa claim titles at Emerald Course – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

UH study finds some ‘rare’ corals are variations of more common species

When might an endangered coral species not really be endangered?

When it’s not even a separate species, apparently.

Zac Forsman of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology recently led an investigation of genetic and structural features of Hawaiian corals within the common genus Montipora. And what they found could have serious implications for scores of rare corals currently being reviewed for enhanced protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Of the 83 corals being considered for endangered-species designation, nine are found in Hawaiian waters.

During their investigation, Forsman and his colleagues found that variances in colony shape, color and growth can cause some coral to be misidentified — a problem since coral species definitions are based on the coral skeleton.

According to UH, the study revealed two previously unknown species complexes in Hawaii, “showing that corals previously thought to be very rare may interbreed with more common species.”

A UH news release quoted Forsman as saying, “The scale of variation that corresponds to the species-level is not well understood in a lot of stony corals; this is a big problem for taxonomy and conservation. We need to determine if these species complexes contain species that are in the early process of forming, or if they just represent variation within a species. Either way, it could change our understanding of coral biodiversity.”

UH study finds some ‘rare’ corals are variations of more common species – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Archive planned at national park

KAHULUI – A new archive of thousands of documents that will be available to researchers, will be the next major addition to Haleakala National Park, Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum said Wednesday.

In a “state of the park” talk sponsored by the Friends of Haleakala National Park, Creachbaum said construction had already started on the small “curatorial center” near the park’s entrance and headquarters. About 30 people showed up to hear the presentation at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center, where Creachbaum also discussed the park’s visitor counts and funding.

Matt Brown, the park’s new chief of protecting endangered species, said the 800-square-foot archive building will bring together many objects that have gone unseen for years. Many of the items will be coming out of storage and some from collections, such as the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, he said.

In addition to being held in the archive, the pieces will occasionally be put on display in public buildings around the grounds of the 96-year-old park – as they are already from time to time. The archive center itself generally will be off-limits to the public and require park authorization for access, Brown said.

The collection has about 197,600 objects, 96 percent of which consist of archival records, such as documents and photographs, said P. Russell Shurtz, museum technician for Haleakala National Park.

Chayote a healthful addition to garden

by Diana Duff Special To West Hawaii Today
Growing food is becoming increasingly appealing to Kona gardeners. When considering what to grow, we need to choose plants that grow and produce bountifully here. It also helps if their growth habit fits into our garden and their flavor fits into our personal palate preferences. Chayote squash can offer all this and more for many local gardeners.

Chayote is a vining member of the Curcubitaceae, or gourd, family. The vine can grow on the ground or onto any support, spreading as much as 20 feet from the roots. Chayote is a perennial tropical vegetable and a valuable food source that is cultivated today throughout the tropics. In addition to producing edible fruit nearly year round, chayote’s stems, tuberous roots, heart-shaped leaves and vining tendrils are also edible. Once the small, cream-colored flowers that appear beneath a leaf or branch are pollinated, they mature into the edible pear-shaped fruit.

Chayote is a native Mexican plant. It was an important staple in the diet of the Aztecs and its name is derived from the Aztec word chayotli. The Mayans ate the fruit as well as the starchy roots and added the stem shoots, as a green, to their bean dishes. Chayote remains an important ingredient in the Mexican diet today.

VICTORIO PALASLAS LAYAOEN; A Man From Batac Came To Eke Out a Life in Maui

Sakada Corner, Fil-Am Observer December 2010 Issue
Sakada Feature, Page 8

VICTORIO Palaslas Layaoen came all the way from Batac, moved to Oahu, then to Kauai, then to the Big Island, and then finally to Maui, and never left until he passed on to the next life.

It is a story of courage. It is also a story of a life lived to the fullest.

Born on August 28, 1908 in then a very rural Batac, a town south of Laoag City, in the Philippines, at 19 and restless for something bigger and grander than what Ilocos in those days could offer, he took the plunge to go to Hawaii.

That was in 1928. From Port Salomague in Cabugao, he took the S. S. President Lincoln, and in the rough seas, thought of a peaceful, productive life somewhere in the islands yonder where sugarcane plants and pineapples grew in abundance.

He landed in Oahu, worked there some time; he moved on to Kauai, worked there for some time; he moved to the Big Island, worked there for some time; and then finally, moved to Maui where he worked forever until he retired in 1974 at 65.

Maui was his kadagaan—that Ilokano mindset that talks about the land that is yours for the keeping, at least metaphorically, if not literally. He worked for the HC&S and lived at McGerrow Camp. Later on, he transferred to Maui Pineapple Company at Haliimaile.