When Daniel Anthony first tried selling fresh, traditionally prepared paiai two years ago, he found out that pounding the taro was the easy part.
It was much more difficult to sell it.
Anthony said that before the Department of Health shut down his small business, he was pounding and selling almost 10,000 pounds of taro a year, with another 15,000 a year used in his educational workshops. Now he can’t sell any of it.
“The (Department of Health) told me I couldn’t sell poi off the board,” Anthony said. “It’s not poi, though. It’s paiai.”
Paiai — young, unfermented and undiluted taro ground with a traditional lava rock and wooden board — first came under scrutiny by the Hawaii Department of Health in late 2009 when Anthony was cited for using traditional porous implements that could not be completely sanitized.
But a pair of proposals now before the state Legislature could make Hawaii’s food code compatible with this traditional Hawaiian food preparation practice. The bills would create an exemption for cultural practitioners like Anthony to sell their paiai, provided they sell directly to consumers, attend a food safety class, maintain hand-washing facilities and label their products as traditionally made. Continue reading
Without even checking the actual stats, we’re 100 percent sure that about half of all the commodities available on the free market include chocolate. With such an amazing demand for the product, surely there must be a sophisticated system in place to ensure that the world never runs out of the stuff. Because if, say, the whole chocolate industry was based entirely on Third World back-breaking manual labor, slave wages and actual child slavery that would be reason enough for a worldwide panic.
Actually, the majority of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa, where the plantations are often tended to by slave children, but there is such thing as fair trade cocoa beans, with guaranteed “No slave labor!” certificates and stuff. Problem solved, right? Nope. (And it’s a little depressing when taking slavery out of the equation doesn’t immediately fix something.) The fact of the matter is that, currently, cultivating cocoa beans just isn’t worth it to the average West African farmer.
Not only is tending to cocoa trees insanely time-consuming (it takes up to five years to grow a new crop), but everything has to be done by hand in often unbearable heat. And at the end of the day, the average cocoa farmer can expect to earn about 80 cents a day for his trouble. That satisfying feeling that his product is contributing to America’s obesity epidemic is just not enough anymore, so in fewer than 20 years, chocolate might become an expensive rarity, like caviar. When was the last time you had caviar? Continue reading
The last specimen of a rare Hawaiian orchid on Kauai will be joined next week by a half-dozen of its descendants in its home.
An Illinois botany professor who successfully reproduced the Platanthera holochila is expected to bring about 90 plants to Hawaii next week.
The orchid is extinct on Oahu and nonexistent on the Big Island, but Maui has about 20 plants living in the wild and about 20 live on Molokai. The only known specimen on Kauai lives in the Alakai Swamp within a fence that protects it from goats and pigs.
One of three orchid species endemic to Hawaii, the plant is the rarest of all three and appears somewhat unglamorous for an orchid, said Wendy Kishida, Kauai coordinator of the Plant Extinction Prevention Program.
It can grow to be several feet tall with hundreds of greenish-yellow flowers that bloom from spikes around the stem, according to some descriptions.
Chipper Wichman, director and chief executive officer of the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai, said botanists have seen the plant’s population decline over 20 years from about four plants to one. He said no one has been able to propagate the plant.
“This is really a success story,” he said. “This is a huge breakthrough for us.” Continue reading
by Diana Duff
Special To West Hawaii Today
Spring is fast approaching. Gardeners are itching to start their summer gardens. One way to get started now, before the summer rains come pouring down, is to browse seed catalogs, order some interesting varieties and plant them soon.
Most plants will mature about 90 days after seeding, so you can start harvesting veggies and enjoying flowers by June if you plant early in March. With more than a month before we get longer days and warmer, wetter weather, it’s a good time to plant seeds.
Start by dreaming. Though we can garden year- round, we can use some dreaming downtime. Check seed catalogs online or order some to ponder in an easy chair. Several companies have seeds that do well here and come highly recommended from local gardeners.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers hundreds of varieties of flowers, herbs and veggie seeds. It emphasizes varieties that perform well in warmer climates like ours. Its Cosmic Purple carrot might be worth a try.
At ctahr.hawaii.edu/seed, you’ll find a list of seeds that have been perfected to grow well in Hawaii. Its Anuenue or Manoa lettuces are tried and true for great salads. Continue reading
By Norman Bezona
Neem is one of the most ancient and widely used plants of the warm temperate and tropical regions of the world. Its medicinal qualities are outlined in the earliest Sanskrit writings that date back some 6,000 years. Modern scientists are finding even more uses for this remarkable tree.
Fortunately, both trees and products are being supplied by some local farmers and stores. My favorites are neem toothpaste, soap and oils. For example, I have been using the oils to treat sun-damaged skin. Rough patches of skin that can potentially become skin cancer began to fade and finally disappear after a few weeks of daily application. Since using the toothpaste for several years, I have not had a cavity, so neem uses are worth exploring. Neem mulch might be effective to repel insects like the coffee cherry borer and rose beetles that hide in soils around host plants.
Farmers and home gardeners plant crops and create landscapes for many reasons. The more useful plants, including neem, can often be seen growing in many parts of the world. On the island of Hispanola, which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, this medicinal tree has become a lifesaver when other medicines are unavailable. Some folks there plant for beauty but most often it is to supply food, medicine, clothing, or craft and building materials. Continue reading
It was a chocolate lovers dream come true Saturday the at Dole Cannery.
Chocolate of all kinds were featured at the Hawaii Chocolate Festival.
From chocolate fountains and candy, to the more unusual chocolate lotion and even vodka.
The Hawaii Chocolate Festival had it all.
“We’re the only state in the United States growing chocolate so we kind wanted to showcase all things great here that we have chocolate,” said event coordinator Amy Hammond. “We’re hoping that Hawaii chocolate can become one of the most friendly ambassadors of aloha.”
Event organizers are hopeful that the growing cacao business in Hawaii will be a boost for the economy as well.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service Hawaii Field Office (NASS), Hawaii ranked third highest in the nation in terms of the number of farms and ranches producing on-farm renewable energy. With a total of 8,569 farms nationally reporting solar panels, wind turbines, and/or methane digesters, Hawaii’s 522 reporting farms came in third behind Texas and California. Hawaii farms producing renewable energy saved an average of $2,125 on their 2009 utility bills, the 11th highest in the nation but slightly less than the national average of $2,406.
Hawaii ranked second in the nation in terms of number of solar panels located on farms and third in terms of number of farms with either photovoltaic and/or thermal solar panels. Of the reported 7,477 solar panels on farms throughout the State, 56 percent were installed between 2005 and 2009.
Hawaii ranked seventh in terms of number of small wind turbines producing energy on farms, turbines rated at a 1-100kw. Forty-three farms reported a total of 67 turbines, 42 percent which were installed over the last five years between 2005 and 2009. Continue reading
Item 1.01 Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement.
On February 23, 2011, Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (the “Company”) entered into a Third Modification Agreement (the “Third Modification”) with Wells Fargo Bank, National Association (“Wells Fargo”). The Third Modification further amended the terms of the Company’s $30 million revolving line of credit agreement with Wells Fargo, which was modified on December 22, 2010. Significant terms of the Third Modification are as follows:
* Extends the maturity date from May 1, 2012 to May 1, 2013.
* Provides the Company with the option to further extend the maturity date to May 1, 2014, subject to the satisfactory achievement of certain pre-defined conditions as described in the Third Modification.
* Increases the revolving credit commitment from $30 million to $34.5 million and availability under the loan facility from $25 million to $34.5 million.
* Sets forth pre-established minimum release prices for each of the real property parcels pledged as collateral under the credit agreement.
Upon entry into the Third Modification, the maturity date of the Company’s $25 million term loan with American AgCredit, FLCA was automatically extended from May 1, 2012 to May 1, 2013. Continue reading
Maui Land Preservation Workshop
Wednesday March 16, 2011. A workshop highlighting land preservation tools that communities and landowners can utilize to achieve their sustainability goals.
Held at Maui Economic Opportunity,
99 Mahalani Street,
Wailuku, HI 96793.
Wednesday March 16, 2011
Draft Agenda Continue reading
FOR an all-purpose garden tool, you can’t beat a full set of molars. Andrew Montain, a 28-year-old urban farmer, presented this theory the other day in my kitchen, as he rolled a nutmeg seed in his hand like a gobstopper.
“I want to crunch into this with my teeth and see what happens,” he said. Maybe it was a shell. Maybe it was a whole seed. He was eager to find out, but first he had a question: “How’s your liability insurance?”
I had invited Andrew to my home in St. Paul not to test his dentition, but to conduct a botanical experiment: If we plopped this nugget in a tray of dirt, would it grow into a nutmeg tree?
What I was imagining was a kitchen garden in the most literal sense: a crop borne of the pantry instead of the usual seed catalog.
For generation after generation of farmers, the staple crops we ate at the table — wheat and barley, maize and beans — were the same seeds we sowed in the fields. They were descendants of the first semi-wild crops that had more or less “ ‘volunteered’ for domestication,” as Peter Thompson, the British conservationist, wrote in his 2010 book, “Seeds, Sex and Civilization.” These seeds “germinated rapidly, completely, and at low temperatures.”
Today’s farmers, with their pedigree seeds, grow foods that are bigger and more bountiful than the peasant crops of the past. The viability of the seeds these cereals, legumes, fruits and vegetables produce, though, is an afterthought.
Yet whether out of nostalgia or novelty, the home gardener likes to tinker with the old ways. Continue reading