Kona coffee hui catches Safeway breaking label vow

A national grocer said it has changed its label on packages of Kona coffee blends, making good on a promise it made last year to a group of Hawaii coffee farmers.

But the Kona Coffee Farmers Association said Thursday that Safeway hasn’t fully honored that promise.

Last year, Safeway agreed to change the label on Kona coffee blend products sold on the mainland to add the phrase “10 percent minimum Kona blend.” That was after the association called for a boycott of the company’s 1,700 stores nationwide because farmers said the labels were misleading and degraded the reputation of Hawaii’s famous coffee.

Safeway doesn’t sell the coffee blend in any of its Hawaii stores, so it wasn’t subject to a Hawaii law that requires labels to reflect the percentage of Hawaii-grown coffee, which needs to be at least 10 percent for the state designation.

Instead, the state Department of Agriculture asked Safeway to voluntarily comply with Hawaii’s law.

The Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocery chain agreed and promised to begin selling 100 percent Kona coffee in some California stores.

The Kona Coffee Farmers Association has been watching Safeway closely for these changes. The association said in a letter to Safeway that members have seen the old packaging in mainland stores and is disappointed the company hasn’t started selling pure Kona coffee.

“Given the product shelf life, packaging used before the (changes) may still exist on store shelves or elsewhere in our distribution chain,” said a letter from Brian Dowling, Safeway vice president of public affairs, adding that the company doesn’t plan to destroy or dispose of those products.

Dowling’s letter said that Safeway hadn’t been able to sell 100 percent Kona coffee, but still planned to do so.

Quebec police seek sticky-fingered thieves with $30m of maple syrup

Thieves have made off with a “considerable amount” of maple syrup from a warehouse in Quebec, police have said.

The warehouse, in St-Louis-de-Blandford, stocked more than $30m worth of the product. Police said it was too early to say how much had been stolen.

Quebec provincial sergeant Claude Denis said on Friday that the warehouse stored more than 10m pounds (4.54m kilograms) of maple syrup.

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers says they discovered the missing syrup when a routine inventory turned up empty barrels.

It said in a statement: “The federation always acts with caution to protect producers’ harvests. The St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse had been secured by a fence and locks, and visited regularly.”

It is believed that the thieves decanted the syrup into other containers, with the intent of selling it on.

The federation said that if the thieves attempted to sell the syrup, the whole industry would be affected. “It is crucial to identify those responsible for this crime,” the federation said.

Quebec produces 70 to 80% of the world’s maple syrup. Most of the exported product is sold in the United States.

Sylvain Charlebois, a food policy researcher at the University of Guelph, told the Globe and Mail that it would be hard to track the contraband syrup. “It is going to be problematic, one way or the other, whether it’s to sell through proper channels or dealing with the black market,” he said.

Anne-Marie Granger Godbout, executive director of the maple syrup federation, attempted to reassure consumers. “We still have enough maple syrup. There will be no shortage,” she told the Globe and Mail.

Quebec police seek sticky-fingered thieves with $30m of maple syrup | World news | guardian.co.uk

State inventories Na Wai Eha water rights

Legal notices published Wednesday in The Maui News and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser listing people, churches, and commercial and other entities with claims to kuleana water rights in the Na Wai Eha surface water management area are part of a “historic” effort by the state water commission to recognize those appurtenant rights.

“This is the first time in its history that the commission is formally going to permanently recognize kuleana rights,” said Isaac Moriwake, an Earthjustice attorney, Wednesday.

He represented Hui o Na Wai Eha and Maui Tomorrow, which along with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, earlier this month claimed a major victory for appurtenant or kuleana water rights in the Hawaii Supreme Court. Moriwake and his clients got the high court to vacate a state Commission on Water Resource Management decision in a dispute over mauka diversions of the surface water of Na Wai Eha, or the four great waters of Central Maui – Waihee, Waiehu, Waikapu and Iao streams.

Currently, surface water is diverted from the four West Maui Mountain streams for Central Maui sugar cultivation and domestic use, and Native Hawaiian and environmental groups are seeking to have more water returned to streams to revive the natural habitat and to allow for taro cultivation.

The publication of those with claims to kuleana water was not directly related to the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling Aug. 15. However, as part of the process of recognizing kuleana water rights, water commission officials will be estimating how much water was historically used by landowners.

The kuleana water inventory can only help as the state water commission revisits the allocation of Na Wai Eha water, Moriwake said.

“There has been a historical difficulty to have these rights recognized,” he added.

Scientists unwind the secrets of climbing plants’ tendrils

In the search for precious sunlight, instead of growing sturdy trunks to reach towards the light, climbing plants such as honeysuckle and grapevines cling to their surroundings and then heave themselves upwards. Scientists have now cracked how some plants do this, and in the process they have created a new kind of spring.

Climbing plants have been puzzling biologists since the 19th century – including Charles Darwin. The technique the plants use to winch themselves upwards is well known, but the underlying mechanism has been a mystery until now.

The new research, published in the journal Science, investigates in unprecedented detail the supporting tendrils of the cucumber plant. When first formed, a tendril is almost straight, and while growing it slowly waves around in a poorly understood process called circumnutation. When it encounters a foothold, the end of the tendril wraps around it, securing a support.

The tendril then shortens by coiling up into a corkscrew-like helix, pulling up the rest of the plant. But rather than twisting only in one direction – impossible without twisting the plant at the other end – the two halves of the coiled section curl up in opposite directions, separated by an uncoiled stretch called a perversion, so there’s no net twist. How this coiling occurs wasn’t understood.

A group of scientists led by Sharon Gerbode and Josh Puzey, who carried out the work while at Harvard University, investigated the nature of recently discovered specialised cells that form a stiff ribbon of material inside each soft, fleshy tendril.

This ribbon controls a tendril’s shape, and the team suspected that to coil, cells on one side of the ribbon are stiffened and shortened more than those on the other side, causing a turn towards the stiffened side.

Mexican mangoes recalled over salmonella risk

WASHINGTON >> Fruit distributor Splendid Products is recalling several lots of Daniella brand mangoes, which may have triggered an outbreak of salmonella that has sickened more than 100 people in 16 states.

The company said the recalled mangoes come from Mexico and carry the Daniella brand sticker. The affected lot numbers are: 3114, 4051, 4311, 4584 or 4959.

The mangoes were sold at various U.S. retailers between July 12 and August 29.

Splendid said it voluntarily recalled the product “out of an abundance of caution,” after consulting government authorities.

Federal health officials are still investigating what caused the outbreak of 103 cases of salmonella Braenderup infections. U.S. and Canadian authorities are trying to identify which mango brands or sources may have caused the illnesses. No deaths have been reported.

Mexican mangoes recalled over salmonella risk – Hawaii News – Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Preservation and value adding training for the people of Santo


Around 60 participants from Santo rural and surrounding Luganville will attend a ten days preservation and Value adding training on local crops starting Monday next week Funded by TVET and World Vision it will be conducted by Kava’s store Charles Long Wah at the Agriculture College with the aim to boost the income earning capacity of rural farmers and improve food security (in off seasons) and processing at the village level.

“My techniques of value adding of natural produce is unique, whether to the most remote village or town with only a saucepan and spoon, now with a solar food dryer,” said Long Wah, after conducting similar workshops for 20 years all over north and south Pacific to hundreds of Pacific islanders. “These ten days training will upscale productivity and pass on lifetime skills of value adding a product in syrup, pastes, flavoring in tamarind, preserved mango, pineapple, pawpaw, nandau, naus, soursop, chutney, chilly and tamarind and candy (coconut).

“Equipped with four solar dryers we will be able to make over 100 semi and value added agricultural crops with no costs and obtain much safe food security with abundant in fruits, spices, indigenous nuts, root crops and bread fruits going to waste each year in the rural areas.

This, he said, will significantly decline in the coming months, in particular aggregated crops such as root crops, nut in shells, low value vegetables, fresh kava, fruits to town, ships and high costs of transportation.

“The Vanuatu market has not change much in the past 60 years, it is based mainly in low value crops with miserable profits, eventually creating more conflicts between farmers having the same agriculture crops generating mass exodus to urban drift and more poverty.

“We must produce the volume of agricultural crops in rural areas before we can talk about export.”

Maui farmers’ group to hold two meetings

HAIKU – The Maui Farmer’s Union United, in collaboration with the Maui School Garden Network and Community Work Day, will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Haiku School garden.

Haiku School garden coordinator Jenna Tallman will demonstrate how to brew bokashi to speed up the composting process, and Maui Farmer’s Union United President Vincent Mina will demonstrate how to make fermented plant juice.

There will also be a dedication of a Kahaluu avocado tree donated and planted by MFUU members for the school garden.

The MFUU’s regular monthly meeting will follow from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Haiku Community Center. The meeting will feature a locavore potluck and presentations.

Chef John Cadman will present “Chef’s Corner,” Ryan Earhart will present “Produce Scoops,”?Harriet Witt will present “Cycles of Light and Life”?and Jayanti Nand will present a tree-layering demonstration.

There will also be club announcements and updates about the annual meeting on Oct. 24.

Cost for the meeting is $10 for those who do not bring a dish and $5 for members.

This is a waste-free event. Participants are asked to bring their own plates and utensils; compostable dishware will be available for a nominal fee.

Attendees also are encouraged to participate in the produce swap by bringing vegetables, fruit, seeds, plant cuttings or other produce to trade.

The Maui Farmer’s Union United meets at 5:30 p.m. monthly, every fourth Tuesday, at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center Pool in Pukalani.

For more information, visit www.mauifarmersunionunited.weebly.com.
Maui farmers’ group to hold two meetings – Mauinews.com | News, Sports, Jobs, Visitor’s Information – The Maui News

Sugar imports soar

Sugar imports shot up exponentially in the 11 months through May upon expectations of a lenient government policy on refined sugar exports and the zero-duty status granted to raw sugar imports.

Imports rose 87 percent to 15.77 lakh tonnes in July-May from the same period a year earlier, according to Bangladesh Bank that compiles data on letters of credit settlement.

Golam Mostafa, chairman of Deshbandhu Sugar, however, suggests that the total volume of sugar imports could be even higher than the LC data imply as payments are typically deferred by six months.

Mostafa attributes the spike in imports to the processing capacity of refineries, which were expanded in anticipation of relaxation of government restrictions on refined sugar exports.

While ASM Mohiuddin Monem, secretary general of Bangladesh Sugar Refiners Association, attributes the surge in imports to the zero-duty import facility bestowed upon sugar — both raw and refined — imports.

“All parties reaped advantage of the policy and imported sugar as much as possible,” said Monem, also the deputy managing director of Abdul Monem Group which runs AM Sugar Refinery Ltd.

For instance, the state-run Bangladesh Sugar Food Industries Corporation and Trading Corporation of Bangladesh imported more than 150,000 tonnes of refined sugar in fiscal 2011-12.

Mostafa expects the sugar imports to hit the 17-18 lakh tonne-mark for the 2012 calendar year, a significant rise from the 14.79 lakh tonnes recorded for 2011.

Trouble brewing

Growing coffee in Kona just isn’t what it used to be.

The island’s coffee belt continues to deal with pests such as the coffee berry borer, warmer and dryer conditions, and the increasing cost of doing business. Nonetheless, for many growers, Kona coffee is a love and passion they will continue well into the future — whether the process is easy or hard.

“It’s a lifestyle,” explained Christian Twigg-Smith, third-generation owner of Blue Sky Coffee, located off Hualalai Road in Holualoa. “The industry here in Kona the last two to three years has taken hits with bugs, drought and additional costs, but you either learn to deal with it or get out.”

Twigg-Smith, whose 100-acre estate coffee farm in a good year produces upward of 500,000 to 700,000 pounds of cherry, described the start of the 2012 coffee season as pretty good, thanks in part to “decent” rainfall and good blooms during the spring. A bad season, he said, results in about 200,000 to 400,000 pounds of cherry.

“It don’t think it will be a fat year or a bad year, but an average year,” he said about the upcoming Kona coffee harvest.

Elsie Burbano Greco, with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources’ Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, anticipates this year’s Kona coffee crop will be good.

“There’s going to be tons of coffee,” she said, noting how thick the trees’ white blooms were during the spring. “There’s plenty of berries, but people have got to be spraying and cleaning up to protect the coffee (for harvest).”