By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR
When you think of an orange vegetable, carrots come to mind, but once upon a time the most common color of carrots wasn’t orange. It wasn’t until the 1500s that the Dutch stumbled upon an orange carrot and focused on developing more orange varieties.
Believed to be native to the area around Afghanistan, the first carrots were purple and yellow. Around A.D. 900-1200, they spread to the eastern Mediterranean, then to China and Eastern Europe by the 1300s. By the 1600s, yellow carrots reached Japan, but it wasn’t until the 1700s that orange carrots emerged in Holland and adjacent areas. White and yellow carrots are still used for livestock in eastern and western Europe, while red carrots are popular in Japan.
With the quest for new color choices in vegetables, we’ve gone full circle with the return of colorful carrots with names like Atomic Red, Nutri-Red, Purple Haze, Purple Dragon, Mello Yellow Scarlet Wonder and Rainbow. Breeding by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a high Vitamin A carrot led to the development of a cultivar called A Plus, which increased the carotene content by leaps and bounds. A collateral benefit was improved taste, especially sweetness.
A nemesis of the carrot is the root-knot nematode causing galls on the roots, and this microscopic eelworm is common in many of our soils. A solution is to grow cover crops, such as Sunn Hemp, African Marigolds, Sorghum-Sudangrass Hybrids, or a variety of cowpea called Iron and Clay.
Greenwell ethnobotanical garden to observe founder’s day
Garden to observe founder’s day
Bishop Museum’s native plant arboretum in Captain Cook, the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, will observe the birthday of the garden’s late founder Amy Beatrice Holdsworth Greenwell on Friday, Sept. 7.
Born in 1920, Amy Greenwell was part of the well-known Greenwell family which settled in the Kona area in the mid-1800s. An accomplished native plant expert, she wrote many articles on botany and ethnobotany. Some of her letters and articles will be on display in the Garden’s new visitor center. She was also an acute observer of archaeology and often joined Bishop Museum archaeologists on their field work.
She left the garden property to Bishop Museum on her death in 1974. Admission will be free on Sept. 7 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Birthday cake will be served starting at 12:30 p.m. and a Guided Native Plant Walk will be offered at 1 p.m. An award from the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority funds the Guided Native Plant Walks offered at the garden daily, Tuesday-Sunday. Visitors may take self-guided tours these same days between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The garden is located at 81-6160 Mamalahoa Hwy. in Captain Cook. For more information, call 323-3318 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org/greenwell.
Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in the Hawaiian Plant Walks should contact Peter Van Dyke at 808-323-3318 at least two weeks before their planned visit.
HONOLULU – A helicopter pilot is pleading guilty to illegally flying deer from Maui to the Big Island, shedding light on a mystery that has been bewildering Hawaii: how did axis deer, an animal that can’t swim across the ocean, get to another island?
But now federal authorities say the people behind the scheme also took several mouflon sheep from the Big Island and flew them to Maui.
Neither axis deer nor mouflon sheep are native to Hawaii and don’t have natural predators here. Their presence has damaged fragile native ecosystems and farms on the islands where they’ve become established.
The alleged animal smugglers took the sheep to a Maui hunting ranch, and apparently didn’t release them into the wild. Even so, the sheep’s arrival on Maui for the first time deeply concerns conservationists who fear that the animals could escape or give others the idea to bring over more.
“Some of our most endangered dry forest community on Maui would definitely be negatively impacted if sheep got established on Maui. They’re already being impacted by the deer. The sheep would just be one more thing that was contributing to their demise,” said Chuck Chimera, a botanist on Maui involved in efforts to fight invasive species.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Song said helicopter pilot Thomas Leroy Hauptman flew four axis deer from Maui, where the animals were introduced in the 1950s, to the Big Island where they’re not established. He brought back about a dozen mouflon sheep with him to Maui from the Big Island.
Hauptman on Monday entered a plea of guilty in federal court to one misdemeanor count of illegally transporting wildlife,
The world is on the brink of a food “catastrophe” caused by the worst US drought in 50 years, and misguided government biofuel policy will exacerbate the perilous situation, scientists and activists warn.
When food prices spike and people go hungry, violence soon follows, they say. Riots caused by food shortages – similar to those of 2007-08 in countries like Bangladesh, Haiti, the Philippines and Burkina Faso among others – may be on the horizon, threatening social stability in impoverished nations that rely on US corn imports.
This summer’s devastating drought has scorched much of the mid-western United States – the world’s bread basket.
Crops such as corn, wheat, and soy have been decimated by high temperatures and little rain. Grain prices have skyrocketed and concerns abound the resulting higher food prices will hit the world’s poor the hardest – sparking violent demonstrations.
Early dryness in Russia’s wheat growing season, light monsoon rains in India, and drought in Africa’s Sahel region, combined with America’s lost crop, mean a perfect storm is on the horizon.
Surging food prices could kick off food riots similar to those in 2008 and 2010, Professor Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of the New England Complex Systems Institute, told Al Jazeera.
“Recent droughts in the mid-western United States threaten to cause global catastrophe,” said Bar-Yam, whose institute uses computer models to identify global trends.
Hopes were high in May of a bumper corn crop this year, but sizzling temperatures in June and July scuttled those predictions.
Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food every year, cramming landfills with at least $165 billion worth of produce and meats at a time when hundreds of millions of people suffer from chronic hunger globally, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The analysis, a compilation of various studies and statistics, found that waste exists from farm to fork even as an ongoing drought threatens to boost food prices. But the resources that the government has devoted to identifying where the inefficiencies exist and how to combat them pale in comparison with efforts underway in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, the report concluded.
For now, the relatively low U.S. prices make it easy to toss food, which may explain why the average American family of four ends up trashing the equivalent of up to $2,275 worth of food each year, the report said. These wasteful tendencies have worsened over time, with the average American dumping 10 times as much food as a consumer in Southeast Asia, up 50 percent from the 1970s.
Against that backdrop, it’s no wonder that food makes up the largest component of solid waste in landfills, said Dana Gunders, the NRDC scientist who authored the study. The frustration for environmentalists is that natural resources — water, land and energy — are used to produce all that uneaten food, which is why the NRDC is weighing in on the topic, Gunders said.
“We’re essentially tossing every other piece of food that crosses our path,” she said in a statement. “That’s money and precious resources down the drain.”
Thailand is being urged to restructure its agricultural sector, as the country’s primary farm products can no longer compete in the world market.
Experts say reforms should include controlling the supply of each commodity, creating cultivation zones for each crop, and adding value to farm output.
Zoning restrictions can help to control supplies and improve yield quality to meet demand in niche markets, resulting in higher value and more income to growers of such crops as organic Hom Mali rice and organic vegetables.
Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said adding value to farm products would foster sector sustainability.
Prices of local crops such as rice, rubber and sugar now depend on global markets and supply, prompting the government to intervene whenever prices plummet.
This year, agricultural prices dropped by 9.3% year-on-year in the second quarter alone on the slowdown in the world market, hurting local farm incomes.
Thailand now ranks second globally in exports of sugar.
Since most of this commodity is shipped as a primary product, the industry should find ways to increase value such as developing high-quality sugar tailored to particular markets.
Mr Arkhom said Thailand risks losing its status as a major rice exporter as more Asian countries become self-reliant in terms of the crop.
Vietnam has rapidly developed its agricultural sector and can beat Thailand’s rice prices.
America’s worst drought in half a century will push up inflation and put a fresh obstacle in the path of the struggling global economy, one of the UK’s leading banks has warned.
Senior global economist at HSBC, Karen Ward, said sharp rises in the cost of wheat, corn and soya beans came when growth was slowing but said the weakness of wage pressure meant there was no need for central banks to raise interest rates in response to a higher cost of living.
Blistering heat in the US has destroyed 45% of the corn and 35% of the soya bean crop in the worst harvest since 1988. Russia and Ukraine have also had poor crop yields. Ward said higher food prices would result.
“This is another dampener for the global economy at a time when the headwinds are already acute,” Ward said.
A French farmer killed his wife’s lover after chasing him across fields in his tractor and mowing him down.
Claude Boutevillain, 51, a farmer in the Meuse, eastern France, was reportedly driven mad by his wife Josette’s decision to leave him for the local butcher, 48-year-old Jean-Michel Allemeersch.
The crime of passion, allegedly committed on Friday evening, has struck a chord in a country with more than 500,000 farms.
Witnesses watched helplessly as Mr Boutevillain allegedly pursued his rival across fields, first ramming the butcher’s meat van.
“We shouted to Mr Boutevillain to stop,” Laurence Oudinot told regional daily L’Est Republicain. “My husband phoned the fire brigade while the neighbour phoned the gendarmes.
At first glance, the Swartzentruber Amish of St. Lawrence County, New York, look to be self-reliant stewards of a bucolic and unchanging landscape. Although their daily chores demand Olympic stamina — regiments of mugwort-weeding and hay-bailing — the Swartzentrubers still pause and wave politely to 18-wheelers passing through the county, which stretches from the Adirondacks to the suburbs of Montreal.
But over the last decade, new neighbors such as thousand-cow dairies and genetically modified starch producers have moved into the region, vying with Amish farm stands selling strawberries, night crawlers, and maple syrup.
The scenario facing the Swartzentrubers, who account for the second-fastest-growing Amish settlement in New York, could spell caution for any locavore or family business frustrated by economic shifts.