Amira’s Prolific Pumpkins

Although not certified organic, Olana Farm grows produce on 2.25-acres using strictly organic methods.

What’s growing now

Arugula, avocado, basil (Thai, Italian, lemon), bak choy, beets, carrots, celery, chard (Swiss, rainbow), chives, cilantro, collards, fennel, green onions, ginger, guava, kale (curly, lacinato, red Russian, red curly), kaffir (leaves, fruit), mint, mustard greens (red, green), oregano, pak choi, papaya (green sunrise), pak choi (baby green, baby purple), parsley (Italian, curly), passionfruit, pea shoots, pineapple (white), pumpkin, rosemary, tangelo, thyme, tomatoes (cherry red, yellow pear), turmeric, turnips (white, red), yacón.

Amira Pumpkin 

“This variety was selected from seeds that were saved because they are adapted to Hawaii and resist powdery mildew and being stung by the fruit fly,” says Tom O’Connor. “We liken it to a tender butternut squash, but it has thin skin and sweet, tender flesh. We named it after my wife, Amira.”

Amira pumpkins have a deep gold, creamy interior that’s sweet and full of seeds, which can be planted in home gardens. You don’t need to peel them because the skin is smooth and tender enough to eat.

Pumpkins are a prolific crop and a medium sized one can make up to eight meals. They are considered a winter squash because they are harvested in late summer and early fall, and keep throughout the winter.

Season

Amira pumpkins take up to three months to go from seed to table. On Kauai, they are available from spring through summer and possibly into fall.

What to look for

Select pumpkins that are hard, heavy and free of soft spots. External skin blemishes do not compromise the integrity of the flesh. Stems should be attached, otherwise bacteria gets inside and spoils the flesh.

Storage

Store on a counter out of direct sunlight. O’Connor says pumpkins stored this way will keep for a few weeks.

Tip

Seeds make an excellent snack food. Scoop out the pulp and seeds and spread the seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Lightly roast at 160 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Roasting for a relatively short time at a low temperature minimizes damage to healthy oils. 

Preparation

Purchasing pumpkins may seem expensive, but they are worth every penny. I used my pumpkin in four meals: the pilaf below, a kale and caramelized onion tart, ravioli (made with wonton wrappers) and a Thai coconut soup.

GMO ban, research at odds?

Hawaii County set itself apart from much of the rest of the state in December by effectively banning the large biotech seed companies that have become a major, though controversial, part of Hawaii agriculture.

But with a ban also on the outdoor testing of transgenic crops, can the Big Island, home to genetically modified papaya, still be a place for genetic research?

Six months later, the answer might be clearly no for some researchers while a bit hazy for others.

Because of the law, Russell Nagata, Hawaii County administrator for the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, said his staff will not pursue genetic engineering.

“It will prevent us from using biotech as a solution” to agricultural issues, he said following a panel discussion on genetic modification Thursday evening.

“It forces us to look at it in a different manner. It may be slow, it may not be as effective.”

Scientists interviewed say growing modified crops, that are still under development, in open fields is necessary to test their effectiveness.

While they say they take steps to prevent the spread of genes, including the removal of plants before flowering, critics of genetic modification believe outdoor testing presents too much risk. They also question the approval process.

“We are looking at the precautionary principle,” said Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille during the panel discussion sponsored by the Hilo chapter of the American Association of University Women. Wille introduced the bill restricting the use of transgenic crops.

Under the county’s law, testing can occur but it must be done indoors.

At the time the bill was adopted, Nagata said his office was not conducting any genetic research.

For those with projects already in progress, the law might provide less certainty.

Michael Shintaku, a plant pathologist at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, said he is continuing his research on creating lettuce resistant to the tomato spotted wilt virus but is unsure of whether he can get it approved with the current restrictions.

MALP Lawn and Garden Fair–Saturday, June 14th, 10am-3pm, Maui Mall

edlan-500

FREE event Featuring:

  • Educational talks:  Ian Cole – Breadfruit Institute;  Gerry Ross – Kupa’a Farms;  James Simpliciano – Simpli-Fresh Produce, LLC,  Emil Lynch – Maui’s Best Honey, and  Melanie King – Waste Not Want Not
  • More than 20 vendors selling plants and gardening material
  • Book sale featuring gardening and plant books
  • Door prizes
  • Free soil pH testing – Bring 2c soil sample selected from various areas across property
  • Free plant problem diagnosis – Bring a plant sample – bagged

Cowboy Fun: Rodeos and Polo

Paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys) show off their skills at three major annual events: the Piiholo Cowboy Classic in September; the Oskie Rice Memorial Rodeo in December; and Maui’s biggest event, the 4th of July Rodeo, which comes with a full parade in Makawao town and festivities that last for days.

Polo is popular with the Upcountry paniolos. From April through June, Haleakala Ranch hosts “indoor” or arena contests on a field flanked by side boards. The field is on Route 377, 1 mile from Route 37. During the “outdoor” polo season, September to mid-November, matches are held at Olinda Field, 1 mile above Makawao on Olinda Road. There’s a $5 admission for most games, which start at 1:30 pm on Sunday.

Manduke Baldwin Memorial Tournament. Held over Memorial Day weekend, the Manduke Baldwin Memorial Tournament is a popular two-day polo event. It draws challengers from Argentina, England, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. 808/877–7744. www.mauipoloclub.com.

Cowboy Fun: Rodeos and Polo – Maui | Fodor’s

Agriculture grant information session | About Town | 4-21-14

Agriculture grant information session planned for Thursday

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is inviting the public to an agriculture grant information session and market development workshop from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Kona Cooperative Extension Service, 79-7381 Mamalahoa Highway in Kainaliu.

Attendees will discuss different funding sources, proposal preparation and reporting and grant requirements. There is no cost to attend but registration is required the day before the event.

For more information, call Marci at 973-9595 or email hdoa.md@hawaii.gov.

Why Are We Pro-GMO?

vegan-gmo

We feel that genetic engineering is an important and crucial technology. Ignorance and myths surrounding this field hinders advancement at best and harms at worst. It’s especially a concern to us as vegans for these reasons:

  1. Animal testing: Insisting on unfounded safety testing leads to more animals being harmed in order to perform this testing.
  2. Animal alternatives: GM technology can help create alternatives to animal products. For example, insulin used to be obtained from slaughtered animals; now it is manufactured by genetically modified bacteria. It could also be possible to use GM technology to replace animal foods. Cheese has been difficult to mock, and the lack of acceptable vegan cheese analogues could be a barrier for many potential vegans.
  3. Nutrition & Health: GM technology can benefit vegans by creating plants rich in nutrients vegans lack, such as vitamin B12 and DHA. This would make it easier for people to go and stay vegan. Recently, CSIRO scientists have been enabling canola plants to produce DHA. People who are vegan need DHA, and synthetic DHA can help save the lives of fish, who are often used as a source of omega-3 fatty acids. People are animals too, and there are many in dire need of help. GM technology could help bring essential nutrients to starving populations, and GM foods could even be used as vehicles for vaccine delivery.
  4. Environment: Creating plants that use fewer pesticides and fertilizers will help us strive toward a sustainable agriculture that’s less detrimental to all life on this planet. Fewer insects would be killed, less runoff will poison fish, and no- or low-till agriculture will save the lives of ground-dwelling animals.

There are many in the vegan community co-opting the vegan cause with conspiratorial thinking and junk information on GMO. The best antidote to this is good critical thinking. Please be sure the source for your information is well-qualified and scientific.

Why Are We Pro-GMO? | Vegan GMO

Ant infestation covers 4 acres in Waimanalo

HONOLULU — An extensive survey of an area in Waimanalo has determined approximately 4 acres are infested with little fire ants, tiny invasive ants that can inflict painful stings. Crews surveyed more than 50 acres from Kumuhau Street to Mahailua Street in Waimanalo and determined that the infestation area is on state land and in mulch areas located outside nurseries in that area. Little fire ants were detected previously on hapuu from Hawaii Island at a few nurseries and garden shops earlier this year, but those areas were treated and are now clear of little fire ants.

Survey operations were headed by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and involved several agencies including: the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii Ant Laboratory, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, Hawaii Invasive Species Council, The Nature Conservancy, University of Hawaii, City & County of Honolulu, and Hawaii National Guard.

Little fire ants have been found on Hawaii Island since 1999. In late December, the ant was detected on hapuu logs (Hawaiian fern) at retail stores on Maui and Oahu. Since its detection, Oahu and Maui nurseries have been surveyed. Five Oahu nurseries, three of which were in Waimanalo, were found to have small infestations of little fire ants, which were treated and are clear of the ants.

Ant infestation covers 4 acres in Waimanalo | West Hawaii Today

8 Pets That May Actually Be Illegal In Your State

Untitled-1

At some point in our lives, the majority of us have known the joys of caring for a beloved pet, whether it was an adorably loyal Labrador or a Jackson’s chameleon with a face only a mother could love.

Considering that 68 percent of U.S. households own a pet, it’s clear the nation loves its companion animals.

However, you might be surprised to learn that some common critters are actually illegal to own in certain states.

In many states, seemingly harmless animals are seen as a threat to native plants, wildlife or agriculture, or as a danger to public health.

Hawaii, for instance, is one of the most restrictive states when it comes to letting plant and animal species into its borders. Due to its fragile ecosystem and in an effort to protect against the propagation of invasive species, the list of banned animals is quite lengthy. According to Janelle Saneishi, a public information officer for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, most of the state’s illegal species would have no natural predators in Hawaii, meaning there’d be nothing to keep the population in check.

Be sure to check your local county, state or federal laws or guidelines regarding pet ownership. Laws can vary widely from state to state and may even conflict with federal or other guidelines.