Former President George H.W. Bush hated broccoli. But I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t love avocados. Cool and creamy, rich and texturally divine, this native American fruit is a perfect ingredient in, say, a California roll sushi, layered in a sandwich, and mashed into a spicy guacamole to be served with crunchy chips.
I also love to scoop out the buttery meat, slice into eye-appealing thick pieces, and sprinkle with a little cayenne, sea salt and a drizzle of lemon. Perfecto!
Those heading to the Big Island of Hawaii this weekend will find the sixth annual Hawai‘i Avocado Festival celebrating the versatile fruit.
Today, the festival fun will be centered around Kealakekua Bay Bed and Breakfast for a Farm-to-Fork Hawaii Dinner, according to publicist Fern Gavelek.
”The menu of the five-course, avocado-inspired meal is by Chef Devin Lowder of When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie. Dessert Chef Hector Wong of My Yellow Kitchen in Honolulu will prepare a seven-layer avo dessert. Seating is limited and a portion of the $85 price benefits the festival. For reservations, phone 328-8150.”
”The celebration culminates Saturday, Feb. 18 with the family-friendly 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hawai‘i Avocado Festival at the Keauhou Beach Resort. The free, community event offers a wealth of activities for attendees of all ages sprawling throughout the resort’s grounds.”
”Get tips on growing and grafting avocado trees, plus trees will be on sale for the home orchard. Leading the educational botanical sessions is a team of University of Hawai‘i staff
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.
This tour will start at the University of Hawaii Maui Campus Culinary Academy for a “Behind the Scenes Tour” of the State of the Art facility and continental breakfast of locally sourced products. Once you’ve satisfied your appetite the tour will continue to the Hali’imaile Pineapple Company, where the staff shares a brief history of growing pineapple on Maui and how their farming operations has evolved today. See how pineapple is grown and learn the interesting facts about choosing the sweetest pineapple in the supermarket.
Then it’s off to lunch at the O’o farm, where a plethora of different crops are grown. Providing a unique culinary experience of using the freshest farm ingredients, prepared in creative ways that bring forth all the delicious flavors nature has to offer. After lunch, it’s on to Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, where the tour starts on a sweet note of creamy Lavender Chocolate Gelato. Take the first and only Lavender walking tour and discover the “Language of Flowers”. Buy a Lavender Scone for the road and find out why these scones are so famous!
* Breakfast and Behind the Scenes tour of University of Hawaii Maui campus.
* Pineapple tour and tasting at Hali’imaile Pineapple Tours
* Gourmet Lunch and Tour at O’o Organic Farm
* Ali’I Kula Lavender Walking Tour and Dessert
**Advanced Reservations are required! Call 808-891-4604. Click here for more information.
Eighty rainbow trout go into a frenzy as Rene LaMarche sprinkles food pellets into their 300-gallon tank. The surface of the water erupts in turbulence as the fish feed with noisy gulps.
The trout have a symbiotic relationship with garden vegetables floating on rafts in LaMarche’s backyard. The process, called aquaponics, marries aquaculture (fish-rearing) with hydroponics (growing plants without soil).
Fish waste, converted to non-toxic fertilizer, feeds the plants. The plants clear the water of fertilizer and it is returned clean to the tank.
LaMarche and his wife Linda of Sunnyslope are excited about the technology, which they learned about on vacation in Hawaii. Aquaponics has great potential as a sustainable food source, say LaMarche and his mentor Clyde Tamaru of the University of Hawaii. But for both, it’s been a rapid learning curve.
An Inquisitive Mind
The LaMarches earlier this year traveled to Oahu, where Linda grew up. By chance, they chatted with a resident Hawaiian about aquaponics. Intrigued, Rene LaMarche got on the Internet, searched the term, and he was hooked.
He found the technique was being heavily explored in the Virgin Islands and Hawaii, both island cultures seeking to reduce their dependence on imported food. He saw potential for adapting the technology to the Northwest.
She had a dream
Surviving against the Odds
by S Ann Dunham
Reviewed by Dinesh Sharma
Almost 20 years after she completed her doctoral dissertation and 15 years after she prematurely passed away due to cancer, S Ann Dunham’s dream to publish her life’s work has finally been realized.
Due partly to the efforts of an esteemed group of economic and cultural anthropologists, who worked with her for more than 30 years, and in no small measure to the new-found fame of herchildren, Barack Obama and Maya Soetoro-Ng, her research in the remote villages of Java has found a growing audience that even she could not have imagined.
Caught between the Beat generation and the hippies, Dunham was a product of the radical ideals of the 1960s and raised her children with the same idealism and values, recalled Alice Dewey, professor of anthropology at the University of Hawaii, who was a mentor and friend of Dunham.
When US President Barack Obama accepted the Noble Peace Prize, he fulfilled one of the cherished dreams of his mother to be a peacemaker. "She would be so proud of him right now," said Alice Dewey as she became tearful. "Ann Dunham was becoming well known in her own right and getting recognized for her development work before she passed away.
The bees and the trees (and tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, mac nuts…)
Special to Hawaii247 by Andrea Dean/Volcano Island Honey
Do you know that one-third of all the food you eat is pollinated by bees?
The decimation of bee colonies is a threat to food production in Hawaii. In Hawaii we do not have the disappearance of bees (Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD), but we now have the devastating and aptly named varroa destructor, commonly known as the varroa mite.
The varroa mite is a parasite that attacks honey bee adults, larvae, and pupae. The varroa mite has been know to destroy up to 90 percent of wild hives and beekeepers can easily lose all or a majority of their managed hives.
Until recently, Hawaii and Australia were the only remaining varroa free places in the world. The varroa mite was found on Oahu in 2007, unfortunately this did not result in quick and aggressive action by the private or government sector. As a result, the mite has now been found in hives on the Big Island.
Bid process could bring more outside competition
By Sean Hao
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hawai’i taxpayers will likely be paying more to buy agriculture products under a new state law aimed at supporting local growers.
Act 175 hopes to use government purchasing power to benefit local agriculture. The law, which took effect July 1, requires state agencies to gather competitive bids before buying food and other agricultural products.
It gives up to 15 percent preference to locally grown products in the bidding process. So if a Mainland grower can supply the food for $100, and a local grower bids $114, the local grower gets the contract.
"What this bill allows is for the state to use its purchasing power to procure these local products to really enhance local agriculture by giving them viable market opportunities," said Elizabeth Haws Connally, who lobbied for the change on behalf of the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ruled that more work needs to be done on an environmental assessment for a produce irradiator that’s proposed for a location near Honolulu International Airport.
The commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board issued a ruling last week saying the NRC staff needs to consider alternate technology and sites in producing the assessment. The board’s decision said it expects the staff to give meaningful consideration to transportation accidents in preparing a final environmental assessment.
The ruling came after almost three years of discussion at the NRC, which has been considering Pa’ina Hawaii LLC’s request to build an irradiator that would use up to a million curries of cobalt-60 to treat local fruits such as papayas, vegetables and other items so they can be shipped to the Mainland insect-free.
CTAHR dean details impacts of ag. inspectors layoffs
Updated at 3:27 am, Thursday, August 20, 2009.
Andrew Hashimoto, dean and director of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, gave the following testimony to the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee about the potential impacts of laying off Department of Agriculture staff.
I am pleased to provide personal testimony relating to the potential impacts on the community and agricultural industry on the Big Island, arising from the anticipated reduction and possible elimination of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch. This testimony does not represent the position of the University of Hawaii or CTAHR.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has 329 “permanent” employees, of which 118 (approximately 36 percent) have received notices for layoff.
The Plant Quarantine (PQ) Branch will be especially hard hit. It has a total of 78 inspectors and 16 technicians (aides).
Of that, 50 inspectors and two technicians (all general funded) have been given notices. The remainder (11 inspectors and 14 technicians) are paid from special funds.
Most of the inspectors to be laid off will be from the neighbor islands. Information on the number of layoffs for each of the other HDOA branches is not known. The impact of the layoff in the PQ branch is discussed.