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.


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.


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


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. 


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.

Avocado activities abound this weekend on the Big Island’s Kona Coast – As Maui Dines by Carla Tracy

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

Tropical Gardening – Vitamins abound

Tropical Gardening — Vitamins abound
Sunday, January 15 2:10 am

Lucky we live Hawaii, but we can learn a lot from gardeners on other tropical islands. Right now, we are in the Dominican Republic working with farmers on a project sponsored by the Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas, or FAVACA.

Voltaire Moise, who is from Haiti, is working on the uses of edible crops while I work on some of the production problems. Like the folks in the Dominican Republic, we in Hawaii can grow almost anything. We have many climates, depending on elevation and whether you are on the rain-swept eastern side or the dryer leeward part of the island.

Below 2,000 feet we grow the tropicals and above we can grow the warm, temperate and even cool season crops. Tropical fruits are the favorite for most, since they are varied and unusual.

Many of these fruits are high in vitamins, minerals and energy.

So instead of popping vitamin pills every day, we should consider fruit. Those vitamin pills on your shelf, besides being pretty expensive items, are not nearly as palatable and eye appealing as fresh fruit — especially when it is grown in your own backyard.

Cold puts cloud over summer’s fruit crops

While Sydneysiders have been grumbling about the cold start to summer and constantly overcast days, farmers on the central and mid-north coast are also being affected by the gloomy skies, which they say has stunted summer fruit production.

“It’s hard to grow things without sunshine,” said chairman of the Central Coast Horticulture branch of the NSW Farmers Association, Timothy Kemp.

“The amount of consistent cloudy days we have had, especially during flowering, has had a huge impact – it is no good for summer fruit, particularly stone fruit and avocado.”
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He estimates “at least” a 50 per cent downturn in produce from the region.

“The production of nectarines and peaches has slowed right down, and the stone fruit season is staring to wind up so it’s too late for the sun to come out now.”

Robyn and Henry Willner have grown and sold avocados at Bobs Farm at Port Stephen’s for about 10 years, but said they could not remember a season this overcast and wet.

“We’re bracing ourselves for a decline in fruit production next season,” Mrs Willner said.

“Because there is no sun, the bees haven’t been coming out to pollinate the blossoms on our trees.

“Next year, we’ll see the impact of what the cold and wet weather has really done to us.”

Adding to the farmers’ woes is that people have been slow to buy the fruit that is available, Mr Kemp said.

“People aren’t eating it, no one wants to eat fruit when it is cool,” he said.

Food sustainability: a Kona-vore’s dilemma

by Diana Duff
Special To West Hawaii Today

Those of us in attendance at the November Kona Town Meeting on food sustainability were not surprised to see Ken Love as one of the speakers. A vigilant supporter of “buying local” and a long-time champion of growing exotic fruit for local consumption, his low blood pressure was obviously raised as he talked about the charade he finds in some local stores. Sellers anxious to join the “buy local” campaign are sometimes stretching the limits and confusing consumers who really want to eat food grown as close to home as possible.

Ken’s main prop was a box of “Hawaii Ginger” with “Produce of China” in smaller type on the same box. “So, is this local produce?” he asked. A resounding “no” echoed through the Makaeo Events Pavilion.

Ken advised those present to look for the COOL, or Country of Origin Label, stickers on produce. These can help you choose fruit and vegetables grown in locations that match your buying preferences. If you don’t see the stickers, ask for them.

Research shows that consumers often prefer locally grown produce, but they can be confused if produce is labeled incorrectly or not at all. Shoppers looking for local products are often deceived by misleading signage. Locally grown crops need to be marked clearly and correctly. “Hawaii Grown” stickers could really help.

Establishing a foundation for avocado self-sufficiency – The Maui News


Hawaii is a net importer of avocados, although the trees grow luxuriantly in many of our islands’ microclimates. In season, the Saturday farmers market at Eddie Tam in Makawao presents many varieties, from big, fat, light green and smooth to small, dark and nubbly.

Now the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Association and the Kona Kohala Chefs Association are uniting to establish a foundation for self-sufficiency in the fruit.

"We’re looking for a few great avocados from seedlings and unknown grafted trees to be evaluated by horticulturists and chefs," said Ken Love, HTFG executive director. "Chosen fruit will be propagated and planted at the UH experiment station in Kainaliu (on the Big Island) and protected so future generations will have access to it."

The bees and the trees (and tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, mac nuts…) | Hawaii 24/7

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.

Calavo Growers to Present at Canaccord Adams ‘Healthy Living’ Investment Conference – Yahoo! Finance

Updated Investor Presentation Posted on Company Web Site

SANTA PAULA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Calavo Growers, Inc. (Nasdaq:CVGW-News), a global leader in avocado marketing and an expanding provider of other fresh perishable produce items, today announced that will be among 24 presenting companies at the Canaccord Adams Healthy Living Investment Conference on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009, in Boston. Michael Lippold, Director of Strategic Development, will make a company presentation.

The company also disclosed that an updated investor presentation was posted on its web site, which will be used at the Canaccord and other impending financial community meetings. The presentation is available at under the "Investor Relations" section.[Calavo_investor_presentation]

About Calavo Growers, Inc.

Calavo Growers, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the procurement and marketing of fresh avocados and other perishable foods, as well as the manufacturing and distribution of processed avocado products. Founded in 1924, Calavo’s expertise in marketing and distributing avocados, processed avocados, and other perishable products enables it to serve food distributors, produce wholesalers, supermarkets and restaurants on a global basis.

Calavo says 3Q profit jumps on higher sales – Yahoo! Finance


SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) — Avocado distributor Calavo Growers Inc. said Thursday its third-quarter profit jumped 77 percent as sales rose by a double-digit percentage and gross margins improved.

The Santa Paula, Calif.-based company earned $2.5 million, or 17 cents per share, in the three months that ended July 31, up from $1.4 million, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $106.3 million from $96.9 million.

Calavo said its total gross margin as a percentage of net sales rose to 9.3 percent from 7.9 percent a year ago.

Its shares rose 83 cents, or 4.8 percent, to $18.02 in morning trading Thursday.

Calavo says 3Q profit jumps on higher sales – Yahoo! Finance