We were poking around upcountry Maui and driving its narrow, twisting roads, but by midafternoon we had to turn around. We had an important date at a lower elevation.
Forget meeting friends for mai-tais or heading to Lahaina for the sunset. We were going to herd the animals at Surfing Goat Dairy.
Herding anything may be the last activity one considers for a Maui vacation. But the dairy is one of several island farms that have opened for public tours over the last few years. They offer the chance to explore the island’s back roads, meet the growers and learn something about the exotic fruits, vegetables and cheeses you’ll encounter and enjoy on Maui.
“It’s a growing national trend,” says Maui resident Charlene Kauhane, a board member of the Hawaii Agri-Tourism Association. “Visitors are looking for authentic experiences, for opportunities where they can meet locals and buy local.”
And sometimes, you just want a break from the beach. So let’s go down on the farm on Maui.
Alii Kula Lavender Farm
Even before you arrive, you’ll detect Alii Kula Lavender Farm from the lovely fragrance wafting over Upcountry. It comes from 45 lavender varieties planted over 10 acres in Haleakala’s foothills. You can meander over paths on your own, or join one of the walking tours. You’ll learn about lavender’s culinary uses and healthful benefits, as well as the farm’s dedication to practicing agriculture in a sustainable way.
Alii Lavender also offers workshops in wreath making and container gardens, and other special events.
Derek Lanter clearly remembers his first date with the “dark side.” In 2001 he was living in Berkeley, Calif., when Scharffen Berger, the company that reputedly makes America’s finest dark chocolate, was setting up its operation there. He and a friend decided to visit Scharffen Berger’s factory for a tour and tasting.
“Having worked with coffee as a buyer and roaster for Uncommon Grounds Coffee Co., I had experience processing coffee beans and evaluating the brew made from them, but that was the first time I saw cacao beans being roasted, ground and manufactured into chocolate,” Lanter recalled.
“Scharffen Berger was using beans from Colombia, Madagascar, Ecuador, Ghana and Indonesia. We learned about the equipment and process, and tasted chocolate at different stages and in different forms, from the roasted nib to pure cacao liquor; sweet milk chocolate; and semisweet, 62 percent; bittersweet, 70 percent; and extra-dark, 85 percent chocolate. It was such a mind-opening experience!”
Today, Lanter tastes chocolate nearly every day as the sales and marketing manager for Waialua Estate, a subsidiary of Dole Food Co. that grows 20 acres of cacao and 155 acres of coffee on Oahu’s North Shore. According to Lanter, chocolate made from locally grown cacao is being favorably compared with world-renowned brands such as Amano, Amedei, Guittard and Michel Cluizel.
KAILUA-KONA (AP) – After 14 years of serving the Big Island, financially strapped Japan Airlines has ended its flight between Tokyo and Kona International Airport.
Passengers arriving Friday on JAL Flight 70 from Narita International Airport were greeted with lei and live Hawaiian music, the Big Island Visitors Bureau said.
JAL offered the only direct international flight outside of North America to the Big Island, the bureau said. Since the inaugural Kona flight in June 1996, JAL has carried more than 980,000 visitors between Narita and Kona, it said.
”It is also a vital carrier of Big Island exports including macadamia nuts, papayas, coffee, spirulina, abalone and desalinated sea water to the Japanese market,” the bureau said in a news release.
”The JAL flight is without a doubt the most important international route for Hawaii island. The positive impact it has made on our economy for the last 14 years is highly significant, and we truly hope to welcome JAL back someday,”
Hilo, Hawaii — CHERIMOYA, calamansi, rainbow papaya. Puna ricotta, poha berries, lilikoi. Lava salsa, dinosaur kale, Hamakua mushrooms. This is the exotic-food litany on the lips of pilgrims who go to the Hilo Farmers Market, held twice a week on the lush eastern side of the Big Island.
Hawaii More Photos »
On a Saturday in mid-December I was in the greedy throng, caressing a cluster of longan, or “dragon eye” fruit; sampling a fresh, made-to-order green papaya salad; sidling up for a whiff of ripe, fragrant mango.
The Big Island, a k a Hawaii, is the biggest agricultural producer in the state. But its farming history is one of immigrant fruit — produce that is itself a pilgrim. Virtually everything that is grown in the Hawaiian islands today is an exotic, brought in from somewhere else by sailors, merchants and contract laborers; pineapple, long seen as Hawaii’s signature fruit, was introduced to the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1813 by Don Francisco de Paula y Marin, a Spanish adviser to King Kamehameha I.
On my December visit I set off in search of unusual agritourism experiences from a recent wave of Big Island farms. Though agricultural production has been geared largely toward industrial export and plantation-scale production over the last century and a half — entire crops of bananas, pineapple, macadamia nuts and sugar cane were shipped overseas, while almost everything else had to be flown in from the mainland — that mindset is shifting.
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.
By TOM STEVENS, For The Maui News
POSTED: September 30, 2009
Amid all the chatter and bluster of isle politics, there arise from time to time truly historic occasions. One of those is coming down on Maui next month.
On Oct. 15, the state Commission on Water Resource Management will hear closing arguments on the future of the Central Maui watershed. The 9 a.m. contested case proceeding should pack the Iao Congregational Church’s Konda Hall, so interested citizens will want to get there early. No public testimony will be taken.
To draw attention to this fateful session, a public "river walk" will be held this Friday afternoon from Iao Valley to Market Street in Wailuku. At the end of the walk, the Native Intelligence store will host water rights speakers during Wailuku’s "First Friday" festivities. Later the same day, commission staff members will travel to the Paia Community Center to seek public input from 5 to 9 p.m. on East Maui water issues.
The contested case proceeding takes as its prologue a startling "proposed decision" the commission’s hearings officer issued in April. At that time, Lawrence Miike recommended that the commission partially restore the historic flows of Central Maui’s famous "four waters" – the Waihee, Waiehu, Iao and Waikapu streams.
Written by Leilani Adriano / Correspondent
Monday, 28 September 2009 18:23
LAOAG CITY—Who says that macadamia nuts can only be grown in the state of Hawaii?
Not anymore, as interested Ilocos Norte farmers are now ready to cultivate a variety of macadamia nuts ideally grown in a tropical climate like in this province.
This was announced by Ilocos Norte Gov. Michael Keon on September 23 after company investors from Hawaii manifested interest in growing macadamia nuts in the province.
Based on scientific study, experts say Ilocos Norte’s rich soil and weather condition have been tested and proven “feasible” to cultivate macadamia nuts, a multimillion-dollar industry in Hawaii.
The proposed cultivation of macadamia nuts in the province, however, needs to be discussed further among Ilocano farmers and groups and individuals interested to venture into this newly introduced investment for the province.
The governor, who visited Hawaii together with some provincial board members, mayors and vice mayors two months ago, said it is a “good idea” to introduce the cultivation of macadamias in some idle lands of the province so that farmers, private business and the government could benefit from it.
This, however, does not mean that farmers would be shifting the traditional planting of cash crops like rice, corn, garlic, onions and other high-value crops, such as locally grown vegetables, but also to provide opportunity among farmers to try cultivating other alternative sources of income, like planting macadamias.
by Dan Vallada – FoodBizDaily.com Sao Paulo
The macadamia nut has been cultivated in Brazil for four decades. Researchers are trying to increase its productivity and resistance.
The commercial cultivation of macadamia nuts in Brazil is recent, started only 40 years ago and productivity is still low. The country, the seventh in world production (2,400 tonnes in 7 thousand hectares), has about 250 producers, 160 of them in the State of Sao Paulo. The biggest Brazilian harvest happened in 2006, with 3,500 tons. Therefore, technicians and researchers are joining forces to study its varieties, nutrition, genetic improvement and phytosanitary control.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The House Agriculture Committee will hold a second informational briefing on the impact of potential layoffs for agricultural inspectors. Tomorrow, Ag Chair Rep. Clift Tsuji will focus on Hawaii’s wide range of exports. You can see it live on Olelo, Ch. 49.
WHAT: The House Agriculture Committee will hold a meeting to gather information on the negative impact of potential agriculture inspector layoffs on Hawaii’s export industry, including plants, tropical flowers, tropical fruits/papaya, macadamia nuts, coffee, and more.
WHEN: Thursday, September 10, 2009
WHERE: State Capitol, Conference Room 325
Posted by Georgette at 11:12 AM