Six Libraries to Receive Donation from Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

The statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) is donating “The World of Bananas in Hawai‘i: Then and Now” to six libraries on the four major Hawaiian islands, including the Kealakekua Branch in Kona and the downtown Hilo Branch. HTFG is also contributing “Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands” by Holualoa resident and HTFG member Craig Elevitch of Agroforestry Net, Inc. to the Kealakekua and Hilo libraries. Both books were recently published.

The banana-themed book retails for $80 and is by HTFG members and Maui residents Dr. Angela Kepler and Francis Rust. Boasting 1,900 illustrations, “The World of Bananas in Hawai‘i” contains pictorial descriptions for 140 living varieties and 22 kinship groups, plus illustrated keys separating similar cultivars.

The 612-page book also has information on pesticide-free care and maintenance, nutritional deficiencies, and troubleshooting pests and diseases. The comprehensive resource is the result of 30 years of Pacific-wide research and published by Pali-O-Waipio Press.

“It is the first book about bananas in Hawaii chock full of original research. It traces the banana evolution around the Pacific,” explains Ken Love, HTFG president. “It is a banana bible.”

Love adds the resource covers every banana in Hawaii, plus Polynesian and international varieties, including ornamentals and fei.

Published by Agroforestry Resources, “Specialty Crops” contains chapters on growing and marketing 26 existing and potential crops, including mangosteen, lychee, bananas, plantains, coconuts, black pepper, breadfruit, chili peppers, taro, ginger, moringa, tamanu, sweet potato, macadamia nut, root (tuber) vegetables, cacao, kava, coffee, tea, vanilla, pumpkins and squashes, timber trees, bamboo, macadamia nuts and honey.

Illustrated with nearly 950 photos, the 570-page book features short bios of local food producers and farmers in a section called “Example Successes.” It emphasizes sustainable growing methods and the native island custom of polyculture. The book retails for $75.

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