Harvesting and Processing Fresh Awa

Last week, my father-in-law Jerry Konanui and some of his friends, got together to harvest and process two Awa plants.  They started early in the morning out at Jerry’s friend Ed’s farm where Ed talked to them a bit about the plant and culture of growing it over six years.

Some plants in his yard

They then dug up the plants by being very careful not to cut into the roots of the plants.

After digging up the plants they hosed excess dirt and soil from the plant before taking it back to where it would be processed.

“Preliminary wash so we can see what needs to be done.” said Adil “Pono” Ghiasi

Once the root was transported back home…  dad busted out the power washer for the initial cleaning of the dirt off the surface of the roots and corm.

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Once the roots and corm get power washed, they are then meticulously hand cleaned.

Even my son got into it!

After it’s cleaned outside of the house, the roots are moved inside the house where they are then cleaned even more thoroughly.

After it has been thoroughly cleaned, it then gets chopped up into smaller pieces for the final quality control inspection as well as prepping for the high capacity grinder.

Primo and Dad have bionic arms!

The Awa is then put into large bags and then put into large freezers so that the root can freeze for a few days before grinding it.

Getting ready to put the Awa in the freezer

After freezing in the freezer for a few days, the awa is ready to be ground in high capacity grinder.

After it has been ground to a very smooth consistent texture the awa is removed from the grinder and ready for packaging.

It’s then weighed into one pound packages and flattened and sealed to get out any remaining air that may be in the package.

The frozen Awa remains very cold throughout the grinding, bagging and refreeze process… this is to prevent fermentation (souring).

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It’s very important to have space between the racks of Awa so that the freezer air can get an even circulation and that the packages all freeze at the same time.

Some folks often ask why the price of fresh frozen ground Awa is so high/expensive… well I can tell you that it’s due to the  hard work and lots of loving care that goes into it.

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The coconut shells used for drinking awa are called “apu” and the bowl is called a “tanoa”

Dad used to sell his Awa all over the State of Hawaii and at the time on the mainland too, but has now cut back to just helping to educate others on being able to provide for themselves and to have a little stock on hand for himself, his friends and family.

If you are interested in purchasing Awa, I recommend Adil “Pono” Ghiasi’s company “Paradise Kava” if you are interested in picking some up online.

“Last cups are poured and the tanoa is drained. And that is how kava is harvested, processed and enjoyed” says Adil Ghiasi

Dad would like to thank all those that have helped him with this Awa harvest and would like to especially thank Ed J. for providing the plants and the opportunity.

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