Taste of the Hawaiian Range Adds Extra Hour to Pig Out

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 26 and expanding to offer three hours of tasting from 5-8 p.m. The 19th annual agricultural festival that showcases the use of pasture-raised, local beef sprawls both inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Doesn't this look good?

Doesn’t this look good?

“We want our guests to be able to enjoy a more leisurely experience and so added an extra hour,” says Jeri Moniz, event chairperson.  “The additional time will also give attendees more time to talk story with our local food producers and enjoy the exhibits.”

Tickets for Taste are $45 through Thursday, Sept. 25 and $60 on event day. They will be sold online and at a dozen islandwide locations starting July 1. They will also be available at the door.

Thirty of the state’s top chefs have already confirmed their participation to prepare delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.

Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy all the cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—prepared expertly by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like sirloin tip and ribs, plus beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

While “tasting,” attendees can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at booths and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. They can also enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and healthy foods, including the University of Hawai’i’s Mealani Research Station.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411 no later than August 26.

Hawai’i residents can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package—details are being finalized. Phone 808-886-1234 or visit Hilton.com.

Puna Picks Breadfruit for Community Based Economic Development

On Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm the Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop will be held at Ho‘oulu Lāhui, the site of  Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School at Pū‘āla‘a, adjacent to the ‘Āhalanui County Park warm ponds in Puna. The workshop is $12 per person and advance registration online is required. The workshop will be followed by a luncheon featuring breadfruit prepared by Chef Casey Halpern from Café Pesto.

Auntie Shirley Kauhaihao of Ke‘ei, South Kona, will be demonstrating how to select and prepare ‘ulu fruit. (Photo by Craig Elevitch)

Auntie Shirley Kauhaihao of Ke‘ei, South Kona, will be demonstrating how to select and prepare ‘ulu fruit. (Photo by Craig Elevitch)

The half-day Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop will assist Hawai‘i’s breadfruit growers in supplying grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets with high quality breadfruit, and help chefs become more familiar with breadfruit handling and preparation in the kitchen.

Backyard growers and home users of breadfruit will also find the workshop pertinent to home and community use of breadfruit.

Topics and speakers include:  “Tree to Table”—harvesting techniques, tricks and tools, and postharvest handling, presented by Ian Cole, Collection Manager, Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden. “Beyond Sticky”—preparing breadfruit for use in a variety of dishes or for storage, presented by Shirley Kauhaihao, Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu.  “Cultural Perspective” —Breadfruit and the cultural importance in Hawai‘i, presented by mahi‘ai and educator Nick Kala Francisco. “Some Like It Sweet”—making dishes from ripe breadfruit, presented by John Cadman, Pono Pies. “Going To Market”—marketing and value added products, presented by Craig Elevitch, Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network and Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu project. Gourmet to Home Cooking—exploring favorite local recipes and new ways to cook with breadfruit, presented by Mariposa Blanco of Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School.

Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School is a Hawaiian values-based charter school that believes in creating economic opportunities for the community through the production of value-added products from breadfruit and other crops. ‘Ike ‘Āina—From the Seed to the Table is an agriculture and culinary arts program at the school that connects culture, agriculture and healthy eating. The Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop expands this mission further into the community, exposing the community to possible economic opportunities derived from the cultivation and preparation of breadfruit. During lunch, there will be a demonstration of how to make ‘ulu flour from breadfruit dried in the solar dehydrator. Breadfruit

Breadfruit—From Tree to Table is presented by Ho‘oulu Lāhui, Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School, and the Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu—Revitalizing Breadfruit project. The workshop is funded through a grant from the County of Hawai‘i, Department of Research and Development and with luncheon support from Café Pesto.

Advance registration is required. The workshop is $12 per person, and includes lunch.  To register please visit www.breadfruit.info or call 990-4243.

Albizia-Control Training Workshops in Puna

Invasive albizia trees pose imminent danger to homes, powerlines, emergency access routes, and native forests. As the fastest-growing tree in the world, its brittle branches and shallow roots make it an impending threat to public safety. As part of the “Albizia Demonstration Project,” the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) is providing community training workshops on albizia control on the second Saturday of April and May, in Black Sands, Puna.

Albizia

 

When:        Saturday, April 12th & May 10th, 8:30am-12:00pm

Where:       Meet at the Corner of Ocean View Parkway and Aloha Road, in Black Sands (map).

Directions from Highway 130: Turn right onto One Ele`ele Road. Take the first left onto Ocean View Parkway. Park on the side of the road near the BIISC tent at the corner of Ocean View Parkway and Aloha Rd (12 minutes from Pahoa Town).

What:         Participants will learn how to estimate tree height and the “Incision Point Application” control method, developed by the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Forest Service. Through hands-on training, volunteers will apply their skills to trees endangering the Keauohana Forest, roads, homes and power lines in Black Sands Subdivision.

Who:          Anyone interested in learning about Albizia control. Volunteers under 18 years old must have parental consent.

Sign-up:     Space is limited, please sign-up by emailing biisc@hawaii.edu your name and phone number by Wednesday, April 9th (for April workshop) and Wednesday, May 7th (for May).

What you should bring:

Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy shoes, pants, a long-sleeved shirt, hat, bug repellent, and sunscreen. Gloves, hatchets, herbicide, safety gear, hand-washing stations, and refreshments will be provided.

Why in Black Sands?

BIISC identified the Black Sands area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods. The 500-acre “Albizia Demonstration Project” area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland Keauohana forest.

Why use herbicide?

The “Incision Point Application” control method has proven most effective and efficient at killing non-hazard albizia trees in natural areas (at least 100 ft. away from homes or roads). This method involves making one angled cut every 6-10’’ around the tree trunk, then carefully applying 0.5-1mL (10-20 drops) of Milestone Specialty Herbicide into each cut. The herbicide is then taken into the tree’s circulatory system, killing the tree. The tree will drop its leaves within two weeks and crumble over the next two years. This method does not disturb the surrounding foliage, allowing a natural shield from more albizia seeds taking root. More information about Milestone and how to ensure environmental and human safety will be available at the training workshops.

What is BIISC?

The Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC) is a voluntary partnership of private citizens, community organizations, businesses, and government agencies working to address invasive species issues on the island of Hawaii. The mission of BIISC is to prevent, detect, and control the spread of the highest risk invasive species threats to the Big Island environment, economy, and way of life. BIISC’s guiding principle is to serve the land and people of Hawaii. BIISC is a project of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii.  Projects are funded by a combination of public and private service contracts and competitive grants.

Got Guac?

The free, eighth annual Hawai‘i Avocado Festival is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 5 on the Bayfront lawn of the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa.

Got Guac?

Got Guac? Photo by Sonia Martinez

Catering to families, the event has something for everyone: non-stop entertainment, culinary and agricultural activities, plus keiki fun.

Enjoy a farmer’s market; arts and crafts booths and tasty-avocado themed cuisine prepared by food vendors and Sheraton’s culinary team. This year’s festival art is by Kona artist Jan Salerno and available on posters and organic cotton t-shirts.

An updated lineup for the entertainment stage is opening pule by Kumu Danny Akaka and hula at 10 a.m., Aunt Irma’s Kahikina Nahe Nahe at 11 a.m., Bolo at noon, Manuel and Bernice at 1 p.m. and eco-chic vegan fashion show by Gentle Aloha Feast at 2 p.m. Students of the youth mentoring group Incense will model designs by Huluwuwu, Lulie’s and Nohea Hawaii to the music of hip hop artist Pana. Live entertainment continues until 5 p.m.

Learn how to graft avocados at 11 a.m. and hear a panel discussion on “Keeping the Culture in Agriculture” at noon. Get the scoop all day on different avocado varieties at an informative display by the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.

A 2-4 p.m. composting workshop focuses on basic backyard techniques and working with worms. Those who finish the workshop will get a free composting bin.

The avocado recipe contest offers competition in appetizers, entrees, desserts and vegan. Judging is 10 a.m. with public tasting at noon and announcement of winners at 1 p.m. First place winners will receive prizes from Island Naturals and Kealakekua Ranch Center. Entry form, rules and instructions can be found at www.avocadofestival.org or phone 963-6860.

Hands-on fun for families includes games for keiki, free avocado and vegan products sampling and visits with Recycle Hawai’i’s live mascot, Recycle Dog. In addition, 200 healthy, raw treats will be served to attending keiki as part of the local Feed the Children project. Keiki and adults can also paint silk banners “to banish childhood hunger.”

For festival updates, visit Big Island Avocado Festivals on Facebook, contact Randyl Rupar at 936-5233 or visit www.avocadofestival.org.

Hawaii Avocado and Mango Festivals are sponsored by Sanctuary of Mana Kea Gardens, Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers-West Hawaii and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Avocado Festival Coming Up – New Vegan Category Added to Cooking Contest

Celebrating the versatile fruit that’s high in healthy, monounsaturated fat, the eighth annual Hawai‘i Avocado Festival is Saturday, April 5 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa. The Zero-Waste event is 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on the Bayfront Lawn.

Avocado recipe at the Avocado Festival. Photo by Randy Magnus

Avocado recipe at the Avocado Festival. Photo by Randy Magnus

The free fun offers two stages headlining entertainment, culinary and agricultural activities. The festival opens with a Hawaiian pule and hula at 10 a.m.

Enjoy a farmer’s market, arts and crafts booths and a University of Hawai‘i (UH) nutrition display. Food vendors and the Sheraton’s culinary team will offer tasty, avocado-themed cuisine.

Hands-on fun for families includes games for keiki, free avocado and vegan products sampling and visits with Recycle Hawai’i’s live mascot, Recycle Dog. In addition, 200 healthy, raw treats will be served to attending keiki as part of the local Feed the Children project. Keiki and adults can also participate in painting silk banners “to banish childhood hunger” as a prelude to the Project Hawai‘i Summer Edu-Camp that will be offered free to children in need.

The lineup for the entertainment stage is Aunt Irma’s Kahikina Nahe Nahe at 11 a.m., Bolo at noon, Manuel and Bernice at 1 p.m. and eco-fashion show at 2 p.m. Live entertainment continues until 5 p.m.

A native of Central America, the avocado is classified in the same plant family as cinnamon, Lauraceae. Ty McDonald, of the Kona Extension Office of the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, will lead a session on grafting avocados at 11 a.m. The panel discussion, “Keeping the Culture in Agriculture” returns at noon featuring local leaders concerned with agriculture and nutrition.

A 2-4 p.m. composting workshop focuses on basic backyard techniques and working with worms. Those who finish the workshop will get a free composting bin. Get the scoop on different avocado varieties at an informative display by the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.

Cookbook author and freelance food writer Sonia R. Martinez heads the avocado recipe contest with judging at 10 a.m., public tasting at noon and announcement of winners at 1 p.m. First place winners will receive prizes from Island Naturals and Kealakekua Ranch Center.

The cooking contest is free and debuts a new vegan category that includes vegan appetizers, entrees and desserts. In addition, competition is in three other categories: appetizers, including guacamole; entréesmain dish, soups and salads—and desserts.

“Recipes will be judged on taste, appearance/presentation of dish, originality of recipe and best use of avocado,” shared Martinez. Entry form, rules and instructions can be found at www.avocadofestival.org. Contact Martinez at 963-6860 with contest questions.

For festival updates, visit Big Island Avocado Festivals on Facebook, contact Randyl Rupar at 936-5233 or visit www.avocadofestival.org.

Hawaii Avocado and Mango Festivals are sponsored by Sanctuary of Mana Kea Gardens, Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers-West Hawai’i and Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Kona Residents Win American Culinary Federation Western Regional Awards

Kona residents Jean Hull and Ken Love were recently recognized by The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Western Region at the ACF conference in Oakland, Calif. Both are members of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Association.

Ken Love and Jean Hull

Ken Love and Jean Hull

Jean Hull, CCE, AAC of Hospitality Consulting by Jean received the President’s Medallion, which is awarded to members who exemplify culinary excellence and leadership and have contributed their expertise to the advancement of the culinary profession. The Kailua-Kona resident is a long-time champion of culinary arts on the Big Island, serving as Associate Professor of Culinary Arts at HawCC-West Hawaii for over 14 years.

Hull spearheads annual Kona Kohala Chefs fundraisers and programs, including the award-winning Chef and Child initiative that teaches West Hawaii second graders how to make nutritious food choices. She has been the driving force behind the continuing Equip the Kitchens campaign for the future Hawaii Community College (HawCC)-Palamanui campus.

Ken Love, executive director of Master Food Preservers and the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, received the Cutting Edge Award, which taps members who provide exemplarily leadership and service to the culinary profession.

The Captain Cook resident is a long-time, outspoken advocate for the use of locally grown food. He serves as an ongoing educational resource for farmers to create value added products and in 2012-13 spearheaded a statewide exotic fruit series in 16 locations to teach grocers, chefs and consumers the benefits of 11 little-used fruits. His educational outreach went global after appearing in the 2012 feature documentary film, “The Fruit Hunters.”

In addition to Hawaii, regional winners hailed from the West Coast, Arizona, Nevada and the Philippines. The ACF Western Region has 29 chapters and named five Cutting Edge and six President’s Medallions recipients this year. The ACF is the industry leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and accreditation to enhance the professional growth of all chefs.

American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association

ACF is the largest, professional, non-profit organization for chefs and cooks in the nation. Founded in 1980, the Kona Kohala chapter is comprised of food service professionals, vendors, growers and culinary enthusiasts. Membership is open and the group meets the first week of the month during lunch at changing restaurants.  www.konakohalachefs.org.

 

Paniolo Cattle Company Formed by Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative

Following a successful grass-fed beef trial on Hawaii Island, Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative announced the launch of the Paniolo Cattle Company, a joint venture aimed at statewide local beef production. The pasture-to-table enterprise taps into a growing demand for high-quality, affordable, locally raised beef.

Parker Cows

Paniolo Cattle Company will begin with 1,400 head of cattle to be raised at Parker Ranch on Hawaii Island.  This represents the largest commitment of grass-fed beef by a single ranch in the state and will increase the supply of grass-fed steers to the market by nearly 35 percent.

Parker Ranch provides calves and cattle management expertise for the joint venture and Ulupono Initiative contributes the intellectual capital to develop best practices for profitability and sustainable agricultural methods.  Both entities have financial interest and will handle the commercial aspects of the business.  Parker Ranch, headquartered in Waimea on Hawaii Island, is Hawaii’s largest cattle operation, and the state’s second largest landowner.

Ranching profitability has long been impacted by fluctuating costs of oil and corn.  The price of cattle over the last decade has increased about 57 percent, while the price of feed has increased 129 percent, causing conventional ranching returns to suffer.  Paniolo Cattle Company seeks to reduce costs substantially by animal husbandry based on sound pasture management.

“This joint venture is about trying to level the cost of beef, creating an at-home thriving cattle industry that is energy-efficient and protects us against volatility in fuel and feed costs,” said Dutch Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch. “Restaurants, food markets and consumers want quality and consistency in beef, at reasonable prices.”

The goal is to create a more robust local beef supply chain and ensure that a quality, consistent product is available to all Hawaii consumers, not just the high-end market.  In the pre-commercial trial on Hawaii Island, conducted from September 2012 to May 2013, 80 percent of the beef was graded “choice.”

Market research conducted by Ulupono indicated that Oahu consumers would make the shift to local beef if the quality was consistent and prices were reasonable.  Ulupono has been exploring the grass-fed beef model for nearly four years.
“We view this as an equal partnership of capital and capabilities based on shared values, mutual respect, and a commitment to the future of ranching in Hawaii,” said Kyle Datta, general partner of Ulupono Initiative.  Ulupono Initiative is an impact investment firm focused on Hawaii operations that promote a self-reliant community.
Paniolo Cattle Company plans to expand statewide and has begun talks with ranchers on Oahu, Maui and Kauai to broaden the program’s reach and benefit Hawaii ranchers, processors, and consumers in every county.  The pace of expansion will be based on the market demand.

Kuyper and Datta said meetings with Gov. Neil Abercrombie and cattle ranchers were the catalyst behind pursuing a value-based brand that increases the sustainability of Hawaii’s food supply and reduces the headwinds facing the local ranching industry.  “The State understands the food security issues. We’ve gotten a lot of support and guidance from Scott Enright, State Department of Agriculture board chair,” said Datta.

Paniolo Cattle Company will be involved in the full cycle of beef production, from grazing and finishing to working with processors and distribution.

In the initial grass-fed stage, cattle are free to roam and graze pasture until they reach about 800 pounds. The finishing stage requires active management to assure consistent nutrition to grow to 1,150 pounds, which produces high-quality meat that has the tenderness consumers seek.  Paniolo Cattle Company will operate irrigated finishing forage pastures and employ rotational pasture techniques to achieve consistency and quality, an approach not widely practiced in Hawaii.

“Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative both share the core value of caring about our aina and we’re committed to finding solutions that allow us to be here for the long-term providing affordable, high quality food for our community,” said Datta.  “The rotational grazing approach is a regenerative agricultural method that will improve soil health and increase pasture fertility.  Converting pasture to higher yield grasses, and reinvesting in our natural capital will pay dividends for years to come.”

Third Annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Names Winners

Over 40 professional, amateur and high school contestants vied in the third annual Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest March 16 at the Sheraton Keauhou Convention Center. Proceeds benefit the $150,000 Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai’i Community College-Palamanui campus and the Kealii Pauahi Foundation.

Poke in Cup

New to this year’s contest was a category for using Hamakua Mushrooms and a fun Poke Throw Down. The Throw Down pitted winner Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s preparing a quick poke in competition with Bryan Fujikawa of Sun Dried Specialties.

Poke Wontons

Florist Barbara Meheula won the Celebrity Poke Contest, besting pro football player Max Unger, Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond.

Kila Pablo Tripe Poke

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Kamehameha School’s annual Kamehameha III celebration that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli.

The contest is sponsored by presenting sponsor Kamehameha Schools, plus Aloha Shoyu Company, Suisan Company Ltd., Hawaiian Springs, Hamakua Mushrooms, West Hawaii Today, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fresh Island Fish, Coca Cola, BMW of Hawaii, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Roberts Hawaii, Bacardi, Sun Dried Specialties, Kapa Radio and Young’s Market Co.

2014 Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Winners

Professional Division

Category: Traditional Poke:

  • 1st Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s
  • 2nd Wade Tamura of Facebook
  • 3rd Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth

Category: Cooked

  • 1st Peter Kaluna of UH Dining Services
  • 2nd George Gomes of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth
  • 2nd Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s

Category: Non-Seafood

  • 1st Paul Muranaka of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
  • 2nd Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s

New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms

  • 1st George Gomes of King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel
  • 2nd Troy Cataraha of Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai
  • 3rd Robin Ganir of Broke Da Mouth

Non-Professional Division

Category: Traditional Poke

  • 1st Ryan Koyanagi
  • 2nd Chuck Okazaki
  • 3rd Pono Bintliff

Category: Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st Keauhou Canoe Club Boys #1
  • 2nd Shane Lee
  • 3rd Cal Haena

Category: Non-Seafood

  • 1st Punana Leo Team #2

New Category: Poke with Hamakua Mushrooms

  • 1st Tori Koyanagi

Division: High School

Category-Traditional: 1st Konawaena #304

Category-Cooked: 1st Kealakehe #302

Category-Poke with Aloha Shoyu

  • 1st: Kealakehe #301
  • 1st Runner Up: Konawaena #305
  • 2nd Runner Up: Konawaena #303

Poke Throw Down

  • 1st Nakoa Pabre of Umeke’s
  • 2nd Bryan Fujikawa of Sundried Specialties

Celebrity Poke Contest

  • Winner: Barbara Meheula, florist

Contestants: Pro football player Max Unger, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, West Hawaii Today Publisher Tracey Fosso, Miss Kona Coffee 2014 Jeanne Kapela and Facebook Chef Billy Desmond

UH Hilo Students Awarded Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong Scholarship

Three students at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo were awarded the Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong Scholarship at the third annual Bee-coming Sustainable event sponsored by the Adopt-A-Beehive with Alan Wong program held on March 8 at the UH Hilo Farm Laboratory in Panaewa.

Māpuhonehone, the bee friendly garden, is at the UH Hilo farm in Panaʻewa, Hawaiʻi.

Māpuhonehone, the bee friendly garden, is at the UH Hilo farm in Panaʻewa, Hawaiʻi.

The program is a collaborative partnership with Chef Wong and UH Hilo to bring greater awareness to the importance of honey bees and support the educational beekeeping activities at UH Hilo.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Stephen Zilch, Kawehi Lopez and Kirsti Vedenoja. Chancellor Don Straney and Marketing Director for Alan Wongs, Nicole Ng, presented the recipients with a check for $1,000 each.

The event also showcased the advanced beekeeping students who presented walking tours through Mapuhonehone, the bee garden, van tours to the apiaries, educational demonstrations and displays of honey extraction, honey sampling, frames, and a live observation hive. In addition, Chef Wong’s staff treated adopters to food samplings made with honey, such as pizza, pulled pork sliders, ice cream and salad dressing with Hawaiʻi Community College-grown greens.

To learn more about the program, visit: http://hilo.hawaii.edu/adoptabeehive/.

Hawai‘i County Fights Fire Ants at Hilo Beach Park

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation will close Hilo’s Richardson Ocean Park, weather permitting, at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, so maintenance personnel may apply a second round of baiting treatments designed to combat fire ant infestations. The park will reopen at 7 a.m. the following morning. Signs will be posted starting Monday, March 24, to inform park patrons of the temporary shutdown.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

The Department of Parks and Recreation has partnered with the University of Hawai‘i to establish an effective strategy for reducing fire ant colonies at Hawai‘i County parks. Fire ant populations at Richardson Ocean Park decreased by more than 50 percent following the placement of nontoxic baited vials at the park in mid-January.

The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for any inconvenience the short closure may cause.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Hawaii Community College Student Named New Century Scholar

Hawaiʻi Community College student Edward Bufil has been named the 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar for the state of Hawaiʻi. Bufil was one of 51 community college students from the United States, Canada and American Samoa to receive the award from a pool of more than 1,700 nominees.

Edward Bufil

Edward Bufil

Each New Century Scholar will receive a $2,000 scholarship and be honored at the American Association of College Presidents Convention in Washington, D.C.

Bufil is a student in Hawaiʻi CC’s Tropical Forest Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management (Forest TEAM) program and is vice president of the Forest TEAM Club.

He has participated in many service-learning projects related to conservation and reforestation, including planting native species in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge. As a student employee with the U.S. Forest Service, he also assisted with research on biological control of invasive species.

Bufil, who aspires to be a park ranger, plans to graduate from Hawaiʻi CC in May with his associate in science from the Forest TEAM program as well as an environmental studies academic subject certificate and will continue his education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

 

Governor Names Jessica Wooley as Director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced that subject to her confirmation by the state Senate, he has appointed Jessica Wooley to serve as the state’s Director of Environmental Control. In addition to serving as the head of the Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC), Wooley will serve the Governor in an advisory capacity on all matters relating to environmental quality control.

Jessica Wooley

Jessica Wooley

“Jessica is knowledgeable and experienced in issues pertaining to the environment, water resources, agriculture and land use,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Her legal and public service background will be a great asset in protecting Hawaii’s fragile environment. Her energy and commitment to the issues involved with the OEQC is a big plus for Hawaii.”

“Today I am announcing that, if confirmed, I will be leaving the Hawaii State Legislature to work as the OEQC Director,” Jessica Wooley said. “As a public servant, I see this as a tremendous opportunity to have a greater impact. I will be honored to work with the Governor and his administration as we continually work to make sure our environment is resilient and able to support the public interest and all of Hawaii’s policy goals. We must always keep in mind that our very economy, our health and our safety depend on our ability to care for our environmental resources.”

Elected in 2008, Wooley currently represents District 48 (Kahaluu-Ahuimanu-Kaneohe) in the state House, serving as chair of the Agriculture Committee. Previously, she was an attorney at Legal Aid, an economist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Deputy Attorney General under Governors Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle.

Wooley earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, along with a master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics and a Juris Doctor from the University of California Berkeley.

Big Island Chocolate Fest Seeks Culinary Participants

Organizers of the third Big Island Chocolate Festival are looking for culinary participants to share sweet and savory tastes at the event’s gala on Saturday, May 3 at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i. Last year’s event sold out and 500-plus attendees are expected this year.

Big Island Chocolate FestivalParticipating chefs, chocolatiers and confectioners can also enter the free culinary competition, vying in a variety of judged categories, plus people’s choice. “Mr. Chocolate” Jacques Torrres, Food Network celebrity from New York City, will lead the team of celebrity judges. Other celebrity chocolatiers participating in the festival include Vincent Bourdin of Valrhona Chocolates Asia-Pacific and Donald Wressell of Guittard.

The two-day chocolate decadence opens Friday, May 2 with farm/factory tours at the Kona Soap Company in Keauhou and a culinary competition between students from Hawai’i, Maui and O’ahu. Public culinary and agriculture-themed, hands-on seminars and demonstrations are Saturday at The Fairmont Orchid. Fun culminates 6-10 p.m. May 3 with the festival gala in the Fairmont’s Grand Ballroom.

Chocolate Festival

Also on tap will be fine wines and handcrafted ales, chocolate sculptures, live entertainment, dancing and a silent auction. Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the $150,000 “Equip the Kitchens” campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and efforts to build a community amphitheatre at the Waldorf-inspired Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Culinarians interested in participating can signup at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Pre-sale tickets are $75 and will be $100 at the door. New this year is the VIP Fast Wine Pass with early event admission and personalized wine service. Buy tickets and find event details online at www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. Questions? Phone 808-324-6100.

Chocolate Fest

Also available is an inclusive Chocolate Lovers package that includes a two-night’s stay at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, plus all festival activities at the ocean-side Four Diamond resort; contact info@BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Attendees who want to stay at the resort during the festival can get a discounted room rate of $269 per night including daily breakfast for two and can book direct with the hotel at 808-885-2000 or 800-845-9905 and mention “Big Island Chocolate Festival.”

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com.

Mayor Kenoi on the GMO Issue

Big Island Mayor Kenoi is quoted as saying the following about the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) lawsuits that are currently floating around the state in Hawaii Business Magazine:

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

Mayor Kenoi at the APEC Conference

“GMO has been very important and beneficial to our cut-flower, orchid, anthurium and nursery industry. The science research has been cutting-edge and we’ve seen a lot of innovation and creativity, and certainly in our papaya industry, the importance of research is well-known for maintaining, growing and protecting its viability.

I still don’t believe GMO is the issue facing agriculture – it’s water and access to land and how we can grow our next generation of farmers. GMO has taken a lot of energy and emphasis away from more important issues like these. Another important issue is access to markets, making it easier for farmers to overcome regulatory hurdles, reducing our dependence on imported food and providing real food security.

My message to the Council and the community is…”

You can read the rest of his message and other mayor’s thoughts on the issue here: “Talk Story with Neighbor Island Mayors”

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United Response to John Doe vs. County of Hawaii GMO Lawsuit

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United is aware of the legal action  “John Doe vs. County of Hawaii” filed in State Superior Court against the County of Hawaii…

Farmers and Ranchers UnitedWe “STRONGLY SUPPORT and Stand United with our fellow Farmers in this suit. Brought by Farmers who are frightened by the potential implications of complying with these unjustified and intrusive requirements – specifically, harassment of their family and employees and vandalism of their operations by anti-technology activists.

In John Doe vs. County of Hawaii, the complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from implementing the registration and disclosure provisions of “Hawaii Bill 113.”

Due to the immediacy of the registration deadline, this complaint seeks relief only in connection with the registration and disclosure requirements of Bill 113, even though the entirety of Bill 113 is legally invalid because it stands in direct conflict with numerous federal and state laws.

Signed into law on December 5, 2013, the County enacted Bill 113, which imposes a county-wide ban on the development, propagation, cultivation, and open-air testing of most GE crops.

The registration and disclosure requirements of Bill 113 unfairly target growers of genetically engineered crops, primarily papaya growers, by forcing them to disclose personal and commercially confidential information about themselves and their operations without any scientific or factual justification:

Without any assurances that the County can or will protect the registration information from public disclosure as allowed under Bill 113, these farmers and growers have good reason to believe that providing this information could result in real harm – including the vandalizing of their crops or intimidation or harassment of their family and/or employees.  Unfortunately, in recent years, anti-genetically engineered or anti-GMO agriculture political activism in Hawaiʻi (and throughout the United States) has crossed the line from a spirited debate to extremism, vandalism, and violence.

The lawsuit alleges that the disclosure provision of Bill 113 is in direct conflict with two State laws – the Uniform Information Practices Act and the Uniform Trade Secrets Act – and violates Plaintiff’s rights to privacy and due process under the Constitution of Hawaii.

Accordingly, it asks the court to enjoin or suspend the registration process until the court ultimately determines the lawfulness of the disclosure provision and how this information will be treated under state law.

Hawaii Joins National Invasive Species Awareness Week

The State of Hawaii will participate in National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). Gov. Neil Abercrombie will kick off the 2nd annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) with a proclamation on March 3 at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Gov. Abercrombie has made invasive species an administration priority by supporting his cabinet to work across departments as members of the HISC and endorsing 2014 legislative initiatives proposing up to $5 million to meet operating costs of Invasive Species Programs.

“Protecting our islands from the threat of invasive species remains a top priority,” Gov. Abercrombie said in this year’s State of the State address. “We are experiencing a biological crisis involving a multitude of invaders ranging from the little fire ant and coconut rhinoceros beetle, which can harm our animals and trees, to parasites attacking coffee crops. Each represents a deadly threat to our isolated ecosystem, natural resources, and economy, and I ask for the public’s engagement in addressing this menace.”

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), the interagency board created by the Legislature to provide cabinet-level direction on invasive species issues, is coordinating a series of events and activities, open to the public, in recognition of Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week in partnership with the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, county-based Invasive Species Committees, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Biodiversity Information Network, and The Nature Conservancy.

HISAW Kickoff at the Capitol, March 3, 9 a.m. – noon, Capitol Auditorium

  • Governor’s Proclamation: The public is invited to join Governor Abercrombie in commencing Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. HISC Co-Chairs, Scott Enright (Hawaii Department of Agriculture) and William J. Aila, Jr. (Department of Land and Natural Resources) will also offer opening remarks.
  • HISC Awards Ceremony: The HISC will honor individuals, agencies, organizations, and businesses that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. Members of the Legislature will present the awards in the categories of Hottest Hotline Report, Business Leader, Community Hero, County MVP’s, and Greatest Hit of 2013. See full list of winners and honorable mentions at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/
  • Participation and Information Booths: presented by Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources and Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Department of Agriculture, Malama Maunaloa, Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership, Oahu Army Natural Resource Program, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, University of Hawaii, and more.
  • Be a Beetle Buster & Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees: March 3 kick-off

People across the state can easily participate in HISAW online by joining this special “mission” to survey all coconut trees in Hawaii for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. The public is invited to take photos of the crowns of coconut trees and post them to the “Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees” mission on the Project Noah website or via mobile app. The photos will be reviewed by the Beetle Buster Team from the University of Hawaii Natural Resources and Environmental Management class to assess the presence or absence of this pest across the state. Adult rhino beetles bore into the crowns of coconut trees to drink the sap, leaving distinctive v-shaped cuts in the leaves when the fronds grow out. They could kill half the coconut trees in the state, if they aren’t detected and eradicated. The Beetle Buster Team will flag photos that show suspected beetle damage for follow up surveys. The project will go live on Monday, March 3. For more information and instructions on how to participate, go to: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

Volunteer Events: Occurring statewide from March 3 to 9
Visit the Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/ for a full list of volunteer activities across the state. Opportunities include:

  • Helping clear invasive weeds along the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kokee (March 5)
  • Learning about invasive species issues in Hawaii at the Paintballs and Digital Mapping Talk Story, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge (March 7)
  • Removing invasive species at Lyon Arboretum (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds on the offshore islet of Mokuauia (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds in the Koolau Mountains (March 9)
  • Helping to restore Mauna Kea (throughout March)

To learn more about NISAW, visit www.nisaw.org. To learn more about the local-level HISAW, visit http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) is a cabinet-level interagency collaboration mandated by Chapter 194, Hawaii Revised Statutes. It is co-chaired by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture with additional voting members from the Departments of Health, Transportation, and Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and the University of Hawaii. The HISC approves an annual budget to support invasive species prevention, control, and public outreach projects across the state. www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org

New Mushroom Category at Sam Choy’s Poke Contest

Fun is mushrooming at the third Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Sunday, March 16 at the Sheraton Kona Resort Convention Center.

A new competition category—poke with Hamakua Mushrooms—encourages the use of mushrooms from the Big Isle’s gourmet fungal company located in rural Laupahoehoe. It joins four other culinary categories: traditional, cooked, poke with Aloha Shoyu soy sauce and non-seafood.

Hamakua Mushrooms

Hamakua Mushrooms

“The poke contest is all about sharing our favorite recipes and using local products,” says celebrity chef Sam Choy. ”Put your braggin’ in the bowl and enter to win prizes.”

Hamakua Mushrooms (HM) produces over 5,000 pounds of specialty and exotic mushrooms weekly. The exacting, multi-step growing process, which is done in a series of environmentally controlled rooms, will be detailed at the festival during a video. Attendees will also be able to see the bouquets of fresh, flavorful mushrooms growing in their sterilized bottles—Hamakua Mushrooms produces four varieties of shrooms.

“Contestants can source our mushrooms at islandwide grocers,” details HM co-owner Janice Stanga. “Our ali‘i oyster and pioppini mushrooms are sold at Costco, KTA, Safeway, Foodland and Sack ‘n Save.” For more info, phone HM at 808-962-0017.

Entry fee is $15 for amateurs and $30 for professionals—culinary students can participate for free. High schoolers can enter in a new High School Division and college culinary students are welcome to again vie in the non-professional category.

Suisan Company Ltd. will donate 15 pounds of fresh filet ahi to the first 50 entrants using fish. It contestant wants additional ahi, it will be offered at wholesale price. Suisan also offers seafood to contestants at a wholesale price. Contest entry deadline is March 10; find forms at www.SamChoysKeauhouPokeContest.org.

Poke contest fun is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and includes Hawai’i Island Marketplace, a “Poke Throw Down,” a celebrity “Poke Chop” cookoff, guest speakers, entertainment by Royal Hawaii Band Kona and cultural demonstrations. Public poke tasting is 12:30 p.m.

Poke Cook-off

Public admission to all contest activities is $5 (limit of five poke tastes) or $10 for an event bag and unlimited tastes until gone.  Keiki under 12 are free). Proceeds benefit the $150,000 Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui campus. Last year’s contest donated $5,000 to the effort.

A free trolley will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) 4-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 14-17 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli. The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Aloha Shoyu Company, Suisan Company Ltd., Hawaiian Springs, Hamakua Mushrooms, West Hawaii Today, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fresh Island Fish, Coca Cola, BMW of Hawaii, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Roberts Hawaii, Bacardi, Sun Dried Specialties, Kapa Radio and Young’s Market Co.

Volunteers Needed to Malama Maunakea

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) is seeking community volunteers to participate in its monthly “Malama Maunakea” campaign to protect the mountain’s fragile resources.  Community members are encouraged to sign up for open volunteer days – Saturday, April 19; Saturday, June 7 or Saturday, July 26.

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

“Our overarching goal at the Office of Mauna Kea Management is to malama Maunakea. Taking care of 12,000 acres is a daunting task, but with collaborative community partnerships we can accomplish much,” stated OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata. “We are so thankful to the school groups, service organizations, Chambers, individual and families of volunteers who give of their weekend to take care of Maunakea.”

The invasive species weed pulls throughout 2013 proved to be quite successful with 236 participants volunteering 1,747 hours, pulling 363 garbage bags of invasive weeds on eight separate occasions and also planting 200 Maunakea silversword.

The Saturday weed pulls concentrate on eradicating the invasive fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) along the Mauna Kea Access Road and around Halepohaku at approximately 9,200’ elevation.  The fireweed pulls help keep this invasive species from being transported to the upper elevation areas of Maunakea and reduce habitat for invasive insects.

The Malama Maunakea volunteer day begins at 8 am.  For Hilo-based volunteers, transportation to and from Hilo is provided. For West Hawaii volunteers, OMKM will help coordinate ride sharing. Upon arrival at Halepohaku, the volunteers are given a project orientation and allowed time to acclimate to the high elevation. Invasive weed pulls focus on the area along the Mauna Kea Access Road near Halepohaku. A brief tour of Maunakea resources completes this fulfilling day on the mountain.

Who can help? Everyone, including families and kids under parent supervision, student groups 16 years of age and older, community members, visitors, are all welcome.  Space is limited. To volunteer or for more information contact OMKM Natural Resource Program Manager Fritz Klasner at 808-933-3194 or email: OMKMvolunteers-grp@hawaii.edu.

Big Island Police Looking for Suspects Involved in Coffee Parchment Theft

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects involved in a theft in Nāʻālehu.

HPDBadge
On February 11, at about 4:06 p.m., police received a call from a 53-year-old homeowner reporting that unknown suspects had removed 10 80-pound brown burlap bags of coffee parchment, a 10-foot by 10-foot instant gazebo and an electric garage door opener from his property. The bags are marked with “14-2” in black ink. The value of the stolen items is $10,000.

Kaʻū patrol officers are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a second-degree theft.

Police ask anyone with information on this incident or anyone who may know the identities of the suspects to call Officer Augustine Akiu at 939-2520.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

State and County Team-Up to Tackle Hazardous Albizia Trees

The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Public Works are teaming up February 26-28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.

Albizia

State and County crews are working in coordination with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee’s (BIISC) Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision, of lower Puna. Albizia trees within 100 ft. of the road, endangering motorists, will be cut down, then chipped and returned to the forest or, for larger trees, removed. BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawai’i extension program and the US Forest Service.

By teaming up, crews will be able to cover both County and State right-of-ways and synchronize their efforts. “This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye.

The State and County tree work will be done from 8:00am-2:00pm, starting from the intersection of Upper Puna Road and Highway 130, extending 0.3 miles along Upper Puna Road. Motorists are advised to expect intermittent delays on Upper Puna Road during these times and to take the alternate route of One`Ele`Ele Road to access Black Sands Subdivision.

According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”

The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”

Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i.

Albizia Clean-ups

For more information on Community Training Workshops, please contact BIISC at 933-3340.