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Food Producers Invited to Exhibit at Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Local food producers are invited to display and sample their product at the 21st annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agricultural Festival on Friday, Sept. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Taste Kam Item

The state’s premiere ag showcase again offers a free opportunity for Hawai‘i farmers, ranchers and food producers to hookup with participating chefs and attendees during the 6-8 p.m. Taste.

The event is also open for agricultural and sustainability-themed organizations wanting to present informational displays.

Producers and ag-related educational organizations interested in participating may signup online at www.tasteofthehawaiianrange.com or by contacting Jill Beaton at tasteexhibitors@gmail.com or 808-937-0314. The deadline is July 31.

Taste headlines 30-some statewide chefs who dazzle diners using various cuts of forage-fed meats and a cornucopia of island fruits, vegetables and other farm products. Also on tap is a 3 p.m. culinary activity, “Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101,” presented by chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason Schoonover of the award-winning 12th Ave. Grill.

taste2Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 is $10. Tickets are for sale online and available starting July 1 at Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Purchase tickets online at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone 808-322-4892.

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 808-322-4892 no later than August 9, 2016.

Taste Hayden

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Kohala Mountain Educational Farm Summer Festival

The Kohala Mountain Educational Farm (KMEF) invites the public to celebrate at its 1st Annual Summer Farm Festival, July 23 – 31, from 10am to 6pm daily.

Kohala MountainCome to the Kohala Mountain Educational Farm for an incredible fun-filled event featuring tractor-pulled hayrides, a jumping pad, a petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, and carnival games. There will be you-pick vegetables in the field for harvest – fun for the whole family!

The festival will host a line-up of local musicians, including Mikey Hooser. Delicious foods including hot off the grill burgers & hot dogs and shave ice will be available for sale. Admission & Parking is Free. Activities are priced per activity with prices ranging from $5 – $9 per activity. Picnics are welcome.

Directions: Take Kohala Mountain Road (Highway 250) from Waimea towards Hawi. The farm is between Mile Marker 12 and 13 on Kohala Mountain Road. Farm entrance is on the left side of the road. For more information and event updates, visit www.kohalamountainpumpkinpatch.com or KMEF’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/kohalamountaineducationalfarm

 

 

Barbless Circle Hooks Angling for Converts – 13th Annual Tokunaga Ulua Challenge

At Sunday’s 13th annual Tokunaga Ulua Challenge Fishing Tournament weigh-in, you’d hear a call for “Mr. Barbless Hook.” That would be Kurt Kawamoto, a fisheries biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

fish tournamentKawamoto earned the moniker as the driving force behind the NOAA and DLNR Barbless Circle Hook Project. Each time a fish caught with a barbless circle hook weighed in, Kawamoto stepped forward to slap a special sticker on it, and hopefully to see a new record. Since initiating the program more than a decade ago, ulua and other fish caught by shoreline fishermen with barbless hooks have weighed in at one hundred pounds or more; winning more than just a few tournaments.

The Tokunaga tournament has grown from 136 entrants in 2003 to 637 this year. It’s estimated more than 50% of the contestants catch their fish using barbless circle hooks. In 2015, the winning ulua was caught with a barbless hook. This year, the winning omilu was caught by a woman fishing barbless.

Making a barbless hook is really simple. You use a pair of pliers to smash down the barb. Kawamoto explains, “Once you smash down the barbs on these hooks they become self-shedding, so that was the main idea behind it. It’s easy for a fish, or a seal or a turtle to get rid of the hook themselves.” Researchers have witnessed a monk seal actually shed a barbless circle hook and anglers have relayed stories about sea turtles also easily expelling barbless hooks.

Fish Tournament 2Although it’s easier for animals to rid themselves of the hooks, research, angler reports, and actual catches with barbless circle hooks have proved their efficacy when it comes to catching target fish. During a shoreline research project, fishers used two poles; one with a barbed hook, the other with a barbless one. Kawamoto said, “We caught over 300 shoreline fish, of many different kinds. We looked at the catches, losses and misses and statistically we couldn’t tell the difference. Essentially you could catch just as many fish with a barbless circle hook.”

Michael Tokunaga, the organizer of the tournament, sponsored by his store, S. Tokunaga, regularly hosts DLNR outreach representatives from the Barbless Circle Hook Project. He would like to see acceptance of the barbless hooks for his tournament to grow to 75% or better. He said, “This is for conservation and releasing unwanted catches. It’s just a way of fishing smart. When you catch a fish, the hook is normally in the side of the mouth. The barb has nothing to do with it in my opinion.”

Fish Tournament 3After observing the Ulua Challenge last year, and entering this year, Carlo Russo of Pahoa fishes from the shoreline, using barbless circle hooks exclusively. He feels there’s absolutely no downside to using them. A few hours before the tournament weigh-in, fishing with a friend on the edge of Hilo Bay, he commented, “My experience with them has been 100% positive. I caught three papio’s, nice size papio’s on them, and didn’t lose any fish. Popped them right out; all perfectly caught in the corner of their mouths.” He also likes the fact that the barbless hooks keep bait fish alive longer, because they make a smaller hole, saying, “That’s a really big plus.”

The outreach team from the Barbless Circle Hook Project regularly attends fishing tournaments around the state to provide information, encouragement, and free barbless circle hooks. Kawamoto concluded, “Since starting the project I only use barbless hooks in my personal shoreline fishing and I’ve caught all the same species. I couldn’t in good conscience ask fisherman to try something that I don’t use or believe in myself. I have guys on every island who are only using barbless hooks and they’ve seen it doesn’t make a difference…and allows the big one that got away…to reproduce, to grow and possibly to be caught another day. This helps enhance the reputation of fishermen and women as practicing conservationists.”

Kona Drug Court Food Drive for Hawaii Island’s Food Bank

judiciaryThe Kona Drug Court has selected The Food Basket, Inc., “Hawai‘i Island’s Food Bank,” as the focus of its 2016 National Drug Court Month community service project, to give back to the charity that provides for Big Island residents in need, including children from low-income or homeless families, elderly, veterans, and many addicts in the early stages of recovery.

The Kona Drug Court asks the West Hawaii community to help support The Food Basket, Inc., by dropping off donations of non-perishable foods to Drug Court volunteers, who will be dressed in red t-shirts, in front of the KTA Super Store in Kailua-Kona.

For more information on Friday’s food drive please contact Grayson K. Hashida, Hawaii Island Drug Court Coordinator at (808) 443-2201.

  • WHAT: Kona Drug Court Food Drive for Hawaii Island’s Food Bank
  • WHO: The Kona Drug Court
  • WHEN: Friday May 27, 2016, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • WHERE:    KTA Super Store Kailua-Kona, in the Kona Coast Shopping Center,  74-5594 Palani Road, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii


Big Island Chocolate Festival Names Winners

Culinary entries from Maui and the Big Isle were tapped winners at last night’s Big Island Chocolate Festival gala. A sold-out crowd of 600 attendees sprawled inside and out of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel for the fifth annual fundraiser.

Volcano made of 40 pounds of fine chocolate by the Guittard Chocolate Company

Volcano made of 40 pounds of fine chocolate by the Guittard Chocolate Company

“Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” was the festival theme and the event gala sported booths decorated with sugary lava, chocolate volcanoes, orchids and faux flames. The culinary station by Sweet Eatz was judged “Best Decorated” by HVNP’s Cindy Orlando, park superintendent and Jessica Ferracane, public affairs specialist.

Chefs, chocolatiers and college students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges at competitions during the two-day festival.

Big Island Choclate Festival gala and culinary student winners with judges.

Big Island Choclate Festival gala and culinary student winners with judges.

Winning the most culinary awards was Hilton Waikoloa Village led by Chef Dayne Tanabe for Best Savory and Chef Anna Hohenberger for Best Bonbon. The Hilton team also tied with Four Seasons Resort Hualalai for Best Sweet People’s Choice by Hilton Chef Eddie Enojardo and Hualalai’s Kalani Garcia.

Earning Best Plated Dessert was the Ke‘olu Bake Shop at Hualalai Resort and Huggo’s took home People’s Choice Savory. Other accolades were won by Madre Chocolate for Best Bean-to-Bar, Nine Fine Mynahs Farm for Best Cacao and Likao Kula for Best Criollo Bean.

The student team of Yi Song and Diana Maciel Hernandez of the University of Hawai‘i-Maui College took first place in the Friday student competition. Taking second place was Jolynn Len and Stella Rainville of Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui while third place went to Alicia Alcain and Tomi Salinger of Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui.

Second place student culinary winners Jolynn Len and Stella Rainville with HCC-Palamanui instructors Fernand Guiot and Mark Johnson.

Second place student culinary winners Jolynn Len and Stella Rainville with HCC-Palamanui instructors Fernand Guiot and Mark Johnson.

“Students performed at a really high level and we’re hoping to have more participation throughout the UH culinary programs next year,” said Teresa “Cheech” Shurilla, program coordinator for UH-Maui College. “We want to make it viable for all the schools to come and compete.”

Heading the team of chef judges for the two competitions were Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, Derek Poirier of Valrohna Chocolate, Elizabeth McDonald of B3 a Beach Bunny Bakery, Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; Steven Arakaki of Kukio Resort, Douglas Paul of Sodexo UH-Maui College, Pam Williams of Ecole Chocolat, Jacques Dahan of Michel Cluizel, Lincoln Carson, Yoshikazu Kizu of Rita Carlton Kapuala, Krista Garcia of UH-Maui College and Shurilla.

The real winners of the annual festival are two beneficiaries: the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

In addition to last night’s gala, the festival offered a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus growing and processing seminars and how-to culinary demonstrations by chocolate industry experts.

Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for updates on next year’s event.

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. Mahalo to 2016 event sponsors Prova, Guittard Chocolate Company, Michel Cluizel, Republica Del Cacao, Valrohna USA, LUVA Real Estate-Lance Owens, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Barry Callebaut USA, Kokua Roofing, DHX, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market, The Wave 92 FM and Dole/Wailua Chocolate. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

First Annual Waipi’o Kalo Festival Coming Up

The first annual Waipi‘o Kalo Festival will take place on Saturday, June 4, 2016, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Koa‘ekea, near the Waipi‘o Valley Lookout. Presented by the grassroots state-recognized nonprofit, Hā Ola O Waipi‘o Valley, the free event is a tribute to kalo (taro), Waipi’o, and the kupuna and others who live, work, and find inspiration there.

Waipio Valley Taro Festival

The Kalo Festival is designed to be educational as well as entertaining, and will include much that Hawai‘i Island loves: live music and hula, craft vendors, games and great food. In addition, there will be displays and talk story sessions about the region’s rich history, and its significance in Hawaiian culture.

Central to Hawaiian culture, kalo is considered the “older brother” of all Hawaiians. Legend says that a child named Hāloa was born to deities Wakea and Ho‘ohōkūkalani. Hāloa died at birth and was buried in the garden, where soon shoots of kalo plants began to grow. Their next child was named Hāloa in his honor, and to forever acknowledge the familial tie between people and nature.

Waipi‘o was home to many deities and notable ali‘i, and at its peak, the thriving agricultural community may have supported a population as high as 10,000 people. Waipi‘o is also a storied wahi pana, sacred place, site of seven important heiau (temples) including  Pāka‘alana, a pu‘uhonua, “place of refuge.”

The Kalo Festival is designed to be educational as well as entertaining, and will include much that Hawai‘i Island loves: live music and hula, craft vendors, games and great food. In addition, there will be displays and talk story sessions about the region’s rich history, and its significance in Hawaiian culture.

Every aspect of the Kalo Festival is connected to the Valley in some way. Presenters may come from multigenerational kalo farmers on ancestral lands; cultural practitioners appreciate its vast resources; artists and musicians, even chefs, are inspired by Waipi‘o for their creations.

Hands-on ku‘i kalo gives festival-goers a feel for the art of poi pounding, and other cultural activities like lei-making, lau hala and lau niu weaving are available. More competitive attendees can enter the Taro Team Relay, a fun obstacle course with a simulation of a typical taro farmer’s jobs.

On the scholarly side, agricultural exhibits and demonstrations offer a chance to learn about varieties of kalo and how they are cultivated, its preparation as food and nutritional/health benefits. Displays from USDA, DLNR, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), North Hawaii Education and Research Center (NHERC) and others cover a broad range of related topics, from healthy soils, to agro-forestry, the importance of water, and more.

For the foodies, a Kalo Cookoff offers prizes to home chefs who bring their best kalo pupu, main dish or dessert for a friendly competition with prizes. Any part of the kalo plant may be used in the dish. (To enter, please bring at least five portions for judges to taste. Kalo must be an ingredient.) Kalo Contest Winners will be announced after the Relay, and receive a Makana Basket and a Gift Certificate.

In addition, homestyle Hawaiian plate lunches will be available for sale, with kalua pig, laulau, squid lū‘au, chicken long rice, sweet potatoes, fernshoot salad, haupia, kulolo, poke and of course, poi.

Koa‘ekea (the former Rice property is located at 48-5546 Waipi‘o Valley Road, and event parking will be available at Kukuihaele Park, with free shuttles provided. No parking at the Lookout.

The schedule for the day includes:

  • 9 a.m. Gate opens. Opening Pule and Oli at 9:05 a.m.
  • 9:10 a.m. Hālau Na Lei Punahele, Kumu Hula Punahele Andrade
  • 10 a.m. Larry Miller and Jeff Quinn
  • 10:50 a.m. Hālau Kou Lima Nani E, Kumu Hula Iwalani Kalima
  • 11:50 a.m. Sons of Keawe
  • 1-1:50 p.m. Kalo Team Relay/Kalo Cookoff
  • 2 p.m. Rubbah Slippah Productions, Ryan Hiraoka
  • 2:50 p.m. Masoe ‘Ohana
  • 3:50 p.m. Closing Pule and Hawai‘i Aloha

The Kalo Festival is sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the County of Hawai‘i and other generous supporters. Friends of the Future and Pōhāhā I Ka Lani both serve as the fiscal sponsors for this project. For more information about the Kalo Festival, email HaolaoWaipioValley@gmail.com or follow Hā Ola O Waipio Valley on Facebook.

Joint Task Force Established to Combat Rat Lungworm Disease in Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) and the East Hawaii Liaison to the Office of the Governor announced today the establishment of a Joint Task Force to assess the threat of rat lungworm disease (Angiostrongyliasis) in Hawaii. The mission of the task force is to share scientific knowledge in the application of diagnostics, treatment, mitigation and public education activities.

rat lungworm

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a nematode, which is a roundworm parasite called Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasitic nematode can be passed from the feces of infected rodents to snails, slugs and certain other animals, which become intermediate hosts for the parasite. Humans can become infected when they consume, either intentionally or otherwise, infected raw or undercooked intermediate hosts.

Although rat lungworm has been found throughout the state, Hawaii Island has a majority of the cases. Some infected people don’t show any symptoms or only have mild symptoms. For others, the symptoms can be much more severe, which can include headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or painful feelings in the skin or extremities, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting. Sometimes, a temporary paralysis of the face may also be present, as well as light sensitivity. This infection can also cause a rare type of meningitis (eosinophilic meningitis).

“Establishing a joint task force with local experts in the medical field and leaders in government will produce a set of best practices that be used to target rat lungworm disease not only on Hawaii Island, but on a statewide scale as well,” said Wil Okabe, East Hawaii Liaison to the Office of the Governor. “There is no specific treatment yet identified for this disease, so finding the best ways to prevent its spread and educate the public is crucial.”

The members of the task force are as follows:

  • Wil Okabe (Facilitator), East Hawaii Governor’s Liaison Office
  • Robert Cowie, Ph.D., Pacific Biosciences Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • Robert Hollingsworth, Ph.D., U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Sue Jarvi, Ph.D., School of Pharmacy, University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • Jerry Kahana, Hawaii State Department of Agriculture
  • Kenton Kramer, Ph.D., Department of Tropical Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM)
  • John Martell, M.D., Hilo Medical Center
  • Marian Melish, M.D., Pediatric Infectious Disease, Kapiolani Medical Center
  • Donn Mende, Research and Development, County of Hawaii
  • DeWolfe Miller, Ph.D., Tropical Medicine Microbiology and Pharmacology, JABSOM
  • Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch, DOH
  • Sarah Park, M.D., F.A.A.P., State Epidemiologist, DOH
  • Joanna Seto, Save Drinking Water Branch, DOH
  • Aaron Ueno, Hawaii District Health Office, DOH
  • Chris Whelen, Ph.D., State Laboratories Division, DOH
  • Jonnie Yates, M.D., Kaiser Permanente

Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset’s 2016 Awards Banquet

About 100 folks filled the Akebono Theater in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii last night as the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset had its 2016 Awards Banquet.

Mark and Alan

Mark Hinshaw and Alan “Santa” Lakritz

This year’s honorees for their outstanding service to the community were Mark Hinshaw for the Individual Award and the Corporate Award Recipient went to Bay Clinic Pahoa and the CEO Harold Wallace.

Bay Clinic Pahoa Staff

Bay Clinic Pahoa Staff

Bay Clinic Pahoa CEO Harold Wallace and Rotary Member Bob Johnson.

Bay Clinic Pahoa CEO Harold Wallace and Rotary Member Bob Johnson.

Elected dignitaries in attendance were State Senator Joy SanBuenaventura, Councilman Greggor Ilagan and Councilman Danny Paleka.  Also in attendance were County Council Candidates Madie Greene and Eileen O’hara.

Folks were able to bid on items donated by various community members and businesses.

Folks were able to bid on items donated by various community members and businesses.

A silent auction was held with items donated from Pahoa Ace Hardware, Photographer Alan Lakritz, Aloha All Natural Cleaning Service, Bank of Hawaii, Photographer Charlene Meyers, Christian Robinson’s Bamboo Zoo, Craig Watkins, Deborah Nichols, Geo Pacific LLC, Glen & Fran Calvert, Hilo Coffee Mill, Holly & Bob Johnson, Island Naturals, J Attig Anthuriums, Jungle Love, Kalani Retreat Center, Kua O Ka La Charter School, Lex Brodies and Pahoa Auto Parts.

Luquin’s Restaurant set up a taco bar for attendees and “The Gone Country Band” provided entertainment throughout the evening and the theme for the evening was “Cinco De Mayo x 2” (May 10th).

Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset Mission Statement:

“In the spirit of Rotary’s 4-Way Test, our mission is to serve the local and global community and our club members by implementing dynamic programs that address current and emerging needs.  Our goal is to achieve meaningful results in an atmosphere of fun, fellowship, and aloha.”

Rotary Club of Pahoa

The Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset Meets each Tuesday at the Akebono Theater.  Social “half” hour begins at 6:00 pm and the fun starts at 6:30 and all are welcome.  You can visit their website and “like” them on Facebook:  http://www.pahoasunsetrotary.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/Rotary-Club-of-Pahoa-Sunset-109607602431709/

Industry Experts Featured May 22 at Ka‘u Coffee College

Leaders of the specialty coffee industry are traveling to the state’s largest agricultural district this month to taste and see all the effort that goes into producing award-winning Ka‘u coffee during the Ka‘u Coffee Festival.

Local growers get info on a variety of coffee industry topics at the annual Ka’u Coffee Festival.

Local growers get info on a variety of coffee industry topics at the annual Ka’u Coffee Festival.

While meeting Ka‘u growers, the visiting experts lead seminars at the festival’s annual Ka‘u Coffee College May 22 at the Pahala Community Center. The Ka‘u Coffee College has proven to be a place of learning, sharing and networking—and has featured some of the industry’s leading professionals from around the globe. The 2016 program follows in this tradition with the theme, “Coffee Quality.”

“These seminars are designed to not only continue to brand and market Ka‘u as a premium coffee growing origin, but to help the growers’ bottom line,” explained event organizer Chris Manfredi.  “We understand the challenges of sustaining a profitable farming operation in Hawai‘i. These talks will certainly reinforce the exceptionally high quality for which Ka‘u coffee has become famous, but also ensure there is a steady supply of it. As we reach more markets, we need a solid supply of quality coffees to meet the increasing demand while ensuring growers remain profitable.”

The Ka’u Coffee College is part of the eighth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival, spanning May 13-22, and culminating May 21-22 at the Pahala Community Center. Coffee professionals learn first-hand about the Ka‘u coffee community in the days leading up to the May 21st ho‘olaule‘a, which includes guided tastings, farm tours and the opportunity to “talk story” with growers at their booths.

“The Ka‘u Coffee College is the last, but certainly not the least event,” adds Manfredi.

Topics covered at this year’s college include integrated pest management, CBB (coffee berry borer) and coffee quality’s impact on price.

“Six Years of Farming with CBB: Reflecting and Moving Forward” will be presented by Andrea Kawabata, assistant extension agent for coffee and orchard crops with the University of Hawai‘i CTAHR cooperative extension service and biologist Arturo Ballar Ortiz PSM, farm development and research director at Greenwell Farms. Working out of the Kona Research and Extension Center, Kawabata is the current project investigator for USDA and CTAHR Area-wide Mitigation and Management for CBB Control Project’s Outreach Program and cooperating investigator of the HDOA-funded Flat Bark Beetle Project.

Mike Perry will delve into “Coffee Quality’s Relationship to Price Sensitivity.” An award-winning roast master who blends a background in chemical engineering with a love for coffee, Perry is founder of Klatch Coffee in California.

“Falling Coffee, Falling Profits” will be discussed by Robert G. Hollingsworth, research entomologist of Hilo’s USDA-ARS-Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and a specialist on coffee berry borer (CBB). Hollingworth’s research facilitated the deregulation of the GHA strain of Beauveria bassiana, the principal pesticide used to control CBB. Currently he is studying natural enemies of the pest, the effectiveness of sanitation methods and the influence of environmental factors on population growth and development.

Miguel Meza, owner and director of Paradise Coffee Roasters in Hawai‘i and Minnesota, teams up with Lee Paterson, owner of Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, to direct a coffee quality workshop, “Recognizing and Minimizing Coffee Defects.”

Admission to the 9 a.m.-pau Ka‘u Coffee College is free, though donations are appreciated.

All activities at the Ka‘u Coffee Festival are open to the general public; some require a fee. Find details at www.KauCoffeeFest.com. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Begins Friday

chocolate fountain

While VIP and general admission tickets are sold out for the Big Island Chocolate Festival, the following ticket options are still available at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel:

  • A Chocolate Lovers One-Day Pass for May 14 that includes three culinary demonstrations with sampling 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., followed by general entry into the 5:30-9 p.m. gala. Price is $125.
  •  Fifty gala tickets will be sold at the door for $100 each starting 4:30 p.m. May 14.
  • Cacao agricultural seminars, focusing on farming cacao and its fermentation are 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May. 13. Price is $40 in advance or $30 each at the door.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

This year’s gala theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.” Taste sweet and savory creations by chefs, chocolatiers, confectioners and beverage purveyors, plus vote for the People’s Choice Award. Also on tap will be fine wines, handcrafted ales and cocktails, chocolate sculptures, chocolate body painting, entertainment and a silent auction.

Find ticket info, including details on the event’s May 13-14 agricultural activities and culinary demonstrations, at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com.

Special room rates can be reserved directly at the hotel at www.HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/events.

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. Mahalo to 2016 event sponsors Prova, Michel Cluizel, Republica Del Cacao, Valrohna USA, LUVA Real Estate-Lance Owens, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Barry Callebaut USA, Kokua Roofing, DHX, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market, The Wave 92 FM and Dole/Wailua Chocolate. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

Hawaii Department of Education to Expand Free Meal Program to 30 Schools on Six Islands

This upcoming school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from seven public schools to 30 across the state. 

School Lunches

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

“We are pleased to be able to expand this program to more schools and include nearly every island with free meals,”stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’ve heard from parents in this year’s pilot project who say the program was a tremendous help for their families.”

The 23 additional schools being added to the program in school year 2016-17 are:

Kauai:

  • Kekaha Elementary

Hawaii Island:

  • Kau High & Pahala Elementary
  • Keaau Elementary
  • Keaau High
  • Keaau Middle
  • Keonepoko Elementary
  • Naalehu Elementary
  • Pahoa Elementary
  • Pahoa High

Maui:

  • Hana High & Elementary

Lanai:

  • Lanai High & Elementary

Oahu:

  • Leihoku Elementary
  • Maili Elementary
  • Makaha Elementary
  • Nanaikapono Elementary
  • Nanakuli Elementary
  • Nanakuli High & Intermediate
  • Olomana School
  • Pope Elementary
  • Waianae Elementary
  • Waianae High
  • Waianae Middle
  • Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate

The seven schools in the pilot program will continue participating next year, including:

  • Kaunakakai Elementary School, Molokai
  • Kilohana Elementary School, Molokai
  • Maunaloa Elementary School, Molokai
  • Molokai Middle School, Molokai
  • Molokai High School, Molokai
  • Mountain View Elementary School, Hawaii Island
  • Linapuni Elementary School, Oahu

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state. 

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.  

“Last year, we were able to launch this pilot project at seven schools to establish its impacts on finances and staffing,”said Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson, Office of School Facilities and Support Services. “The response was positive and we are happy that this year we will be able to expand the program to all counties and include several new whole school complexes. This USDA program allows us to feed more students, for free, and do so in a way that does not increase the cost to the state.”

For more information about the USDA CEP program visit: http://1.usa.gov/1iP9FQI.  For details on HIDOE’s CEP pilot program, visit http://bit.ly/1Kh8SL1

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1VX1OID.

Dunkin’ Donuts Entering Hawaii Market

Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc. has signed a multi-unit store development agreement with new franchise group, Aloha Petroleum, Ltd., under which Aloha Petroleum will develop 15 new Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii (The Big Island) in the state of Hawaii.

dunkin-donuts

The first restaurant is scheduled to open in 2017 and will mark Dunkin’s foray into Hawaii.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to launch the Dunkin’ Donuts brand in Hawaii and look forward to opening our first location early next year,” said Richard Parry, president and chief executive officer of Aloha Petroleum. “This new business venture will complement our existing retail offerings throughout the islands and help us diversify our portfolio.”

The agreement would mark Dunkin’s entry into its 42nd U.S. state.

Statewide Family-Owned Business of the Year Named by the Small Business Administration

Kealakekua Ranch/ChoiceMART is the 2016 SBA State of Hawaii Family-Owned Business of the Year. The Hawaii State Legislature announced the award April 5 at the State Capitol. The 135-year-old company located in Captain Cook will be honored at the 29th annual United States Small Business Administration Awards and Luncheon May 6 at Dole Cannery during National Small Business Week.

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART.  Photo by Fletch Photography

Nick Greenwell, Rhonda Kavanagh and Meg Greenwell try out the Growler Shack—where kombucha and Kona Brewing Company ales are on tap— at ChoiceMART. Photo by Fletch Photography

Each year since 1963, the United States Small Business Administration celebrates the achievements and contributions of small business during National Small Business Week—this year May 1 to 7. Among the most prestigious and competitive business awards in the nation and state, the annual SBA Small Business Awards honor leading small business entrepreneurs in a host of categories.

Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd./ChoiceMART was selected for the statewide honor by a panel of 14 judges that vetted hundreds of nominations.  Selection criteria included demonstrated success in job creation, potential for long-term business success and economic growth, plus community engagement.  Nominees in the Family-Owned Business category must also demonstrate a business track record of more than 15 years and success in passing ownership and operations from one generation to the next.

Established in 1881 as a cattle operation, Kealakekua Ranch has been led by four generations of the Greenwell family who transitioned the company from ranching to agricultural and commercial operations over the years. The company traces its roots to Henry Nicholas Greenwell’s arrival to Hawaii in the 1850s and his establishment of a successful general store that supplied the growing island community.

Now led by siblings Meg and Nick Greenwell with CEO Rhonda Kavanagh, Kealakekua Ranch includes a regional shopping center and independent supermarket, ChoiceMART. A major employer and hub of the South Kona community, the company provides employment for approximately 80 staff members and also supports hundreds of local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and other island producers by offering local produce, freshly caught fish, Big Island grass-fed beef and other island products at ChoiceMART supermarket.

“We are so honored to receive this award and thankful to the community for supporting us all these years,” says Meg Greenwell of Kealakekua Ranch while brother Nick Greenwell added he is “very humbled and thankful to the community” for the statewide accolade.

Today, the original general store is operated as a living history museum by the Kona Historical Society while H.N.’s great-grandchildren, Meg and Nick, carry on the family tradition of supplying goods and services to the community through the independently owned-and-operated supermarket, ChoiceMART and Kealakekua Ranch Shopping Center. Both are located on Kealakekua Ranch and front Highway 11.

“This award wouldn’t be possible without the support of our customers; hard-working local suppliers; and amazing team of employees,” noted Kavanagh.

Lobster and Kona Crab Season Closes May 1

If you love your fresh-caught local lobster or Kona crab, you’d best catch it quick because the season closes this Sunday.  The closed season for ula (spiny lobster), ula papapa (slipper lobster) and Kona crab runs from May 1 through the end of August.  During that time it’s illegal to take, possess, or sell these shellfish.

Spiny Lobster

According to Suzanne Case, chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, “These rules are in place to protect lobsters and Kona crabs during the summer months, which are the peak of their reproductive season, and to help ensure their populations will continue to be sustainable.”

Kona Crab

However, any commercial marine dealer may sell, or any hotel, restaurant, or other public eating house may serve spiny or slipper lobster lawfully caught during the open season by first obtaining a license to do so pursuant to section 13-74-41, Hawaii Administrative Rules.

During the open season catching, taking or possessing of female spiny and slipper lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited.  Also, any spiny or slipper lobster, or Kona crab, caught with eggs must immediately be returned to the waters from which it was taken. Taking or killing of females is prohibited year round.

The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices and most fishing supply stores, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs.  Or go online to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/how-to-determine-sex-of-regulated-invertebrates/

For more information on regulations concerning these and other marine invertebrates, including minimum sizes, go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/fishing/fishing-regulations/marine-invertebrates/  or call the Division of Aquatic Resources.

To report any violation of these or other fishing regulations call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Set for Sept. 9

It’s where you can sample the rich flavor of numerous cuts of pasture-raised meat and talk story with the people who are producing our food.

Taste Shank

The 21st Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 9 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Attendees will enjoy 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.

Time is 6-8 p.m. and the annual agricultural showcase will again sprawl both inside and outside at Hilton Waikoloa Village’s conference center. Culinary adventure seekers can taste and enjoy cuts of pasture-raised beef—everything from tongue to tail—expertly prepared by Hawai‘i chefs.  Enjoy familiar cuts like chuck and ground beef, plus the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles.

Local food producers will offer samples and displays at friendly booths. While “grazing,” attendees can enjoy exhibits presenting topics related to local agriculture and food sustainability, including the University of Hawai’i at Manoa’s Mealani Research Station—where Taste began!

O‘ahu chefs Kevin Hanney and Jason “J” Schoonover are teaming up to instruct the 2016 edition of Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at 3 p.m. Chef Hanney is the chef/owner of 12th Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. Chef Schoonover is the executive chef of 12th Ave Grill, the 2015 Hale Aina Award-winning Best Restaurant of the Year. Both chefs regularly include pasture-raised beef on their menus.

Pre-sale tickets for Taste are $45 and $60 at the door. Entry to Cooking 101 with sampling is $10 while a 1 p.m. class geared for culinary students and food service professionals is free.

Tickets go on sale online June 1 at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.  Purchase them at island-wide locations starting July 1: Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI.

For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.

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 Gina at 808-322-4892 no later than August 9, 2016.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, Hawaii Beef Producers, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program, Kamehameha Schools, KTA SuperStores, West Hawaii Today and Pacific Radio Group. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Pour Some Fun at Ka’u Coffee Festival – Lobsterpalooza Planned

The delectable flavors of award-winning Ka‘u coffee is grounds for celebration! The Ka‘u Coffee Festival perks into its eighth season with activities May 13-22, offering many reasons to stay on the south side of the Big Isle. The festival not only showcases Ka‘u’s many award-winning coffees at numerous events, it also offers a host of unique and fun family activities.

coffee fest

“The festival highlights the efforts of our hard-working Ka‘u coffee producers, and also offers unique activities that showcase the heritage District of Ka‘u. Many events are only available during the festival,” says Chris Manfredi, festival organizer.

New to this year’s lineup of java-jumping fun is the Lobsterpalooza—a leisurely Sunday afternoon picnic on the lawn at Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. On the menu of the May 15th spread is a variety of tantalizing skewered pupus, your choice of Kona Cold Lobster or charbroiled Spencer Steak, raised locally by Kuahiwi Ranch, and served with roasted potatoes, Cajun-style local sweet corn, a mouthwatering Ka‘u Coffee Mocha Torte, lilikoi lemonade, brewed ice tea and plenty of Ka‘u coffee. Beachside entertainment is by the bluesy Larry Dupio Band with special guest Full Tilt Band from 2-6 p.m. Tix for $75 are available online at brownpapertickets.com.

This year’s Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest offers nearly $2,000 in cash prizes as adult and student contestants vie in pupu, entrée and dessert categories 11 a.m. Saturday, May 14 at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. The free event stages entertainment, a chance to meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee, tasty recipe and coffee sampling and a tour of the Ka‘u Coffee Mill and Farm. Contest entry and admission are free. The entry deadline is May 9. Visit www.kaucoffeefestival.com for more details.

The pinnacle of the 10-day lineup is the free Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a on Sat., May 21 that sprawls both inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Learn the secret to brewing the “perfect cup of coffee” at the Ka‘u Coffee Experience where coffee professionals prepare Ka‘u coffee a variety of ways: hario pour-over, french press, toddy cold-brew, chemex and clever, plus prepared espresso beverages – 9:30 a.m. to noon and again at 1-3 p.m.

Outside, ho‘olaue‘a attendees can talk story with friendly coffee farmers and other local vendors and artisans at tented booths, many with free sampling. Also on tap are “broke da mouth” local food booths serving hot plate lunches, fresh baked goods and ethnic, local-style treats by local community organizations. Enjoy lunch in the outdoor pavilion or grassy lawn while treated to non-stop, local entertainment. Keiki can enjoy outdoor games and train rides.

Find out how coffee is grown, picked and processed during Ka‘u Coffee Farm & Mill Tours. Sign up at the ho‘olaule‘a for the informative $20 tours, complete with shuttle transport, departing 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.

Enter the Buy Local It Matters promotion by visiting festival sponsors and redeeming purchase receipts and business cards at the ho‘olaule‘a for chances to win exciting prizes.

The festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, and numerous local sponsors. Most events are free while others carry a nominal fee. A full schedule of events and Ka‘u activity recommendations follows. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com to learn more.

On Friday, May 13, Pa‘ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House featuring music, hula, food and house tours 5:30-9:30 p.m. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce, Hawai’i Farmers Union United and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. Free, donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund.  www.kaucoffeefest.comwww.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, May 14, The free Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest is 11 a.m. at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Entries made with Ka‘u coffee are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories. Free coffee tasting, entertainment and tours. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call Lisa at 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 14, the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant showcases the crowning of Miss Ka‘u Coffee, Jr. Miss Ka’u Coffee and Miss Ka’u Coffee Peaberry. Contestants compete in talent, speech and evening wear while participating in Miss Popularity, Miss Congeniality and Miss Photogenic contests.  Winners receive scholarships. Doors open 6 p.m. at the Ka‘u Coffee Mill. Fee is $10 at the door. Visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, which is marking its centennial in 2016 with special activities. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday and Thursday, May 18 and May 19 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System Hike in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Limited to 30, $45 includes lunch.  Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday, May 20 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm.  Learn how descendants of Ka‘u’s first coffee farmer integrate coffee with other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday, May 20 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. Enjoy a presentation on the history of Makanau, a summit sunset and the night sky via a guided laser beam tour of the stars. $45 with refreshments and shuttle transportation. Sign up at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 21 tantalize your taste buds at the free 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of local music, hula, food booths, local crafts, keiki activities, educational displays, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours headquartered inside and out of the Pahala Community Center. Visit the Ka‘u Coffee Experience, where coffee professionals offer Ka‘u coffee prepared a variety of ways 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.  Ho‘olaule‘a entry is free; farm tours with shuttle transport are 9:30 and 11 a.m., plus 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m., $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 22 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. The Coffee College hosts educational seminars by local and journeymen coffee industry experts and a reverse trade mission. Free, donations appreciated. Call 808-929-9550 or www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Big Island Substance Abuse Council Opening Food Trailer

Tomorrow, the Big Island Substance Abuse Council will proudly unveil their food trailer, Big Island Fusion as part of their Poʻokela Vocational Training Program.   The Food trailer will allow individuals to gain marketable skills and experience in food marketing, sales, business, and food preparation.

Bisac Food TruckBISAC has been providing aspects of vocational training for well over four years and has seen firsthand the positive aspects that training does to help individuals reclaim their lives and become positive citizens in the community. “We can already see the benefits this program has provided to our clients” says, BISAC’s CEO Dr. Hannah Preston-Pita. “Connecting the food trailer to our therapeutic garden provides an array of skills and opportunities for our clients to explore their inner strengths while enhancing their recovery.”

BISAC’s food trailer also brings to life the farm to table initiative. The Big Island Fusion’s culinary and vocational trainer, Willie Leong is currently in recovery and brings both the experience and passion for culinary arts.   “With my years of experience I will bring passion, creativity, and love for the food in every plate that is created” says Willie. “I know how it is being in recovery. The struggle is real. This trailer will allow me to give these individuals the chance for success so that they are ready to return to the real world and work on their recovery.”

Since 1964, BISAC has been inspiring individuals and families to reclaim and enrich their lives in the wake of the ravages of substance abuse. They offer a continuum of services that are culturally appropriate and aligned with the ever-changing behavioral health field.

Lavalicious Fun at Big Island Chocolate Festival Gala

It’s a destination for delicious at the fifth Big Island Chocolate Festival gala 5:30-9 p.m. Sat., May 14 at Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. Indulge in both savory and sweet temptations prepared by top chefs and chocolatiers while watching award-winning Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, sculpt one of the largest volcanoes ever created in fine chocolate.

chocolate fountain

This year’s event theme is “Lavalicious-A Chocolate Salute to the 100th Birthday of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park” and culinary stations will be judged on their depiction of the popular park, plus a host of “best” culinary categories: savory, plated dessert, bon bon, bean-to-bar, Hawaiian cacao and People’s Choice.

More chocolatey fun includes a tasty mole and salad bar, chocolate body painting, live music and dancing, a silent auction, wines, cocktails and handcrafted beer using cacao nibs from Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory.

Headlining the “erupting” entertainment is the Tomi Isobe Blues Band featuring Danny Taylor on drums and vocals. Also serenading guests will be Magic Strings with versatile violinist Ursula Vietze.

In addition to the Hapuna Beach and Guittard, culinary participants to date include the Mauna Kea Resort, Hualalai Resort, Hilton Waikoloa Village, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Hilton Hawaiian Village, The Grand Wailea, Amici Ristorante Italiano, Art of the Good Life Catered Events, Huggo’s/On the Rocks, The Fish Hopper, Sweet Eatz, Gypsea Gelato, West Hawai‘i Culinary-Palamanui, Padovani Chocolates, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Madre Chocolate, Valrohna Chocolates, Republica del Cacao, Michel Cluizel Chocolatier and the Cocoa Outlet with its signature, four-foot tall chocolate fountain.

Six, off-island culinary professionals will judge the gala’s delicious offerings. Coming from the Mainland are Alicia Boada, American Culinary Federation approved certification evaluator and Barry Callebaut technician, and Derek Poirier, award-winning Ecole Valrhona pastry chef Western USA.  Judges from Maui include chefs Bruce Troyet of Four Seasons Resort at Wailea, Maui; Elizabeth McDonald of B3 A Beach Bunny Bakery and Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; and Lincoln Carson, formerly of Michael Mina’s restaurants. Leading the Lavalicious booth judging will be Cindy Orlando, superintendent of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.  Prizes will be awarded at the gala, plus winners will be announced for the event’s Friday college culinary competition.

General admission tickets to the gala are $75 presale $100 at the door.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association (KCA), event proceeds benefit the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn./University of Hawai‘i endowment fund for the culinary program at Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui and programs at Kona Pacific Public Charter School in Kealakekua.

Find ticket info, plus details on the event’s May 13-14 agricultural activities and culinary demonstrations, at www.BigIslandChocolateFestival.com. Special room/ticket packages for two start at $396.20 at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel and can be conveniently booked through the Festival website under “Tickets.” Special room rates can be reserved directly at the hotel at www.HapunaBeachPrinceHotel.com/events or calling 1-888-977-4622 and mentioning “Big Island Chocolate Festival Group Rate.”

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. Mahalo to 2016 event sponsors Prova, Michael Cluizel, Republica Del Cacao, Valrohna USA, LUVA Real Estate-Lance Owens, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Barry Callebaut USA, Kokua Roofing, DHX, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market and The Wave 92 FM. For information, visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. @BIChocoFest

Investigative Reporter Jim Dooley Slated for Hilo Talk

The Big Island Press Club is delighted to have Jim Dooley, author of Sunny Skies, Shady Characters: Cops, Killers and Corruption in the Aloha State, as our featured lunch speaker April 22. He’ll be signing books available for sale, and we’ll have a couple as door prizes as well.

Sunny Skies

Dooley is a take-no-prisoners kind of journalist. A longtime investigative reporter whose work led to the indictment of former Honolulu Mayor Frank Fasi on bribery charges, Dooley has focused his career on digging deep into Hawaii organized crime and yakuza, government contracting fraud, Teamsters Union movie driver violence, Bishop Estate/Kamehameha Schools, police corruption and secret land ownership huis in Hawaii whose members included political, judicial and criminal syndicate figures.

There are major Big Island connections to his latest saga, so you won’t want to miss it!

Event is scheduled for Friday, April 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at restaurant Kenichi, 684 Kilauea Ave. in Hilo, across from the Circuit Courthouse. Tickets are $20 for BIPC members, $25 for nonmembers. Buffet lunch includes chicken katsu, furikake panko salmon, yakisoba, salad, vegetable, beverage.

Register and pay online at http://jimdooley.eventbrite.com

Pay with a credit card or PayPal (small surcharge applies) or send a check to reach BIPC by Wednesday, April 20, to Big Island Press Club, P.O. Box 1920, Hilo, HI 96721.

Hawaii State Department of Health’s Restaurant Inspection Website Goes Live

The Hawaii State Department of Health has launched a new online portal that lets consumers see how Hawaii restaurants and other food service organizations fare in food safety inspections, starting first with Oahu inspection data.

As of 4/11/2016, I was not able to access the site.

Access to data from food safety inspection reports, complete with descriptions of violations, gives consumers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at food safety and sanitation practices — or a lack of them — at the food outlets they frequent.

“We’re taking transparency to an entirely new level,” said Peter Oshiro, who manages the food safety inspection program. “Information from the inspection reports empowers consumers and informs their choices.”

The online portal, which has taken nearly a year to develop and refine, is a companion component to the Hawaii State Department of Health’s placard program, which was launched in July 2014. Under the placard program, food outlets are given a green, yellow or red placards, and are required to post them in visible location at their entrances.

The color-coded placards indicate whether a food establishment has passed its health inspection, received a conditional pass, or has been closed due to permit suspension. Restaurants are fined for not posting them.

“Data from the inspection reports give consumers the details behind the green, yellow or red placards, which many have become accustomed to seeing near the entrances of restaurants or other places that serve food,” Oshiro said.

“Our observant inspectors are capturing every detail for their reports using established science-based criteria,” he added. “With this degree of disclosure, we believe the online reports will make restaurants and other food service organizations pay closer attention to their food safety and sanitation practices.”

Just as the publicly-posted placards provide an incentive for restaurants and other food service organizations to rectify any food-handling or other safety issues, the publicly-available data from the inspection reports are expected to motivate restaurants to take a closer look at their own practices since these reports become a permanent, historical record accessible to the public.

“About 25 percent of the locations we inspect receive a yellow card. We hope to see this rate steadily decline with this new website,” Oshiro said. “We can now show what a bad inspection looks like on a public site. This should be a great catalyst for the industry to improve their food safety practices and make internal quality control a priority before our inspections.”

Oshiro’s team has manually posted all of the previous Oahu inspections to the public portal and currently has nearly 7,000 inspection reports in the database. This represents about 80 percent of all the inspections completed statewide since the program began in July 2014. Oshiro anticipates the remaining Oahu inspection reports will be uploaded by May 2016. Past neighbor island inspections will be uploaded by the end of the year. Going forward, all inspection reports from all islands will be posted in near real-time, depending upon the availability of secure, wireless access.

More than 10,000 food establishments statewide prepare or serve food and require a Department of Health permit to operate their business. There are roughly 6,000 such establishments on Oahu, 1,800 on Hawaii Island, 1,700 on Maui, and 700 on Kauai. This includes restaurants, hotels, caterers, food warehouses, markets, convenience stores, lunch wagons, push carts, and institutional kitchens for healthcare facilities, schools, adult and child day care centers, and prisons.

The Hawaii State Department of Health began posting color-coded placards as part of the state’s “Food Safety Code” (Hawaii Administrative Rules, Title 11, Chapter 50, Food Safety Code) adopted in 2014. The placards are posted after each health inspection is completed at every food establishment that holds a Department of Health permit.

The Hawaii restaurant inspection website is at http://hi.healthinspections.us/hawaii.