Summer Italian Food and Wine Celebration

The alluring Italian wines of Veneto, Sicilia, Toscana and Piedmonte are paired with the innovative cuisine of guest Chef Nick Mastrascusa Monday, Aug. 4 at Pueo’s Osteria’s Summer Italian Food and Wine Celebration. The fun and festive event is 5-9 p.m. at the popular Waikoloa Highlands Center restaurant. All food and wine specials can be ordered a la carte, in addition to the regular menu.

Rupert Billings

Rupert Billins

Certified wine educator Rupert Billins, southwest regional manager of Dalla Terra Winery Direct, will lead an engaging dialogue on the evening’s six fine wines that hail from four Italian regions. A native of England and resident of San Francisco, Billins has authored articles and taught classes on Italy’s vintages throughout the U.S. David Ellis “Waimea Dave” of Southern Wine and Spirits is joining in the fun.

Attendees can watch Chef Nick in the dining room at an exciting Bruschetta Action Station where he will prepare three different bruschettas available individually or as a trio of three. Enjoy Chef’s specialized cuisine created for the evening like Squid Ink Spaghettini with fresh, seared, wild-caught opelu and Kauai shrimp. Other tasty pasta dishes include Veal and Hamakua Mushroom Tortelloni and Braised Oxtail with kabocha pumpkin risotto.

“Chef Nick will combine fresh ingredients sourced from the weekend’s farmers markets with the finest Italian products we regularly use here at the restaurant,” details Pueo’s Executive Chef James Babian. “Rupert will introduce two new wines, including one using nero mascalese grapes from Mt. Etna.”

Mastrascusa is executive chef at Kukio Resort and former executive chef at Four Season’s Hualalai’s Beach Tree restaurant. He honed his culinary skills at Florida’s Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and the Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach. Chef Nick grew up in Uruguay and credits his grandparents, who immigrated from Sicily and Spain, for inspiring his passion for cooking.

Pueo’s GM Kurt Umehara and Proprietor Christine Babian will serve as the evening’s hosts. Reservations are recommended by calling 808-339-7566.

Pueo’s Osteria is an Italian-inspired restaurant providing enticing regional, seasonal and artisanal cuisine in Waikoloa Village above the Kohala Coast. The menu focuses on the finest Italian products paired with seafood, produce and meats sourced from boutique farms, including “farm-fresh” products from Hawaii’s hard-working food producers. Pueo’s is open nightly, focusing on dinner and late-night eats served until midnight. Reservations appreciated, 808-339-7566. www.pueososteria.com.

“The Feeding Leaf” – New Culinary Partnership Features Hawai’i Island Food From the Source

“He lau ma‘ona” is a Hawaiian expression that means “the leaf that feeds until satisfied,”referring to the kalo plant, a key food source from root to tip. As the new name for an up-and-coming culinary partnership, “The Feeding Leaf” means sharing food rooted in culture, prepared and served with a high level of artistry.

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi'o Valley.  Anna Pacheco Photography

Chef Scott Hiraishi and Tracey Apoliona of The Feeding Leaf, on a learning excursion into Waipi’o Valley. Anna Pacheco Photography

The Feeding Leaf’s culinary partnership—Chef Scott Hiraishi and mulit-talented event planner Tracey Apoliona—make a strong team, cumulatively bringing decades of creative organizational and culinary skills to the table. Now working with clients on a variety of private parties and social functions, The Feeding Leaf focuses, almost exclusively, on Hawaii’s wealth of local foods.

The idea began with the Hawai‘i Island Ranchers Dinner at Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai last March. Hiraishi was Executive Chef, and took a leadership role on the event, supported by Chef Sam. Working with partners in the agricultural and education community, the Ranchers Dinner promoted their joint mission to not only “grow farmers” by nurturing agriculture, but to “grow chefs” who will use these excellent regional foods in their restaurants.

Energized by the sold-out dinner’s success, Hiraishi and Apoliona began to think about a partnership of their own, while planning for the “Roast & Roots” event, collaborating with Hawai‘i Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools—Land Asset Division, and the Department of Agriculture. Held July 19 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay – Convention Center, Roast & Roots was the perfect stage to premier “The Feeding Leaf.”

“We want people to understand that there’s a real and significant difference between mainstream and local foods,” said Tracey. “We want the farmers and ranchers to be appreciated for the work they do. We’ve gone to their farms and ranches, and met the people behind the food.”

“Farmers know Scott, and they are understanding of his style of cooking,” said Tracey. “No matter where we go—for example when we went to farmers markets to do food demos—they bring their products and want to give him something to try in his recipes.”

A trip into Waipi’o Valley for a photo shoot turned into an education opportunity, as the crew ventured into the ancient lo‘i amdist centuries-old rock walls. “It was pouring rain and we were drenched, but it all kind of fell into place,” said Tracey. Traditional Hawaiian farmers believed water is life. “It was almost as if Waipi‘o was giving us water, trying to feed us so we could go back and feed other people… The Feeding Leaf is a very good vehicle to teach, not just others, but to teach ourselves,” said Tracey.

Already active in Hawaii’s culinary scene, Hirasishi has been invited to cook for Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival’s exclusive “Pā‘ina on the Pier” event on O‘ahu. And, The Feeding Leaf will participate in Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range, Friday, September 26, 5-8 p.m. at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Now accepting bookings for the holiday period and beyond, The Feeding Leaf looks forward to bringing Hawaii-raised food to a higher elevation for quality private parties, wine events, weddings, birthdays and other happy occasions. For more information, contact Tracey Apoliona, (808) 960-3094 or Scott Hiraishi, (808) 987-9794, thefeedingleaf@gmail.com, visit www.thefeedingleaf.com, or Facebook.com/thefeedingleaf.

HCA Taps Statewide Cupping Winners at 19th Annual Confab

The Hawaii Coffee Association (HCA) celebrated its 19th Annual Conference and 6th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition July 18-20 at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay located in the world-famous Kona Coffee Belt.

Cupping

The HCA divided more than 82 entries assembled from across the state into two categories: Creative and Commercial. Qualifying for the Commercial division means that at least 1,000 lbs of the entered coffee is available for sale as of April 15.

In the Creative Division, four of the top 10 coffees hailed from Ka’u, including the top two: Ali’i Hawaiian Hula Hands Coffee earned a score of 88.7 out of a possible 100; followed by FL Farm of Wood Valley with a score of 88.5

In the Commercial Division, five of the top 10 coffees were proudly grown in Kona with Aloha Hills Kona Coffee and Maui Grown Coffee tying for the top spot with a score of 87.3. The second spot went Kona’s Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation earning a score of 87.0.

The HCA also presented awards to the highest scoring coffees entered from each of the eight growing districts from across the state. These include Hamakua, Hawai‘i, Ka’u, Kaua‘i, Kona, Maui, O‘ahu and Moloka‘i.

One Heart Farm of Hamakua was the finest coffee sampled from that verdant district, while Hilo Coffee Mill received top honors in the Hawai‘i district tallying a score of 87.2. Kauai Coffee Company captured the top spot for that origin and Kona Mountain Coffee was judged as the premier entry from Kona with a score of 87.4. The award for the highest scoring coffee from Maui was Keokea Farms with their organic entry of Typica, Kent and Caturra varietals with a score of 88.4.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, ‘mouth-feel’, acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Complete results can be found at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

“I am very impressed with the quality of the coffees coming out of all of the districts. It just keeps getting better”, said David Gridley of Maui, HCA’s Cupping Committee chair. “I applaud all the coffee farmers of Hawai‘i for their remarkable efforts”

Veteran cupper Warren Muller said “The competition was very close” noting an overall increase in scores among a broad spectrum of coffees. “But some just jumped off the table” referring to the outstanding quality of this year’s crop. He remarked that the upward trend signifies continuous improvement and that experimentation was evident in new varietals and processing methods.

The HCA also hosted a Reverse Trade Mission designed to expand markets in Canada. Inbound missionaries included buyers, brokers, industry media and professionals.

HCA members elected a new Board of Directors to include two new representatives in Big Island Coffee Roasters of Mountain View and Isla Custom Coffees of Pahala.

Outgoing two-term President Greg Stille of Maui was replaced by incoming President Jim Wayman of Hawaii Coffee Company in Honolulu.

The HCA Annual Conference was followed on Saturday by the inaugural Roast & Roots event hosting nearly 1,000 attendees. This new event featured notable local chefs participating in culinary demonstrations and competitions and included a People’s Choice coffee tasting won by Rusty’s Hawaiian 100% Ka’u Coffee of Pahala. Roast & Roots represents a partnership between the Hawaii Coffee Association, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i’s Department of Agriculture through its ‘Buy Local it Matters’ campaign.

Sunday’s activities included a bus tour of area farms and processing facilities.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers.  The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. This annual conference has continued to grow each year and has gained increased international attention.

For more information visit Hawaii Coffee Association’s website at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

19th Annual Huggo’s Wahine Tournament Coming Up

The 19th Annual Huggo’s Wahine Tournament is coming up Saturday, July 26, 2014.

Click for more information

Click for more information

This year’s theme, The Great Gatsby, celebrates the Roaring Twenties, when jazz, gin and fun loving flapper women captured America’s heart. This entertaining and competitive fishing tournament is a summer tradition in Kona and is limited to 75 lady angler teams, so women are encouraged to sign up early. Festivities kick off with a party on Friday, July 25, at Huggo’s On the Rocks, and fishing starts in Kailua Bay, Saturday, July 26 starting at 8:00 am.  4:00 PM is the end of the fishing day, and weigh-ins of the days catch can be seen at Honokohau Harbor, Charter Desk.

Proceeds from the tournament are donated to Family Support Hawaii (FSH), a Hawaii Island United Way agency.

“We always look forward to July when we host our annual Wahine Tournament,” said Huggo’s owner Eric von Platen Luder. “For almost 20 years, this fun, charity-focused tournament has donated nearly $150,000 to Family Support Hawaii. We’re thankful that through the community’s support of the event, Family Support Hawaii can make a difference in people’s lives.”

All-women anglers are competing for cash prizes that will be awarded to the teams with the biggest marlin/billfish weighing more than 300 pounds. Separate categories for most released marlin, ahi, ono, and mahi mahi will receive trophies for the largest catch.

The Huggo’s Wahine Tournament also rewards style and panache with prizes and cash awarded to the best decorated boat and team costumes. Awards will be announced at a special presentation Sunday evening, July 27 at On the Rocks. For tournament information including registration, visit Huggos.com

Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

Hawaiian papaya and banana growers have joined cattlemen and floral producers to fight a ban on open-air growing and testing of genetically modified crops imposed by the Hawaii County Council.

The ban exempts existing papaya crops and growers. However, no new acres can be planted, according to the case filed June 9 in federal court. Hawaii County includes the entire Island of Hawaii. A scheduling hearing is set Sept. 8.

Growers say the ban — known as Bill 113 — conflicts with state and federal laws and is unconstitutional, according to the case filed by the Hawaii Papaya Industry Association (HPIA) and the Big Island Banana Growers Association. Other plaintiffs joining in the case include the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, the Pacific Floral Exchange and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The Hawaii County Council approved Bill 113 in December with a 6-3 vote. It requires existing GMO growers to annually register and pay a $100 fee. In another court action, a judge recently ruled the county cannot make public growers’ personal information and specific field locations collected in the registry.

Growers challenged publication of the registry saying it would encourage vandalism, which has previously resulted in crop destruction.

Hawaii’s papaya industry was nearly destroyed by ringspot virus in the early 1990s, and development of the Rainbow variety was the industry’s answer. The Rainbow variety passed federal review and was first planted in 1998. According to court documents, at least 85% of the papaya crop grown on Hawaii Island is Rainbow.

“Bill 113 has stigmatized HPIA members by conveying a false message that (GMO) crops and plants harm human health and the environment and has imposed other costs on HPIA,” according to the lawsuit.

Banana growers, including Richard Ha who is a plaintiff in the federal case, contend they need the option to test and possibly plant GMO bananas to mitigate threats from bunchy top virus and other diseases.

More here: Cattlemen Sue Hawaii County Over GMO Ban

DOE Releases Income Eligibility Guidelines for Free and Reduced-Price Meals

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) is announcing its policy for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Copies of the policy are available at public schools.

Children from households with income at or below the following levels are eligible for free or reduced-price meals:

INCOME CHART: Effective from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

INCOME CHART: Effective from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out one application and return it to the school where the child is enrolled or complete an online application via ezmealapp.com. Applications for the current school year (2014-2015) are now being accepted. The application information will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials.

For DOE officials to determine eligibility, households receiving SNAP or TANF must list the child’s name, date of birth, grade, school code and their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: 1) the names of everyone in the household; 2) the amount of income received by each person, how often the income is received and the source of the income; 3) the name and social security number of either parent/guardian who is the primary wage earner or the adult household member who signs the form or the word “none” if neither adult household member has a social security number; and 4) the signature of an adult household member.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the DOE will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request for a hearing on the decision in writing to:

Name of Hearing Official: Glenna Owens, SFA Director
Address: 1106 Koko Head Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816

Phone Number: (808) 733-8414 or toll-free 1-800-441-4845

In certain cases foster children are also eligible for school meal benefits. If a household has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for them, the household should contact the school for more information.

The information provided by the household is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.

“Roast & Roots” Announces Team Pairings

The oven mitts are off and the toques thrown in the ring, for the “Roast & Roots” chef-student culinary competition, July 19, 2014 at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay – Convention Center. Six teams, pairing some of Hawai‘i Island’s best professional chefs with students from Hawai‘i Community College at the University of Hawai‘i Center, West Hawaiʻi (HCC-UH), Waiakea, Kealakehe and Konawaena High Schools, will take aim at the greatest taste to take home the gold.

Roots

Their main ingredients are, of course, fresh, island-grown proteins—grassfed beef from Hawaii Beef Producers, local pork from Kulana Foods and farm-raised lamb from Waiakea Uka Ranch, fresh ahi from Suisan—plus an abundance of fresh local produce from Adaptations Farms, Living Aquaponics and others. All recipes must incorporate Hawai‘i Coffee, provided by Kaiwi Farms.

Teams and protein selections are as follows:

  • Team Umeke’s – Chef Owner Nakoa Pabre with David Hickey, HCC-UHC Culinary Student (Protein: Flank Steak)
  • Team Hualalai Resort -Chef James Ebreo with AJ Andres, HCC-UHC Culinary Student (Protein: Beef Short Ribs)
  • Team Broke Da Mouth Grindz – Chef Owner Robin Ganir with Maileen Nakashima (Waiakea HS) and Kialoha (Konawaena HS) (Protein: Pork)
  • Team Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay – Chef Matt Naula with Chris Lubke and Tali Kaleai (Konawaena HS) (Protein: Pork)
  • Team King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel – Chef George Gomes with Cameron Linden (HCC-UHC Culinary Student) & Jessica Lloyd (Kealakehe HS Graduate) (Protein: Leg of Lamb)
  • Team Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows – Chef Clayton Arakawa with Adriana Rubio and Moani (Konawaena HS) (Protein: Ahi)

Emcee for the culinary portion, Chef Sam Choy will kick off with a “mystery box” demo, preparing a dish on the spot, from ingredients revealed only when he opens the box onstage. Chef Scott Hiraishi, of the new Feeding Leaf culinary partnership, will serve as Co-chair for the event.

Hosted by Hawai‘i Coffee Association (HCA) in alignment with their 19th annual conference, Roast & Roots is a collaborative project between HCA, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Events of the day include a “Buy Local” MarketPlace, Coffee Corridor, exciting People’s Choice Cupping Contest, the Culinary Competition and music by Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winner Mark Yamanaka, Kaleo Perry and Dennis Garcia, leading up to Hawaii’s Female Vocalist of the Year, Raiatea Helm, at 2 p.m.

Mark Yamanaka

Mark Yamanaka at the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards

Part of the Hawai‘i Coffee Association’s three-day annual conference, Roast & Roots invites the general public to experience some of HCA’s exciting and educational activities, as well as the expertise of Hawaii’s statewide coffee industry growers, processors, roasters, wholesalers and retailers. The annual conference includes workshops and seminars covering coffee cupping packaging, certification, legislative and industry updates, with complete schedule available at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

Admission to Roast & Roots is $5 per person, free for anyone under 17—including Culinary Demonstration, Marketplace and Raiatea Helm Concert. No advance ticket sales. For more information, please contact Event Coordinator Tracey Apoliona, mkc01@hawaii.rr.com, (808) 960-3094 or visit www.Facebook.com/RoastandRoots.

“ROAST & ROOTS” – Mark Yamanaka and Raiatea Helm to Perform at Festival of Hawai‘i Flavors

Capping off a festive celebration of Hawaii’s most ‘ono foods and coffees, Grammy nominee and twice Female Vocalist of the Year, Raiatea Helm is the icing on the cake. The first-ever “Roast & Roots” food event on Saturday, July 19, 2014, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay’s Convention Center, serves up a family-friendly festival with arts and food booths, cooking demos, competitions and all-day entertainment, wrapped up with an intimate concert in the afternoon.

Roast & Roots

Hosted by Hawai‘i Coffee Association (HCA) in alignment with their 19th annual conference, Roast & Roots is a collaborative project between HCA, Kamehameha Schools and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. Events of the day include a “Buy Local” MarketPlace, Coffee Corridor, exciting People’s Choice Cupping Contest, a “mystery box” demo by Chef Sam Choy, and an exciting Chef-Student Culinary Competition. Abundant entertainment throughout the day includes music by Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winner Mark Yamanaka, Kaleo Perry and Dennis Garcia, leading up to Raiatea Helm in concert at 2 p.m.

Mark Yamanaka

Mark Yamanaka at the 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards

Known for her soaring lyrics and intricate musicianship, Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm is winner of eight Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation fellowship in music. Beginning her musical career in high school, Helm has captured hearts in Hawai‘i and across the continent and the Pacific, playing to packed houses in Tahiti, Japan and China. Adding her Hawaiian musical flavor to the event seasons it with everything Hawai‘i Island loves: great food, music and family fun.

In the hours leading up to Helm’s performance, families and friends will have numerous opportunities to taste and purchase local food products and peruse the works of Island artisans, including those in the Kona Coffee community in the Coffee Corridor. Additionally, food booths presented by the host hotel and participating chefs and restaurants offer a delicious sampling of dishes from regional ingredients on land and sea.

Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm

Raiatea Mokihana Maile Helm

Highlighting the Culinary Competition, Roast & Roots pairs up six local chefs with six culinary students from Hawaiʻi Community College at the University of Hawai‘i Center, West Hawaiʻi and Konawaena, Kealakehe and Waiakea High Schools. Teams will use local Hawai‘i Island proteins such as grassfed beef from Hawaii Beef Producers, local pork from Kulana Foods and farm-raised lamb from Waiakea Uka Ranch and a fresh bounty of local Hawai‘i Island produce, to put their best plates forward.

Emcee for the culinary portion, Chef Sam Choy will share his mana‘o with the audience, and has offered to do a “live mystery box” demo, where he will prepare a dish on the spot, using ingredients that are secret to him until the box is opened onstage. Chef Scott Hiraishi will serve as the Lead Judge and Co-chair for the event. Student and chef pairings will be announced early in July.

Mayor Kenoi talks with Sam Choy outside the Sam Choy Poke Contest.

Mayor Kenoi talks with Sam Choy outside the Sam Choy Poke Contest.

Part of the Hawai‘i Coffee Association’s three-day annual conference, Roast & Roots invites the general public to experience some of HCA’s exciting and educational activities, as well as the expertise of Hawaii’s statewide coffee industry growers, processors, roasters, wholesalers and retailers. The annual conference includes workshops and seminars covering coffee cupping packaging, certification, legislative and industry updates, including reports from UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC).

Admission at the door is $5 per person, free for anyone under 17—includes Culinary Demonstration, Marketplace and Raiatea Helm Concert. No advance ticket sales. For more information, please contact Event Coordinator Tracey Apoliona, mkc01@hawaii.rr.com, (808) 960-3094 or visit www.Facebook.com/RoastandRoots.

24th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference Coming Up

The 24th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference is September 12-14 at the Kahili Golf Course. All attendees registering before August 1 enjoy a discounted fee of up to $75; visit hawaiitropicalfruitgrowers.org for details.

Geared to farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture, the weeklong event is presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and open to the public.

The conference is titled “It’s All About Production” and offers a variety of breakout sessions, plus visiting researchers and agro experts.

Roger Leakey

Roger Leakey

Professor Roger Leakey, crop physiologist, will give the keynote address, “The Domestication of Tropical Trees as New Fruit and Nut Crops.” Dr. Leakey is the former director of research at the International Center for Research in Agroforestry and professor of agroecology and sustainable development of James Cook University in Australia.

Other speakers include tree-pruning expert Dr. Yoshimi Yonemoto of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences, who will offer “Training and Pruning for Production,” He will demonstrate how to keep mangos under 5 feet tall and produce copious amount of fruits, while Dr. John Preece of the USDA and National Clonal Germplasm Repository in California will discuss “Vegetative Propagation of Difficult Woody Plants.”

Considered the world’s leading expert on post-harvest technology, the University of Hawai’i’s Dr. Robert Paull will do a dinner presentation on “Phenology, Productivity and Profits.”

Ken Love of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers displays varieties of mangos grown in Hawaii.

Ken Love of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers displays varieties of mangos grown in Hawaii.

HTFG Executive Director Ken Love says intimate breakout sessions will cover specific crops, while delving into a wide range of topics like “Selling to Whole Foods” by Steve Carey and “Soil Vitality and On-Farm Mentoring” by Vince Mina. Breakout presenters include Scot Nelson, Gabe Sachter-Smith, Craig Elevitch, Tom Baldwin, Brian Lievens, Leakey, Yonemoto, Preece and Paull. In addition, there will be Sunday roundtable and panel discussion touching on marketing and “Where Do We Go from Here?”

The annual gathering continues September 15-19 with day-long mini sessions in Molokai, Oahu, Kauai, Hilo and Kona. Mini-conferences will include presentations by speakers, plus on-site visits to member’s farms and greenhouses.

Registration forms and fee schedule are available at www.htfg.org or by contacting Love at kenlove@hawaiiantel.net or Mark Suiso at suiso@aloha.net.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bills in Support of Agriculture

Joined by Board of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright, legislators and Hawaii agriculture industry stakeholders, Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday signed six agriculture and land-related measures into law that address agricultural enterprises, invasive species, the makeup of the state Land Board, and clarifications to the agricultural cost tax credit. Ag Bill Signing

“Agriculture is a crucial component of our state’s sustainability, essential to keeping our dollars here in Hawaii and supporting thriving rural communities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These bills are important for the defense of our unique ecosystem, natural resources and economy. It is also our duty to care and protect the land beneath our feet, which gives us life and defines our culture.”

Click here for the list of bills

After signing what are now Acts 100 through 105, the Governor proclaimed June 16-22, 2014, “Pollinator Week in Hawaii,” coinciding with National Pollinator Week. The observance is held to promote awareness of valuable crop pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, beetles, ants and flies, with benefits ranging from crop pollination to ensuring healthy watershed.

Since 2010, the Abercrombie Administration has built a substantial record of achievement in support of agriculture and the people of Hawaii. Learn more about these and other accomplishments here.

 

Subsidy Program to Combat Coffee Berry Borer Signed Into Law

Coffee growers to receive direct financial assistance to control infestation

House Bill 1514, a measure introduced by Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6-Kailua Kona, Holualoa) to combat the devastating effects of the coffee berry borer (CBB) infestation, was signed into law today by Governor Neil Abercrombie.

The law creates a five-year subsidy program under the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to grant subsidies for coffee farmers to assist in offsetting the costs of combating the coffee berry borer beetle. The law also includes $500,000 in funding for the program.

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

“Subsidy programs like this have helped in other coffee-growing regions to provide an incentive for farmers to adopt best practices, and I’m hopeful that it will do the same in Kona.  Direct assistance from the State is critical for our coffee farmers, and this bill accomplishes that,” said Rep. Lowen.

Under the program, a single coffee farmer may receive reimbursement for the expense of the organic fungus used to control the pest of up to $600 per year per acre of land in coffee production, but not more than $9,000 per year. The legislation will go into effect on July 1, 2014.

In recent years the coffee berry borer beetle has become a major threat to Hawaii’s coffee industry, which is responsible for $30 million in revenue annually.  Past efforts by Representative Lowen have provided additional funds of $800,000 funds to help mitigate and study the infestation. This program will further help protect and maintain Hawaii’s coffee industry.

Hilo Coffee Mill Owners Put Business, Land Up for Sale

After 14 years in business, the founders of one of the Big Island’s most iconic “farm to cup” coffee operations have decided it’s time for someone else to take the reins.

The Hilo Coffee Mill

The Hilo Coffee Mill

“We’re finally ready to pursue other passions” said Katherine Patton, who started the business with partner Jeanette Baysa back in 2001.

Patton and Baysa, who both held successful careers prior to getting into the coffee business, spent more than a decade developing a 23.86-acre parcel of raw land in Mountain View into a full-scale coffee business, complete with roasting facilities, a certified kitchen and a retail shop along one of the busiest highways in the state of Hawai`i.

The partners estimate there are now more than 6,000 actively producing coffee trees supplying their wholesale, retail and online operations. The pair also provide much-needed roasting services for farms around the island.

Hilo Coffee Mill’s retail shop offers fresh-roasted beans for sale, and a full-service espresso bar which has become a favorite watering hole for locals, and a frequent stop for tour groups and visitors making day trips to Volcanoes National Park. The business was awarded TripAdvisor’s “Certificate of Excellence” award for 2013 and 2014.

Kelly Moran, Principle Broker of Hilo Brokers, Ltd, described the business location as a potential “gold mine.”

“It can take years of effort to get a retail location on Ag land properly permitted along a busy highway”, said Moran, who added “millions of visitors pass through this area, and for the right entrepreneur, there is serious money to be made.”

Hilo Brokers, Ltd currently has the business and surrounding acreage listed for sale at $1,495,000. The operation is being sold “turn-key”, with transitional training provided for new owners.

When asked what their plans are once the business is sold, Baysa responded, “We’d like to pursue other passions, like retirement. The last 13 years have passed by so quickly, we barely even noticed.”

Big Island Farmers File Federal Complaint About GMO Bill

We’re Standing United with Agriculture to Protect the Future of Farming in Hawaii

Papaya Trees Destroyed by Machete in Puna

Papaya Trees Destroyed by Machete in Puna

“Our organization is participating in this lawsuit because we have cause and want to stand with farmers, ranchers and growers when unfair and unnecessary laws and regulations threaten our livelihood.

“Bill 113 will make it illegal to grow some genetically modified (GM) plants, including valuable food and feed crops and flowers. By prohibiting the use of these crops that have been deemed by the government and scientific experts to be perfectly safe, Bill 113 is a direct assault on our ‘right to farm’ and essentially criminalizes those who rely on the tools of modern biotechnology to foster productivity.”

“United we stand, divided we fall”

Background:

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

Plaintiffs represent a broad cross-section of Hawaii Island farmers and related businesses that rely on GE crops, including disease-resistant papaya, as well as technology companies that develop, test, and commercialize valuable, new GE agricultural products.

Farmers and Agriculture Associations are standing United; participating in this suit, which seeks to invalidate and enjoin the County of Hawaii from enforcing County Ordinance 13-121 (“Bill 113”).  The suit alleges that the bill:

  • is preempted under federal law
  • is preempted under state law
  • violates the Interstate Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution
  • presents a regulatory taking in violation of the HI Constitution

Plaintiffs include:

  • Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association
  • Hawaii Papaya Industry Association
  • Big Island Banana Growers Association
  • Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council
  • Biotechnology Industry Organization
  • Pacific Floral Exchange
  • Richard Ha
  • Jason Moniz
  • Gordon Inouye
  • Eric Tanouye

Key Points:

  • Bill 113 cripples farmers’ current and future ability to farm GE crops, imposes extreme burdens on local agriculture and violates Federal and Hawaii law.
  • Despite the central role of GE crops in modern commercial agriculture and their long history of safe use in Hawaii and around the world, Bill 113 imposes a near-blanket ban on new cultivation, propagation, development, and open-air testing of such crops in the County.

Bill 113 is backed by no findings or evidence that GE crops are in any way harmful, or in any way endanger the local environment.

Using the “precautionary principle,” Bill 113 is in direct conflict with determinations made by expert federal agencies, and seeks to outlaw agricultural activities that the federal government has specifically authorized following thorough scientific reviews.

  • Farming GE crops has also long been a generally accepted agricultural practice locally and GE crops have been vitally important to the County of Hawaii.

In the 1990s, Hawaii’s papaya industry was devastated by the ringspot virus. The development of a GE variety of papaya that is resistant to the virus is widely credited with saving the industry.

The resulting Rainbow GE variety of papaya now accounts for approximately 85 percent of papaya grown in the County and is widely sold throughout the United States and in other nations.

County farmers support federally-approved testing to develop new disease-resistant papaya and banana plants and floral varieties that resist harmful insect pests and bacteria.

  • GE crops not only help farmers, but contribute to food security for the island. By banning any use of new GE crops, Hawaii consumers can expect increases in food costs, business costs, and pesticide use.
  • If farmers in Hawaii are unable to farm efficiently and productively, more costly foods will need to be imported.
  • The State of Hawaii has deemed the promotion of “diversified agriculture” a vital public interest. This principle is enshrined in the Constitution of Hawaii, which expressly directs the State – not the counties – to conserve and protect agricultural and farming resources.

COEXISTENCE:

Individual farmers routinely incorporate multiple production practices within a single operation.  Coexistence is not about health or safety; it is about finding ways to improve working relationships when different production systems are used in close proximity.

SAFETY:

Every GE crop on the market today was thoroughly evaluated by government scientific experts, often at as many as three different federal regulatory agencies, through a complex multiyear scientific review process.

Not only have GE crops been deemed safe by expert federal agencies, but multiple other governmental and non-governmental agencies have reached the same conclusions, including the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the European Commission, and the British Medical Association.

More than 600 peer-reviewed scientific reports document the safety of GE foods.

GENERA a project by BIOFORTIFIDE to create a searchable database to more than 2000 studies on biotechnology in Food and agriculture.

TRANSPARENCY:

We understand people have questions about how their food is grown. We need to have the discussion before we prematurely make laws that cripple the Future of Farmers and unfairly target growers using technology. While industry will stand with growers and challenge unfair and unlawful ordinances like Bill 113, we urge people to visit the GMO Answers website (http://gmoanswers.com) to get more information about the products of biotechnology.

The Rainbow Papaya that saved Hawaii’s papaya industry was genetically engineered to resist the ringspot virus. See how it was done by viewing this video on gmoanswers.com.

Five Big Island Organizations Awarded Aloha Grown Malama Honua Award

A total of five (5) Big Island organizations were awarded with the 2014 Aloha Grown Malama Honua Award. Each received a $500 award towards a specific project, program or initiative that embodies Aloha Grown’s philosophy to “Support Local, Sustain the Aina & Share the Aloha.”

From L-R (front row): Katie Arrayan (ʻAlo Kēhau parent), Ikaika Arrayan (ʻAlo Kēhau kindergarten student), Kaui Takamine (ʻAlo Kēhau 1st grade student), Kaweloanu Castro (ʻAlo Kēhau kindergarten student), Kekapalehua Castro (Pūnana Leo preschooler), Kaiea Akau LaClair (Pūnana Leo preschooler), and Kalua Castro (ʻAlo Kēhau and Pūnana Leo parent). From L-R (back row):  Camille Kalahiki (Parker Ranch Store - Assistant Manager), Leilani Griego (ʻAlo Kēhau parent), Uilani Macabio (ʻAlo Kēhau – Parent & Office Staff), Kanalu Lacy (ʻAlo Kēhau 2nd grade student), Laʻakea Takamine (ʻAlo Kēhau 3rd grade student), Koʻiawe Griego (ʻAlo Kēhau 3rd grade student), Jane Lee (Kohala Elementary School Discovery Garden – FoodCorps Service Member), Maluhia O`Donnell (Pūnana Leo – Site Coordinator), and Tracey Akau (Parker Ranch Store - Manager).

From L-R (front row): Katie Arrayan (ʻAlo Kēhau parent), Ikaika Arrayan (ʻAlo Kēhau kindergarten student), Kaui Takamine (ʻAlo Kēhau 1st grade student), Kaweloanu Castro (ʻAlo Kēhau kindergarten student), Kekapalehua Castro (Pūnana Leo preschooler), Kaiea Akau LaClair (Pūnana Leo preschooler), and Kalua Castro (ʻAlo Kēhau and Pūnana Leo parent).  From L-R (back row): Camille Kalahiki (Parker Ranch Store – Assistant Manager), Leilani Griego (ʻAlo Kēhau parent), Uilani Macabio (ʻAlo Kēhau – Parent & Office Staff), Kanalu Lacy (ʻAlo Kēhau 2nd grade student), Laʻakea Takamine (ʻAlo Kēhau 3rd grade student), Koʻiawe Griego (ʻAlo Kēhau 3rd grade student), Jane Lee (Kohala Elementary School Discovery Garden – FoodCorps Service Member), Maluhia O`Donnell (Pūnana Leo – Site Coordinator), and Tracey Akau (Parker Ranch Store – Manager).

Congratulations to the following 2014 Malama Honua Award recipients! Following are their projects/programs that promote sustainability (in alphabetical order):

  • Alo Kehau o ka Aina Mauna – “Malama Puu” project
  • Kohala Elementary School – “Discovery Garden” project
  • Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School – “Farm to School” program
  • Naalehu School Garden – “Aquaponics Garden Unit” project
  • Punana Leo o Waimea – “Malaai expansion” project

“We were extremely pleased to once again see such a great response to our Aloha Grown Malama Honua Fund program,” said Aloha Grown Store Manager Tyler Owens. “We received a number of applications and essays from well-deserving organizations.”

Parker Ranch Store Manager Tracey Akau noted, “it was inspiring to see how many organizations are committed to sustainability efforts in our Big Island communities.”

Aloha Grown is committed to supporting sustainability efforts in Hawaii. Two percent of every Aloha Grown sale goes to the Malama Honua Fund, which then awards local nonprofits, schools, organizations and initiatives with similar sustainability missions.

To view the essays submitted by all 2014 Malama Honua Award recipients, visit www.alohagrown.com/malama-honua-fund.html

For more information on Aloha Grown, visit www.alohagrown.com.

What Do Kona and Mississippi Have in Common? BEER!

Kona Brewing Company has announced it has added Mississippi to its distribution lineup, rounding the Hawaiian craft brewer’s total offering up to 40 US states.

Kona BeersAs of early May 2014, bars, restaurants, specialty beer shops, liquor stores and regional grocery store chains have been making Kona brews available in key cities including Jackson, Hattiesburg, Gulfport, and Biloxi. Craft beer lovers can find Liquid Aloha nearest to them by going to www.konabrewingco.com and clicking on the beer finder link.

Longboard Island Lager, Kona Brewing Company’s flagship beer will be available in 12oz bottles and on draught throughout the state. In addition to Longboard Lager, Kona Brewing offers Big Wave Golden Ale, Fire Rock Pale Ale, as well as the newly available Castaway IPA, which made its debut on the mainland in April, 2014.

Aaron Marion, Kona Brewing brand manager said: “Mississippi is a great state for handcrafted beer, and it’s amazing to see how excited Mississippians are about Kona’s arrival. The warmth and openness of Southern hospitality goes perfectly with the Liquid Aloha lifestyle.”

The Hawaii-based brewery is celebrating its 20-year anniversary in 2014, and is proud to be one of the fastest growing craft brewers in the country, at double the growth rate of the craft beer category.

 

Farm to Table Benefit for Kahilu Theatre and PA‘I Foundation

Farm to table will take on new meaning at the Farm to Table benefit event for Kahilu Theatre and PA‘I Foundation on June 1st: all the food – meats, dairy products and produce – will come from the farm literally footsteps away from the table.

The Kahilu Theatre photo by Jane Sibbett

The Kahilu Theatre photo by Jane Sibbett

Real Farm at Waikii Ranch, the home of Tim Bostock and Melanie Holt and their family, is the venue for this special meal. Bostock is the director of Kahilu Theatre in Waimea; Holt is the organic farmer who is overseeing all the provisions for the afternoon meal that will be prepared by Honolulu chef Mark Noguchi.

Lamb, turkey and pork are on the menu, all raised on the farm. An extensive array of vegetables will be harvested including artichokes, asparagus, fennel, tomatoes, fava beans, mange-tout peas, cabbages, brussel sprouts, kale, sweet potato, carrot, lettuce, celery, Swiss chard, cucumber and eggplant. No doubt Meyer lemons, basil, rosemary, lavender, nasturtiums and borage will also make an appearance on the plate.

Daughter Jasmine “Jazzy” Bostock will be displaying cheeses made from fresh milk provided by Buttercup, the Jersey cow. Feta will likely be paired with beets in a salad and fresh eggs from the hens will also be incorporated into the meal.

Noguchi will be checking on the harvest the week before the event. Formerly with Kona Village, “Gooch” is known for his commitment to using locally grown food products in his menus.

In addition to the fine spread of fresh and tasty food, there will be entertainment by Komakakino and Hamajang. Guests will be seated on the lawn under a tent with outstanding views of Mauna Kea and the Kohala Coast. VIP tickets include special seating, a champagne and chef’s selected pupu menu, meet and greet with Chef “Gooch, ” personal farm tour with Tim and Mel, and intimate reception with Robert Cazimero at the piano. Tables of 10 can be reserved

The event will benefit Kahilu Theatre, Waimea town’s premier performing arts venue, and PA‘I Foundation, dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian cultural traditions.

Kahilu Farm to Table

Tickets are $150 per person, $250 for VIP Early Admission. The event begins at 1pm for VIP and 2pm for all others at Waikii Ranch. For tickets go to: http://kahilutheatre.org/Showinfo/Farm-to-Table.

Seven Big Island Companies Finalist for Inaugural Taste Awards

Seven Big Island companies or individuals are finalists of the inaugural Taste Awards presented by the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA).

Taste Awards

They were nominated by members of the statewide HFMA and supporting organizations. The winners of eight different awards will be announced Saturday, June 14 on Oahu.

The finalists include:

  • Big Island Abalone of Keahole-Kona for Product of the Year
  • Big Island Bees of Captain Cook for Innovate Hawaii Manufacturer of the Year-Small Company
  • Glow Hawaii Inc of Waikoloa for Community Service Award
  • Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company of Kawaihae for Innovate Hawaii Manufacturer of the Year-Small Company
  • KTA Superstores with island wide locations for Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  • KTA Superstores with island wide locations for Innovative Marketing Award
  • Nina Tanabe of Hilo for Advocate of the Year
  • UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources for Supplier of the Year
  • In addition, FCH Enterprises for Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award. FCH operates a Zippy’s in Hilo.

Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association (HFMA) announced today that it will hold its first-ever Taste Awards to honor outstanding companies in Hawaii’s food manufacturing industry. Co-sponsored by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, the awards will recognize individuals, companies and products that have demonstrated exceptional performance, innovation and contribution to the manufacturing industry and to the community.

The Taste Awards gala reception will be held on Saturday, June 14, at the newly renovated Pomaika`i Ballrooms at Dole Cannery from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The event will feature a “Battle of the Chefs” where celebrity chefs will create signature dishes using locally manufactured products. Event attendees will indulge on several one-of-a-kind dishes prior to a formal dinner reception followed by the awards ceremony. Many locally made foods and drinks will be showcased as part of the evening’s festivities.

“We’re very excited to launch the Taste Awards,” said Byron Goo, President of the HFMA board of directors. “It’s long overdue for our industry to recognize the best of the best. There’s a lot of hard work and so many wonderful stories to tell about the local companies that produce the great food products found throughout Hawaii’s homes, stores and restaurants.”

Awards will be presented in nine categories, including:

  • Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Innovate Hawai’i Manufacturer of the Year (2): Large-Company and Small-Company categories
  • Start-up Manufacturer of the Year
  • Product of the Year
  • Advocate of the Year
  • Supplier of the Year
  • Community Service Award
  • Innovative Marketing Award

“We believe food manufacturing will be one of our state’s key economic drivers for decades to come,” said Richard Lim, director of the State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). “Hawaii’s food manufacturers will invest millions of dollars over the coming years into their businesses. So we want to both congratulate and thank HFMA, its members, and this year’s finalists for their contributions to our state’s economy.”

According to data compiled by DBEDT, food is the largest manufacturing sector using local products as inputs in Hawaii, generating over $900 million in annual revenue for the state’s economy. HFMA’s member companies represent 30 percent of food manufacturers in the state including numerous kama‘āina companies and household names such as Hawaiian Host, Hawaiian Sun and Aloha Shoyu, as well as exciting new startups.

Tickets and sponsorships for the Taste Awards are still available. To purchase tickets call 422-4362 or visit www.foodsofhawaii.com. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts Program.

About Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association

Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association is a non-profit organization that was established in 1977 and is currently the only statewide food manufacturing association in the United States. With more than 125 member organizations, HFMA works to increase the understanding and appreciation of the unique flavors, quality and care that go into the production of Hawaii’s fine foods and beverages. For more information, visit www.foodsofhawaii.com.

Wordless Wednesday – Pahoa Burger King Drive In

The Pahoa Burger King had another Drive-In today!

Posted to Facebook tonight:

Drive Thru

Photo by Tasha Nakatsu

So went to work today everything was normal and then all he’ll broke lose!!!!!
My co worker goes and clocks out for lunch and then walks out to order his meal when a car goes through the building. The car hits him n he goes flying.
It was the most scariest thing I have ever experienced in the work place.

 

UH Hilo and County of Hawaiʻi Offer Sustainable Farming Forum

The College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and the County of Hawaiʻi will host a free public forum on “Building Momentum Toward a Resilient and Sustainable Local Farming Culture” on Thursday, May 22, 9-4:30 p.m., in UH Hilo’s UCB Room 100. The forum aims to share collective knowledge and brainstorm ideas about the future of Hawaiʻi Island agriculture, beginning with how to improve soil health.

UH Hilo Moniker

Dr. Hector Valenzuela of the UH Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and Dr. Norman Arancon of CAFNRM will be the lead presenters with discussion facilitation by Interim CAFNRM Dean Bruce Mathews and County Councilwoman Margaret Wille, chair of the County Council’s Committee on Agriculture, Water, Energy, and Sustainability.

Morning presentations and panel discussions focus on eco-friendly agro-ecological models, integrated crop-livestock systems and feed options, improving soil health, and increasing economical options for high quality compost. The afternoon sessions includes a discussion on red fire ant control strategies and facilitated breakout sessions to follow up on the morning topics.

For further information, call CAFNRM at 932-7036.

Additional Funds Secured to Fight Coffee Berry Borer Bug

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Coffee Berry Borer (Hypothenemus hampei)

Following an announcement from Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono that she and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard were successful in securing $700,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to combat the coffee berry borer in Hawaii, State Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) issued the following statement:

“For the last several years, Hawaii Island coffee farms have been battling the coffee berry borer,” Lowen said. “Together with the $500,000 secured by the state Legislature this session to establish a Pesticide Subsidy Program, these monies will go a long way to turning the tide and protecting Hawaii’s coffee industry, which brings in $30 million annually. I am very grateful to both Senator Hirono and Representative Gabbard for their continued strong efforts in looking after Hawaii’s interests in Washington D.C.”

To date the coffee berry borer has destroyed more than $9 million of locally grown coffee since 2010, impacting many small local businesses and farms, especially on Hawaii Island. As a member of the House Finance Committee, Lowen successful secured $800,000 in 2013 and, as noted above, $500,000 this session to combat the coffee berry borer.