Taro Production Up 10%

The National Agricultural Statistics Service said Hawaii farmers produced 4.4 million pounds of taro in 2008. That’s a 10 percent increase over the 4 million pounds of the traditional island staple and poi base that was cultivated in 2007…

…The service said the total value of Hawaii’s taro crop rose 16 percent in 2008 to $2.7 million…

…The number of taro farms remained unchanged last year at 105. But taro acreage increased by 10 acres to 390 acres…

More Here

Big Island Kalo Farmer Jerry Konanui

Big Island Kalo Farmer Jerry Konanui

Farmers Market Online… What Do You Think?

Inspired by my sickness today and my fondness for the Farmers Market in Makuu that I like to go to but am not today because I’m too sick, I was thinking it would be cool if there was a way to access some of these products that are sold at the market online.

If I went to the Farmers Market and took pictures of booths along with contact numbers or emails of the vendors and then set up a page on the top of my site that was just devoted to Farmers market items… do you think that would work at all?

Vendors pay $15.00 a week to have their products displayed for about 6-8 hours or so.

If I charged a vendor $5.00 a month to have their goods displayed and a contact to reach them 24 hours a day 7 days a week… I think that would be a good deal.

I need some feedback on this idea before I proceed.  Comments?

It wouldn’t just be delegated to Maku’u Farmers Market either… I could go to various farmers markets throughout the entire island.

The only proceeds I would get is that initial $5.00 per month.  All other sales would go directly to the vendors and all payments would be done in person at time of the product exchange.

33 Confirmed Rat Lungworm Cases Since 2001

The Honolulu Advertiser has an excellent article on the recent epidemic here on the Big Island:

The rat lungworm disease that put two Big Island residents into comas is bringing attention to an illness confirmed in 33 reported cases in Hawai’i since 2001…

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

Graham McCumber, 24, and Silka Strauch, 38, are both in a Big Island hospital, comatose for weeks after contracting rat lungworm disease.

The state Health Department knows of 33 cases from 2001 to now. But state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said it is not known how many people have suffered through a milder form of the disease. Total reported Hawai’i cases before 2000 weren’t available late last week.

Symptoms can range from headache, joint pain and other symptoms that resolve on their own, to blindness, nerve damage and death.

Slugs and snails in Hawai’i are known to carry the rat lung-worm, a nematode named because it hatches in the lungs of rats. From there, the larvae pass through rat feces to slugs, snails or other mollusks. People who ingest snails or slugs that contain the parasite can get a rare form of meningitis — infection of the spinal fluid.

More Here

The Real Reason Sumo Wrestlers Get So Big

I knew there had to be a way these guys got “Hungry”:

Sumo wrestlers with pot bellies, yes. Sumo wrestlers with pot? Now that’s harder to grapple with.

In the past six months, four wrestlers have been kicked out of the ancient sport for allegedly smoking marijuana, creating the biggest drugs-in-sports scandal that Japan has ever seen…

…Sumo aficionados like to note that former grand champion Musashimaru, of Hawaii, had a 10 p.m. curfew…

Musashimaru

Musashimaru

…But that is changing…

More here

Richard Ha Goes National… And a Few Rebroadcasts From the Past

Big Island farmer Richard Ha, of Hamakua Farms, is going to be on the season opener for PBS’s national show  “Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie” which will be aired Saturday, February 7th, at noon on PBS Hawaii.

Leslie Wilcox reminds us that tonight, Richard will be on a re-broadcast of Hawaii’s Long Story Short w/ Leslie Wilcox tonight at 11:00 pm as well as on Sunday, February 8th at 4:00 pm on PBS Hawaii.

…Richard Ha isn’t your average farmer. He’s been called a visionary farmer. An innovative small business owner, Ha offers his employees profit sharing, has found a way to generate electricity on his property outside of Hilo, initiated an adopt-a-class program at Keaukaha Elementary School, advocates native Hawaiian practices of ahupua‘a and writes a blog on his website

For more on Gourmet’s Diary of a Foodie, click here.

You may have seen this commercial on TV before:

Foodland to Begin Selling Island Dairy Milk

Island Dairy, one of the two remaining dairies in Hawaii, now is selling its milk at Foodland stores. The Big Island dairy will distribute whole, low-fat and fat-free milk under the label, Hawaii’s Fresh Milk…

The company, which uses solar power and grows its own feed, is trying to become sustainable as well as produce enough milk for the entire state

More here

For more on Island Dairy and how they do their farming check out this interesting article.

The Dangers of Eating Genetically Engineered Foods: State-Wide Talks

An informative state-wide tour with best selling author and international speaker Jeffrey Smith, presenting on the Dangers of Eating Genetically Engineered (GMO) Foods.

Jeffrey speaks on Kauai Feb 10-12, Molokai Feb 15, Hawai’i Island; Hilo Feb 17 & Kona Feb 21, and Oahu Feb 22-23.

Sponsored by Hawaii SEED, who will share perspective on local sustainable agriculture and food security.

dangers-flyer1

If you care about what you and your family eat and what’s being grown on our land, don’t miss this event!

International bestselling author Jeffrey M. Smith is a leading spokesperson on the health dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). His globally respected research captured public attention in 2003 with his first book, “Seeds of Deception”, which exposed the serious yet unknown side effects of genetically engineered foods.

Founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, Smith works internationally to educate on why agricultural biotechnology companies should not be in control of our food supply and how the FDA fails to keep our food safe. He has lectured in 25 countries, counseled world leaders from every continent, influenced the first state laws regulating GMOs and has united leaders to support The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America, a revolutionary industry and consumer movement to remove GMOs from the natural food industry.

A popular speaker, he has been quoted by government leaders and hundreds of media outlets across the globe including The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC World Service, Nature, The Independent, Daily Telegraph, New Scientist, The Times (London), Associated Press, Reuters News Service, Time Magazine and Genetic Engineering News.

This presentation is free and open to the public. Please spread the word!

More info here

Hawaii Agencies Launch Food Safety Program

The State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Farm Bureau have partnered for a three-year pilot RFID program designed to promote food safety by enabling product visibility throughout the supply chain. The Hawaii Produce Traceability initiative uses RFID technology to track fresh produce down to the farm, or even field, level.

The initiative, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers a win-win situation for consumers and participating growers. When a food safety issue arises, product recalls can be enacted within an hour. With traceability down to the field level, growers can localize the impact of a recall to the relevant area, minimizing losses.


Beyond improving food safety, growers, who can participate by either slap-and-ship tagging or usage of a hand-held RFID system, can reap a bounty of other benefits from the program. Gathered data can be used to optimize harvest productivity, strengthen food processing controls, increase cold chain visibility, reduce produce dwell time on shipping and receiving docks, accelerate transportation times between trading partners and improve inventory turns; all this can help increase profit margins in a competitive industry.

Lowry Computer Products developed the first phase of the system, which includes hardware from Motorola and Symbol Technologies, software from Globe Ranger, and UPM Raflatac RFID inlays paired with waterproof labels. Lowry’s own Fresh Harvest tracking solution unifies these components, providing real-time supply chain data including when boxed produce is planted and harvested, what pesticides are used, and when and where RFID-tagged boxes are scanned. All this information is automatically uploaded into a database accessible to both program participants and, via the initiative’s web portal, the general public.

State officials are now planning for the next two phases of the initiative. Enhancements may include RFID-enabled cellphones to enable more farms to participate, and implementing produce temperature tracking to reduce the threat of food spoilage. The program may eventually be expand to cover 5,000 Hawaiian farms.

Funding for the pilot program was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii, the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program, and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.

“The Ledge” Pt. 3: Relating to Taro Security and GMO

My father-in-law is one of the people spearheading this Taro Bill.  I’m not going to get into the debate here about GMO, but I just thought I’d pass along the information about the bill.

“Uncle (dad) shares a little about his life and connection with Kalo.
This video was made to encourage input from the public on House Bill 1663
prohibiting genetically modified taro.”

HB1663
RELATING TO TARO SECURITY.
Genetically Modified Taro; Prohibition
Prohibits the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting, or growing of genetically modified taro in the State of Hawaii.



“Eggs ‘N Things” Moves to New Location: Re-Grand Opening Soon

Waikiki’s infamous restaurant Eggs ‘N Things restaurant is moving to a new location.

This is the old location at the bottom of McCully Street in Waikiki:

http://onokinegrindz.typepad.com

Photo from: http://onokinegrindz.typepad.com

If you haven’t ever eaten there, I highly recommend the salsa that they provide for the eggs!

I used to live within walking distance and I used to eat there all the time.  The place would literally have a line-up of tourists waiting to get in the place all the time.

I’m assuming this new location will provide more seating and less wait time.

Eggs 'N Things New Location

Eggs 'N Things New Location

The grand re-opening of Eggs ‘N Things is scheduled for February 2009, just in time to celebrate our 35th anniversary! Our new location is 343 Saratoga Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815. We are looking forward to opening our restaurant doors to provide you with a comfortable and welcoming eatery and the traditionally delicious food you’ve come to love…

More Here

My Hawaiian Home

I added a new blog to my ‘Roll this morning: My Hawaiian Home

Devany Vickery-Davidson is a new resident here on the Big Island. She comes here from the mainland with an extensive background in cooking as well as a great knowledge of pottery and other arts and crafts.

She has another blog that she also writes: East Bay Potters that is also worth checking out.

I welcome Devany to The Big Island as well to my ‘Roll so check out “My Hawaiian Home” when you get the chance.

Tomorrow: Informational Meeting on Rat Lungworm… Zsolt Halda Released From Hospital

Hat tip to Richard Ha:

Rat Lungworm Meeting this Saturday, Jan. 31, at noon at SPACE in Kalapana Seaview Estates. We hope to have many well-informed people attending as the purpose of this meeting is informational. Zsolt Halda, who has just been released from the hospital, will be there.

*update*

Jane Whitefield gives us these directions to SPACE, which is hosting the Rat Lungworm meeting mentioned here this Saturday, 1/31/09:

You drive down Hwy. 130 toward Kalapana. When you dead end at the lava, turn left. This is Hwy. 137. Drive toward Kehena and Kalapana Seaview Estates (it’s probably a 10-minute drive and very hilly, but overlooks the ocean – Spectacular!). Turn left into Seaview. Travel up the entrance road until you see the sign on the right that says “SPACE,” with a hand pointing to the left. Follow that to the entrance and parking lot.

She tells us, too, that there is a Yahoo group called Parasites out of Paradise if anyone is interested in learning more.

There is some other good information that is coming out now.

I previously blogged about this here, here and here.

One More Lie to the Parenting “Black Book”

I think most parents know that we are liars when it comes to raising our kids.

Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, etc.

I found a new one for me today.

I mentioned earlier how my son came down with tonsillitis.  His pediatrician put him on a liquid pediasure diet and meds until the swelling in his throat goes down.

Here lies the problem… my son kind of picked up some of my eating habits and one of those things… is that if you don’t like something… you’re not gonna eat it no matter how much everyone tells you it’s good.

I picked up some of the Strawberry flavored Pediasure as I was coming home from the Doctors.   The buggahs are like $16.99 for a 6-pack of little bottles.

pediasure

So when I got home, I cracked open the Pediasure and I made the fatal mistake of calling it “Pediasure”.

My son doesn’t know what “Pediasure” is, but he sure made up his mind really quickly that he didn’t like and WAS NOT going to have it.  I got pretty frustrated because as any parent knows, they only want their child to get healthy.

He hasn’t been eating at all in the last 30 hours other then a little soup here and there so it’s really important the doctor said to make sure that he gets the Pediasure in his system because that will at least provide all the vitamins and nutrients that he’s missing out on cause he literally can’t eat right now.

It is kind of weird that when you feel bad, or have a headache, or a soar throat… that know matter how much you think you should eat… you don’t really have an appetite.

So here comes the lie.  I know my son will drink Nestles Strawberry Quick… so what did I friggin do… after he woke up from his nap, I told him I went to the store and picked up some Strawberry Quick.

strawberry

Sure enough… The buggah was drinking it down like it was nothing.

The lies we tell our children… they aren’t all bad are they?

Details on Downtown KTA Remodel Emerging

I just noticed on the Island Trust blog, that details are emerging about the planned remodel of the KTA in downtown Hilo.

kta_remodel

…KTA wants to tear down the dilapidated 13,918 sq. ft. 2-story building (built in 1915 on the same L-shaped 26,396 sq. ft. TMK parcel as the existing KTA parking lot) and put in a parking lot in conjunction with a remodel of it’s market. Rumors of this plan have been circulating for several months, and tenants of the building have been slowly moving out…

More Here

Coming Soon: Seeds of Hope… The Future of Agriculture in Hawai’i

Here is a promo for the new movie “Seeds of Hope… The Future of Agricuture in Hawai’i“.  It was produced by the Hawaii Rural Development Council:

More information on the Hawaii Seed Organization here

And This Little Piggy Went Wee Wee Into the Bushes

Just got back from feeding the dogs up at the farm. I’m always seeing pigs up there.

If this pig wasn’t pregnant… I swear we would be eating it soon enough.

It’s such a friendly buggah too!

Island Naturals Market & Deli Opens in Kona

Hat tip to The Kona Times:

Click to Enlarge

“The natural foods store in Hilo has now opened at market and deli in Kona’s Old Industrial, across the street from Trojan Lumber.”

More pictures and info here

Rat Lungworm Prevention Meeting… The Video

BIVN has now posted a video from yesterdays meeting on the Rat Lungworm disease that recently got three puna residents sick and landed one in an Oahu hospital in a coma.

I also found this copy of a Hawaii Tribune Herald article that was republished on a web forum. (Dave Smith… was this authored by you?)

“Parmarion martensi, a brown slug that can reach about 2 inches in length, can be harmful because the mollusk is a known carrier of a disease-causing parasite, a nematode called angiostrongylus or rat lungworm, that can cause meningitis, pulmonary disease or gastrointestinal illness.

But who goes around eating slugs?

When they hatch, the slugs are very small and can cling to homegrown produce such as lettuce, said Rob Hollingsworth, an entomologist with the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.

If produce is not washed and inspected thoroughly, there is a chance slugs could go undetected.

The slug was known to be present on Oahu as early as 1996 but its presence was not confirmed on the Big Island until June 2004. Today, say health officials, it seems to be more prevalent on the Big Island.

There were some reports of residents accidentally ingesting slugs on home-grown lettuce and becoming ill, Hollingsworth said.

“The species, we think, is native to Southeast Asia,” Hollingsworth said. “It could have gotten here on imported plants or it could have come from Oahu. I don’t think there is a way to eradicate it at this point.”

There are other types of mollusks in Hawaii, such as the Cuban slug, that can carry the parasite, Hollingsworth said, but the new slug is considered a pest for several reasons, he said.

“This one seems to be adventurous. It climbs on houses and water tanks.” Hollingsworth said. It’s also been found in cat and dog food bowls.

In one instance, a man drained his entire water tank after finding slugs in his water supply.

“The biggest message out of this is you really need to wash your vegetables really well. Getting sick from this parasite is preventable. That really is the primary message,” said Sarah Park, deputy chief for the Disease Outbreak Control Division of the Department of Health.

Jacqueline Hahn, a naturopathic physician whose office is in downtown Hilo, said she has treated eight patients with the parasite over the past three years.

“It’s a parasite that doesn’t complete its life cycle in the human body,” she said. The body attacks the foreign parasite and damage is caused by the body’s own immune response system, she said.

Cortisone can be used to treat those suffering ill effects but there is no known cure, she said.

Hollingsworth said the severity of the symptoms depends on how many nematodes are ingested.

The eight cases had varied outcomes, Hahn said, adding the parasite can cause hives, high fever, extreme rashes, and pain in the skin, eyes, head or joints. She said patients suffered from neurological problems as well.

“The potential for permanent damage is great,” she said, adding the majority of cases seem to be from Puna. “It is definitely a growing problem.”

Hahn stressed the importance of aggressively washing produce, and seeking medical help if these symptoms occur. She said a blood test can determine if the parasite is present in the body.

It is unknown how long the symptoms from the parasite last, Hahn said.

“I’ve seen several patients three years later who are still in pain,” she said.”

State Plans to Poison Wild Honey Bees in Hilo… Eat No Public Honey For Three Weeks

The state Department of Agriculture plans to poison wild honey bee hives in Hilo as an emergency measure to stop a growing infestation of bee-killing varroa mites, and warns the public against eating honey from wild hives over the next three weeks

More Here

Is Ruby Tuesday’s New Hilo Restaurant in Jeopardy?

A few weeks ago I blogged that Ruby Tuesday restaurant would be opening a new restaurant in Hilo.

Today’s news says they are actually closing 70 restaurants nationwide.  I wonder if this puts the Hilo plans on hold or in jeopardy?

…Restructuring the Company’s property portfolio including plans to close approximately 40 restaurants in the third quarter and an additional 30 over the next several years, and the write-down of properties held for sale to facilitate their disposal…

More Here