Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Names Recipients of Appreciation Awards

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) recently named the recipients of its appreciation awards, given annually to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

The six award winners were lauded at the recent HTFG annual conference, which boasted a record-breaking 250 attendees from Hawaii, California and other states, plus Malaysia, Japan, Puerto Rico and South America.

Recipients are Ono Pops, Whole Foods in Hawaii, James Simpliciano, Ed Kenney and Dr. Francis Zee.

“Each of our award recipients have gone out of their way to help Hawaii’s fruit industry prosper,” notes Ken Love, HTFG executive director.

Ono Pops of Oahu was recognized for only using locally sourced fruit with other ingredients to create its gourmet popsicles while Whole Foods was tapped for “working toward marketing more and more local produce” and serving as locations on both Oahu and Maui to host HTFG’s ultra-exotic fruit tasting and culinary demonstrations.

Chef Ed Kenney of Oahu’s Town Restaurant was cited for his focus on sourcing local fruit and living true to his motto, “Local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always…” James Simpliciano, Lahaina citrus grower and former chef at the Westin Maui Resort, was lauded for “typifying the best of both the culinary and agricultural worlds.”

Dr. Francis Zee, horticulturist and retired USDA researcher at Hilo’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC), was recognized for his efforts in assisting fruit growers statewide, in addition to being credited as “the grandfather of tea growing and processing on the Big Island.”

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; http://www.hawaiitropicalfruitgrowers.org.

Big Island Figs Featured at Culinary Demo

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII – High in fiber, potassium and vitamin B6, figs also contain iron, calcium and Vitamin A. Shaped like a hot air balloon, the small fruit is steeped in the history and ritual of ancient cultures with archeological remnants dating back to 5000 BC.

Pineapple-Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese (See Recipe Below)

Taste test figs and learn how to use them at a free demonstration 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 at Island Naturals Market and Deli. Chef Rob Love of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel will offer free fruit samples and use Maui Gold pineapple to prepare Pineapple-Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese. Ken Love, president of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG), will be on hand to answer horticulture questions.

The fruity fig fun is presented by the statewide HTFG, whose members are growing ultra-exotic tropical fruits. These not-so-well-known edibles—like figs, Surinam cherry, jackfruit, ulu, abiu, durian, white sapote, soursop and jaboticaba—are among a growing number of odd fruits that are intriguing island chefs and shoppers.

“Figs are drought tolerant and many varieties can be grown in Hawaii’s microclimates,” says Love. “They can be enjoyed fresh, poached or as a component in recipes. Figs lend themselves to a wide variety of value-added products.”

HTFG is working to build markets for these juicy rarities through a series of free public taste tests and culinary demonstrations at stores on four Hawaiian Islands throughout 2012. A dozen educational demonstrations are planned and participating stores will stock the fruit in their produce sections, accompanied by recipes and additional fruit information to take home.

“At Island Naturals, we strive to continually increase our local food offerings,” says Russell Ruderman, president and founder of Island Naturals and Puna District state senator.  “We work with farmers and food producers to develop new offerings, and support new local products with our best prices, signage, shelf placement and demos. Local food keeps money in our local economy, supports agriculture in Hawaii, reduces the carbon footprint, and moves us toward a sustainable society. It also supports your friends and neighbors, and puts healthier food on your table.”

Titled “New Markets for Ultra-Exotic Fruits,” the event series is funded by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture through a USDA competitive grant program to foster small farm sustainability.

For more information, contact Love at ken@mycoffee.net or 808 (969-7926). Find detailed fig info at http://www.hawaiifruit.net/figs.htm.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; http://www.htfg.org.

Pineapple-Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese, By Rob Love, chef Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Ingredients:

  • 1 Maui Gold pineapple
  • 1lb. local goat cheese or cheve
  • 1lb. figs local figs
  • 1/4cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/4cup sugar
  • Salt
  • 1 bunch green onion

Procedure:

Cook figs, vinegar and sugar to a boil and let cool and mix to make compote.

Peel pineapple and slice in very, very thin circles. Cut onions the length of pineapple circle.

On a flat slice of pineapple, add a tablespoon of cheese and pinch of salt. Place 1 pc green onion and teaspoon of compote. Wrap and let set before slicing.

Garnish with additional compote and mint or basil leaves.

Ken Love Surprised with Lifetime Achievement Award at One Island’s Fruit Lover’s Festival

Fruit growers in Hawaii and around the globe are familiar with the valuable contributions Captain Cook resident Ken Love has made towards promoting economic sustainability for small fruit farmers. He was caught by surprise at the recent Fruit Lovers Fest when he rose to introduce a guest speaker, but unexpectedly found himself the center of attention.

Ken Love was awarded the Same Canoe Lifetime Achievement Award from the One Island Sustainable Living Center

Love received “much-deserved recognition for his passionate support of Hawaii fruit production and value-added product development” with a Same Canoe Lifetime Achievement Award from the One Island Sustainable Living Center. He was lauded for his efforts in championing new farmer-to-consumer connections and “touching many lives” through his promotion of grown-in-Hawaii products, both here and abroad.

Currently serving as the long-time president of the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers, Love co-chairs annual fruit conferences, works with chefs to bring locally grown products to restaurants, has produced a variety of fruit posters identifying Hawaii varieties and currently is organizing statewide ultra-exotic fruit tastings at retail grocery stores, such as Whole Foods on Oahu.

Love says the goal of his efforts is for Hawaii to grow more of its food. He explained, ”In 1960, Hawaii grew 90 percent of its own produce; by 2000, we were importing 90 percent. Change is happening. We are now at about 85 percent imported produce but that is still only 15 percent locally grown. The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers wants to change that.”

Love was presented with a Hawaii-made koa wood “We’re all in the Same Canoe” paddle at the festival held at the One Island Sustainable Living Center. The event was funded in part by the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program and hosted through One Island’s ‘Reclaiming our Local Food System’ project.

“I am very humbled and honored to receive a lifetime achievement award from One Island Sustainable Living Center for my work with tropical fruit and developing systems and diversification programs for small family farms,” Love shared.

Learn more about Love’s work at http://www.facebook.com/Kenlovekona and his library of resources at http://www.hawaiifruit.net/ .

One Island is a local, non-profit program that hosts sustainability education activities on agriculture, local food system and zero-mile home gardening, renewable energy and solar grants, health and wellness, plus arts and culture.  The One Island Sustainable Living Center operates a 10-acre organic farm in Honaunau and includes 7,000 square feet in organic greenhouse and agriculture structures, a farm-based outdoor learning center, educational gardens and orchards, and is partnering with fellow non-profits and schools to host a variety of empowering, life-long learning programs for all ages. For info,  http://www.oneisland.org/hawaii/.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Names Recipients of Appreciation Awards

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) names the recipients of its appreciation awards, given annually to supporters of the state’s tropical fruit industry.

They are Dr. Robert Paull of UH-Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR); Dr. Roberto Coronel of the RC Fruit Conservation Farm in the Philippines; Frank and Lynn Sekiya of Frankie’s Nursery on Oahu; Bob and Susi Hamilton, founding members of HTFG and owners of Plant it Hawaii on the Big Isle; and Lelan Nishek of Kauai Nursery and Landscaping.

Frank and Lynn Sekiya

Recipients were recognized at the recent 22nd Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference that opened on Oahu and continued in Maui, Kauai, Hilo and Kona.

Dr. Robert Paull

Dr. Paull is credited for his research in fruit ripening, storage, packaging and transport, plus the growth and development of fruit.

“Each of our award recipients have gone out of their way to help Hawaii’s fruit industry prosper,” notes Ken Love, HTFG president. “The Sekiyas have been responsible for hundreds of plant introductions into Hawaii that help growers become more sustainable.”

Nishek is cited for continually supporting HTFG and its mission with generous donations of time, product and funding. Love says the Hamiltons are being lauded for “their dedication in producing quality trees and marketing quality fruit.”

Dr. Roberto Coronel

Dr. Coronel, a keynote speaker at the recent HTFG conference, is an award-winning supporter of the Philippine fruit industry and has done multiple research projects on tropical fruit. At his RC Farm, he has planted 220 edible fruit and nut species from the tropical regions of the world, plus 136 registered fruit varieties.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; http://www.hawaiitropicalfruitgrowers.org.

 

Sample Delicious Bilimbi at Ultra-Exotic Fruit Event

Bilimbi is the star at a free, ultra-exotic fruit tasting and culinary demonstration 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, August 25 at Choice Mart.

The Bilimbi Fruit

Chef Paul Heerlein, assistant professor and coordinator of the Culinary Arts Program at Hawaii Community College-West Hawaii, will demonstrate how to prepare Hot Sour Bilimbi Soup. (Recipe below).

The fruity fun is presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG), whose members are growing bilimbi and other ultra-exotic tropical fruits. These not-so-well-known edibles—like Surinam cherry, jackfruit, ulu, abiu, durian, white sapote, soursop, tropical apricot and jaboticaba—are among a growing number of odd fruits that are intriguing island chefs and shoppers.

Believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, bilimbi is cultivated in tropical regions worldwide and bears several names. The fruit resembles small cucumbers and the English call it the “pickle tree.” The outer skin is thin and glossy and the green flesh is jelly-like and juicy.

Bilimbi has a sour taste, due to its high acid content and is used raw to make relishes. The juice makes a drink similar to lemonade. Bilimbi is also preserved and employed to concoct chutney or an acid jelly. Half-ripe fruits are salted and pickled. In Hawaii, chefs substitute bilimbi juice for vinegar to make salad dressings and it appears in soup stocks and in stews. Nutritionally, it contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene and niacin.

HTFG is working to build markets for these juicy rarities via free public taste tests and culinary demonstrations at stores on four Hawaiian Islands throughout 2012. Titled “New Markets for Ultra-Exotic Fruits,” the event series is funded by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture through a USDA competitive grant program to foster small farm sustainability.

“Besides offering unique flavors, shapes and colors, these ultra-exotic fruits bring novelty to the table and can delight the senses,” says Ken Love, president of HTFG.

A total of eight educational demonstrations are planned and participating stores will stock the fruit in their produce sections, accompanied by recipes and additional fruit information to take home.

For more information, contact Love at ken@mycoffee.net or 808-969-7926.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; http://www.htfg.org.

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Hot Sour Bilimbi Soup with Hamakua Mushrooms

RECIPE

Hot Sour Bilimbi Soup with Hamakua Mushrooms 

By Chef Paul Heerlein

Yield: 5 servings

Portion size: 5 oz.

INGREDIENTS

4 oz Hamakua Mushrooms Pioppini, Alii or your favorite mushroom, diced

1 piece shallot finely minced

1 clove of garlic thinly sliced

½ tsp. 6-Pepper salt

25 oz Organic Chicken Broth

2 oz Bilimbi Juice

1 TB Yamasa or Kikkoman soy sauce

1 tsp. Sesame oil

1 egg whipped with 1 tablespoon of water

PROCEDURE:  In a pot sauté the mushrooms with a little vegetable oil for about 4 minute while stirring. Add the shallots and garlic and continue to cook over moderate heat for another 1 minute. Add the 6-Pepper, broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and add the bilimbi, soy and sesame oil. Stir in the egg and adjust the seasoning to taste, if needed.

Six Libraries to Receive Donation from Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

The statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) is donating “The World of Bananas in Hawai‘i: Then and Now” to six libraries on the four major Hawaiian islands, including the Kealakekua Branch in Kona and the downtown Hilo Branch. HTFG is also contributing “Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands” by Holualoa resident and HTFG member Craig Elevitch of Agroforestry Net, Inc. to the Kealakekua and Hilo libraries. Both books were recently published.

The banana-themed book retails for $80 and is by HTFG members and Maui residents Dr. Angela Kepler and Francis Rust. Boasting 1,900 illustrations, “The World of Bananas in Hawai‘i” contains pictorial descriptions for 140 living varieties and 22 kinship groups, plus illustrated keys separating similar cultivars.

The 612-page book also has information on pesticide-free care and maintenance, nutritional deficiencies, and troubleshooting pests and diseases. The comprehensive resource is the result of 30 years of Pacific-wide research and published by Pali-O-Waipio Press.

“It is the first book about bananas in Hawaii chock full of original research. It traces the banana evolution around the Pacific,” explains Ken Love, HTFG president. “It is a banana bible.”

Love adds the resource covers every banana in Hawaii, plus Polynesian and international varieties, including ornamentals and fei.

Published by Agroforestry Resources, “Specialty Crops” contains chapters on growing and marketing 26 existing and potential crops, including mangosteen, lychee, bananas, plantains, coconuts, black pepper, breadfruit, chili peppers, taro, ginger, moringa, tamanu, sweet potato, macadamia nut, root (tuber) vegetables, cacao, kava, coffee, tea, vanilla, pumpkins and squashes, timber trees, bamboo, macadamia nuts and honey.

Illustrated with nearly 950 photos, the 570-page book features short bios of local food producers and farmers in a section called “Example Successes.” It emphasizes sustainable growing methods and the native island custom of polyculture. The book retails for $75.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Names Recipients of Appreciation Awards

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers names the recipients of its appreciation awards, given annually to supporters of Hawaii’s tropical fruit industry. They are Chef Stephen Rouelle of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii; Chef George Gomes Jr. of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; Russell Ruderman and Island Naturals; Randyl Rupar of the annual mango and avocado festivals and Dr. Angela Keppler and Frank Rust, authors for the up-and-coming book, “The World of Bananas in Hawaii: Then and Now.”

HTFG Roundtable-Sharing tips for the development of farmer-chef relationships at the Big Island meeting are from left: James Babian, executive chef Four Seasons Resort Hualalai; Jason Koppinger, former chef of The Ritz Carlton Residences Malaysia; Ken Love, HTFG president; and Dr. Kent Fleming, UH adjunct professor and professor of Ag and Resource Economics at Oregon State University

Recipients were named at the recent 21st Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference that opened at the Keauhou Beach Resort and continued on Oahu, Kauai and Maui. Joining the HTFG board is Ian Cole of Maui and Dave Longacre of East Hawaii.

SHREE PADRE of India, keynote speaker at this year's Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference, inspects purple passion fruit at Kupa'a Organic Farm on Maui. Photo courtesy HTFG

With the theme, “The Time for Quality and Profitability,” the four gatherings headlined Shree Padre of India. The farmer/journalist is known for his passion for water conservation and rainwater harvesting. He is a specialist in value-added products.

Other presenters, who also met with growers on all four islands, included fig expert Howard Garrison and pomegranate guru Jeff Moresfelder, both of the USDA in Davis, California.

The three-day meeting on the Big Isle included a report on “Understanding Risk Management and the Cost of Production” by Dr. Kent Fleming of UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. In addition, there were 12 breakout sessions on topics like Selling to Wholesalers and Ag Tourism; a lively Farmer-Chef Roundtable with members of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn.; and a sweet plantation tour of the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou.

Led by Bob Cooper, the conference field trip on the Big Island was a plantation visit to Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou

On Kauai, attendees visited the National Tropical Botanical Garden to visit with Dr. Diane Ragone, director of HTBG’s Breadfruit Institute. Other field trips included stops at Kupa’a Organic Farm and Pali-o-Waipio on Maui and Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo.

During the roundtable, James Babian, executive chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, advised growers to give chefs a weekly market list of fruit available now and in the near future. “Relationships with growers have allowed us to embrace the use of local products and grow our menu around what’s available,” he detailed. He also said the use of fresh fruit in beverages is trending.