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.

Taste Tamarillos at Free Ultra-Exotic Fruit Event

Have you ever bit into a bilimbi or tasted tamarillos? Known as ultra-exotic fruits, these not-so-well-known edibles are among a growing number of odd fruits that are intriguing island chefs and shoppers.

Tamarillos

Taste test tamarillos 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, November 16 at Island Naturals-Hilo. Chef Rob Love of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel will demonstrate how to use tamarillos and offer samples. The store will stock the fruit in their produce section and attendees will receive recipes and tamarillo info to take home.

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) is presenting the fruity fun to build markets for several tropical fruit rarities. HTFG members are growing a wide variety of ultra-exotic tropical fruits and they say the fruits are under-utilized by the mainstream market. Ultra-exotics under cultivation in Hawaii include Surinam cherry, calamonsie, jackfruit, pummelo, chico, lychee, white sapote, mangosteen and others.

Also known as tree tomatoes, the egg-shaped tamarillo is native to South America. Its flesh is “tangy and variably sweet with a bold and complex flavor,” according to HTFG President Ken Love, who will join his son, Chef Rob, for the demonstration.

Titled “New Markets for Ultra-Exotic Fruits,” the free event series is funded by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture through a USDA competitive grant program to foster small farm sustainability. A total of eight events are planned around the state. 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.

Play on Pasta in Tree Tomato Sauce

By Chef Rob Love, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel – Serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 2 Large locally grown Purple Sweet potatoes6 tree tomatoes / tamarillos
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1tsp red salt
  • 1Tbl chopped basil
  • 1Tbl parsley

Procedure:

Shred sweet potatoes paper thin on mandolin or slicer. Salt and set aside until pliable.  Cut tree tomatoes in half and chop. In a large bowl mix in brown sugar, basil and parsley followed by the sweet potato slices folded in half.  Let sit 15 minutes before serving.

Bluegrass Meets Pili Grass on the Big Island

Media Release:

Take five bluegrass musicians from across America, add one Grammy Award-winning Hawaiian slack key artist and you’ve got Bluegrass Meets Pili Grass. The Olowalu Outfit brings a mix of original and traditional bluegrass songs to the Big Island, where they’ll join Keoki Kahumoku in a week-long event featuring concerts and music workshops with all of theartists.

Enjoy the driving rhythm, soaring fiddling, hot picking, and sweet, tight harmonies of bluegrass music with musicians hailing from Appalachia, the West Coast, and Alaska. Music from Olowalu Outfit’s members Tyson Alteri, Chase Christie, Kate Hamre, Katy Rexford, and Rion Schmidt honors the first generation masters while bringing a fresh new energy to bluegrass and folk music.

Fifth generation slack-key guitarist Keoki Kahumoku began performing with his father, George Kahumoku, Jr., and his uncle, Moses Kahumoku, in 1990 at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii. Today, he’s a five-time Grammy winner with a passion for sharing the music of the islands.

Together on the Big Island for the first time, the Olowalu Outfit and Keoki Kahumoku present Bluegrass Meets Pili Grass, inviting music lovers and amateur musicians to enjoy concerts atvarious venues around the Big Island or to participate in several workshops.  For more information, artist bios, and photos, please visit http://KeokiKahumoku.com or call 960-8385.

Complete schedule of events:

Complete schedule of events:

CONCERTS

  • Friday, March 11 at Hana Hou Restaurant in Naalehu, 5:30-8pm. Special menu featuring BBQ style ribs, chicken, and chili. For more information call 929-9717.
  • Saturday, March 12 at Pahala Plantation House in Pahala, 7-9pm. For more information call 928-9811.
  • Sunday, March 13 at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View for a morning service with Robert Domingos, 9am. Potluck lunch and music following service. For more information call 960-8385.
  • Sunday, March 13 at Laupahoehoe State Park for the annual Tsunami Memorial, 5-6pm. For moreinformation call 960-8385.
  • Tuesday, March 15 at Pakini Grill in Waimea, 8-10pm. For more information call 885-3333.
  • Thursday, March 17 at Blue Dragon Coastal Cuisine and Musiquarium in Kawaihae, 6-9:30pm. For more information call 882-7771.
  • Friday, March 18 at Queen Emma Community Center at Christ Church in Kealakekua, 7-9pm. Formore information call 323-8204 or 323-3429.
  • Saturday, March 19 at Malama Honaunau Event at Pu’u Honua O Honaunau (City of Refuge),11am-12pm. Event is from 10-4. For more information call 960-8385.
  • Saturday, March 19 at Imiloa Astronomy Center with Brittni Paiva, 7-9pm. For more information call 969-9700 or 960-8385.

WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES

  • Saturday March 12: Classes at Pahala Plantation House featuring bluegrass fiddle, mandolin, bass,and guitar as well as Hawaiian slack key guitar and ukulele. Morning session, 9-11am and afternoon session, 1-3pm/$15.00 per session. For more information call 960-8385.
  • Tuesday March 15 through Friday March 18: Aloha Bluegrass Academy for keiki, Queen EmmaCommunity Center at Christ Church in Kealakekua featuring bluegrass fiddle, mandolin, bass, and guitar as well as Hawaiian slack key guitar and ukulele. Sessions held daily from 10am-3pm. Early-bird registration $175; after March 4, $200. For more information call 323-8204 or 323-3429 or bluegrasscampsforkids.com.
  • Wednesday, March 16: Adult Bluegrass Workshop, Queen Emma Community Center at ChristChurch in Kealakekua featuring bluegrass fiddle, mandolin, bass, and guitar as well as Hawaiian slack key guitar and ukulele. 7-9pm followed by a jam session. $30 includes two classes. For more information call 323-8204 or 323-3429 or bluegrasscampsforkids.com.

The Band:

The Olowalu Outfit

Hailing from both Appalachia and the West Coast, the Olowalu Outfit plays a mix of original and traditional songs that honor the first generation masters while bringing afresh new energy to bluegrass and folk music. All the basic ingredients of great bluegrass are there – driving rhythm, soaring fiddling, hot picking, and sweet, tight harmonies. But what really grabs you is the passion and excitement they express through their music. All members of the Olowalu Outfit have been teaching bluegrass and folk music on Maui for the past five years, and are excited to share some of the musical traditions of the mainland with Hawaiian audiences.

Tyson Alteri -Mandolin, lead and harmony vocals

Tyson Alteri, originally from upstate New York, grew up surrounded by many kinds of music. Tyson’s extended family listened to, and played everything from delta blues to bigband swing; his Grandma Bea was an opera singer at Julliard who presented the national anthem at many a ball game (including for the Yankees.) Tyson has been playing music, specifically on the guitar since he was 12. He first fell in love with bluegrass in Alaska when he met climbers that liked to play bluegrass. His keen musical interests have led him to Spain to study Flamenco and to Cuba to learn Son Cubanos. Tyson co-founded the2009 Rockygrass band competition winners 49 Special and played the festival in 2010. Tyson now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

Chase Christie – Guitar, lead and harmony vocals

Chase was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He grew up listening mostly to classical music and playing piano, but by time high school rolled around, he was more interested in playing rock n’ roll with his friends. For reasons still not fully understood, this developed into a love for acoustic music, and bluegrass in particular. Because his grandmother lived in Kihei all of his life, Chase developed an early love for Hawaiian culture and music and few things compare to the joy he feels playing his tenor ukulele. He now lives in the Bay Area and plays with his country band, The Whisky Richards, and enjoys traveling around the country and beyond, teaching camps and playing music.

Kate Hamre – Bass, lead and harmony vocals

Kate grew up in Anchorage, Alaska listening to her parents and friends play bluegrass, old tyme, and folk music. At the age of 14, she joined Bearfoot, a nationally touring band, and played festival such as Merlefest, Greyfox, Wintergrass, Rockygrass,and Telluride to name a few. As a Compass recording artist, Bearfoot cut their 4th album, called “Doors and Windows” in April 2009, which quickly rose to #1 in the Billboard Bluegrass Charts. Kate is also the director of the renowned bluegrass music education program, “Bluegrass Camps for Kids”, which has taught thousands of children internationally in the last decade. Kate has a B.S. in Elementary Education through the University of Idaho and is now teaching in San Francisco after leaving Bearfoot last April.

Katy RexfordFiddle, lead and harmony vocals

Katy grew up in North Carolina and began her musical career playing violin in her public school orchestra at age 8. She played her first fiddle tune that year and won first prize in the school talent show, setting her on a path to explore as many styles of traditional fiddle music as possible, including old time, country blues, Irish, Cajun, western swing,and many more. Now residing in San Francisco, Katy plays and sings with the honky-tonk band the Whisky Richards and Misisipi Rider. She has played and toured with Boz Scaggs, Michelle Shocked, Del Williams, Jesse Jay Harris, and more.

Rion SchmidtBanjo, lead and harmony vocals

Rion Schmidt was born in Cordova, Alaska, and has traveled to the Hawaiian Islands five times to teach bluegrass music camps for kids. He likes long walks on the beach, and tiki torch dinners. Rion is a 15 year veteran of the banjo and has been teaching for 10years. His style of driving bluegrass banjo, was honed in the rugged mountains of Alaska among the glaciers and grizzlies, and although he now resides in Northern California, he dreams of someday building a lonely cabin among the towering spruce trees of his home.

Five Chefs Lauded by Statewide Fruit Growers

Media Release:

Five Hawai‘i chefs were recognized for their support and continued use of local fruit at the recent 20th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference at the Aston Aloha Beach Resort.

Pictures courtesy of www.hawaiifruit.net

They are Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurants, Alan Wong of Alan Wong’s Restaurants, Ed Kenny of Oahu’s Town and Downtown Restaurants, Kevin Hanney of Oahu’s 12th Avenue Grill and James Babian of the Big Island’s Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

“Hawaii leads the country in farmer-chef relationships thanks to dedicated and creative chefs like those who receive this award,” says Ken Love, executive director of the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Association, which hosted the annual conference. “These symbiotic relationships between growers and chefs create a very special experience for our visitors.”

Pictures courtesy of www.hawaiifruit.net

The three-day gathering offered workshops and presentations by fruit experts, including keynote speaker Noris Ledesma of the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden in Florida who presented “For the Love of Mangoes” and “Growing and Marketing Specialty Crops.” Other topics covered included  “Breadfruit-Its Use and Potential” by Dr. Diane Ragone of the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai.

Pictures courtesy of www.hawaiifruit.net

Chef Peter Merriman of the statewide Merriman’s Restaurants joined Kauai Community College chef instructor Steve Nakata and growers Ned Whitlock and John Wooten in a lively farmer-chef panel discussion. Merriman is one of a handful of chefs previously cited by HTFG for using local fruit. The others are from the Big Island: Matthew Zubrod of Monettes, William Trask of Hawaiian Culinary Consultants, Paul Heerlein of Hawaii Community College, West Hawaii, Charles Charbonneau of Hilton Waikoloa Village and George Gomes Jr. of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.

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.