DOH Issues Guidance to Restaurants, Retail Food Markets & Manufacturers

After being prohibited from offering dine-in service for the past two months, Hawai‘i restaurants will now gradually begin to reopen their doors to customers, aligning with the state’s Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience. To further guide the food service industry, the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) has developed detailed guidance on safe practices for reopening.

The DOH issued recommendations for Hawai‘i’s food sector today to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 to employees and customers. The guidance aligns with all existing food safety regulations and supports ongoing compliance with social distancing requirements. The guidance also aligns with Gov. David Ige’s eighth supplementary proclamation in response to the current emergency issued May 18, which focuses on the state’s multi-phased roadmap to recovery and resilience.

“As we move from reopening to recovery, safe practices in the food service industry play a vital role in the reopening and rebuilding of our local economy, “said Health Director Bruce Anderson. “We are also asking customers to do their part by following the guidance to support our restaurants and help ensure they can continue to stay open.”

During this initial recovery stage, we’re urging restaurants to act with care and continue to meticulously follow safe practices,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of environmental health, who oversees the area of food safety. “The Department of Health encourages food operators to promote good hygiene practices by ensuring adequate supplies of soap, individual disposable towels, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for employees and customers. Any employee who exhibits signs of illness should not be allowed to report to work.” 

At a minimum, customers are required to wear a cloth face covering when moving through a food establishment or while waiting for a pick-up order, and their masks may be removed only while eating.

In addition, the Department of Health issued the following additional stipulations for dine-in service:

  • No more than 50% or half of the total seating capacity should be available for dining-in use.
  • Dining tables at least six feet apart for indoors and outdoors. (Outdoor seating does not count toward the total seating capacity.)
  • Restaurants are encouraged to require reservations for dine-in service for greater control of customer volume. 
  • Consider allowing customers to pre-order while making reservations to decrease the length of time they are in the establishment.
  • Maximum of six customers, not living in the same household, per group per table, with a maximum of 10 customers, living in the same household, per group per table.
  • No self-service salad bar or buffet.
  • Restaurants should also post signage at the entrance that states that no one with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 will be permitted in the restaurant.

Kawaoka said that as the state moves toward the next phase of recovery, the health department plans to increase the recommended dining capacity for restaurants to 75% of total seating capacity while still keeping dining tables at least six feet apart.

The Department of Health also issued guidance for retail food markets, limiting the number of people in a facility up to 50% of fire code occupancy and maintaining a minimum of six feet between individuals. In the next phase, the recommended number of people in a retail food market increases to up to 75% of fire code occupancy, while continuing to maintain a minimum of six feet between individuals.

Restaurants offering dine-in service, retail food markets, and food processors and manufacturers are urged to identify a workplace coordinator to be responsible for COVID-19 assessment and control planning, which includes the use of face masks by employees, screening of workers, frequent handwashing, cleaning and disinfection procedures, and display of clear signage to remind employees and customers to adhere to all safety policies in place.

The health department will continuously monitor and evaluate conditions, and determine whether to expand reopening guidance or return to restrictions based on disease activity and the preparedness of our response system to manage any resurgence of positive cases.

For a complete list of requirements for restaurants, retail food markets and food processors and manufacturers in the State Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience: Guidance for Reopening the Food Service Sector (PDF), DOH Food Safety Branch: health.hawaii.gov/san/, and DOH Food and Drug Branch: health.hawaii.gov/food-drug.

Mayor Provides Requirements for Oahu Restaurants to Re-Open

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that starting Friday, June 5, in-person table service dining in restaurants in the City and County of Honolulu will be allowed following the City’s guidelines approved by Governor David Ige. 

Loco Moco’s are a popular restaurant item in Hawaii.

Bars and nightclubs remain closed at this time and no self-service buffets or drink stations will be allowed.

Restaurants on O‘ahu will be allowed to reopen beginning on June 5 under the following requirements, conditions, and privileges:

• Continued compliance with all State of Hawai‘i and City regulatory and legal standards for operating a food services business

• Compliance with Social Distancing Requirements (as modified in Section 12 of the Mayor’s Emergency Order)

• Dining groups must be limited to a maximum of ten individuals per group (regardless of household membership)

• Cleaning and disinfecting must be conducted in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance

• Restaurant employees must wear face coverings during their shift – cooks and kitchen staff that do not interact with the public are encouraged but not required to wear face coverings

• Hourly touch-point sanitization (workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms, etc.) is required

• Frequent hand washing/sanitizing by employees is required

The reopening of restaurants guidelines also include a pilot sidewalk/outdoor dining opportunity at certain restaurants that abut City properties, including certain sidewalks. Please see the guidelines for further information. The City will roll out its sidewalk/outdoor dining application and temporary permit form shortly for interested restaurants that wish to take advantage of this unique opportunity. 

The full list of guidelines can be found in an amended Exhibit A of the Mayor’s Ho‘oulu i Honolulu 2.0 Order (Restore Honolulu 2.0 Order).

Grab-and-Go School Meals Program to be Extended by 4 Days During Transition to Summer Feeding Program

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will extend the Grab-and-Go school meals program by four days beyond the 2019-20 school year through June 3. The program was launched on March 23 to provide breakfast and lunch meals free of charge to children 18 years and younger during the COVID-19-related school closures.

On June 4, HIDOE will transition to its summer food service program, the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) and many Grab-and-Go sites will be closing. PC: Department of Education

HIDOE will transition to its summer food service program, the Seamless Summer Option (SSO), on June 4 to provide children meals over summer break. The school-based distribution sites for breakfast and lunch will be reduced to the 35 public schools listed below. Sponsor sites at public agencies, churches and nonprofit organizations will begin serving meals to children at additional locations in communities to support keiki. The SSO program will run through July 17.

“The Grab-and-Go program has been an incredible support for our children and their families during this time of economic uncertainty and we thank our dedicated cafeteria workers, staff and administrators who have worked tirelessly to keep the daily meal distributions running smoothly,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “As we transition to the summer break, many of our 10-month employees will not be available to staff current sites, but partner organizations will be stepping forward to keep summer meals available at other sites in our communities.”

Parents are urged to check the new SSO school distribution list below, as the Grab-and-Go sites they currently visit may be closed on Jun. 4. Meal distribution at SSO sites will continue to provide grab-and-go servings in walk-up and drive-thru lines. Dine-in options will not be available. All children ages 18 and younger can receive one school breakfast and one lunch daily. Children do not have to be enrolled at the school distribution site and do not have to be public school students.

For special diet accommodations, please send an email to ​specialdiets@k12.hi.us​ with as much detail as possible. 

Parents may pick up student meals without their child(ren) present but must provide one of the following verification documents:

  • Official letter or email from school listing child(ren) enrolled.
  • Recent student report card(s).
  • Attendance record(s) from parent portals of school websites.
  • Birth certificate(s) of child(ren).
  • Student ID card(s).
  • Driver’s permit/license(s) for high school students.
  • State-issued ID of the student.

Most sites will serve breakfast and lunch while others will offer lunch only (indicated in list below). Breakfast will be served from 7:30 to 8 a.m. and lunch from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

School meal distribution sites continuing on June 4 through July 17, 2020:

The following schools previously serving Grab-and-Go meals will cease meal distribution after June 3.

School meal distribution sites closing after Thursday, June 3, 2020:

Hawaii Farmers & Distributors Receive $5.2 Million to Facilitate Food Delivery

Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced today that farmers and distributors in Hawaii will receive $5.2 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide food to families in need. The funding, distributed under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) that Congress established in the second coronavirus relief legislation that passed the Senate in March. 

“Like so many places across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic is driving unprecedented demand for food assistance in Hawaii. The harrowing images we’ve seen of families lining up for hours to receive food demonstrate the urgency to direct more federal resources to assist those in need,” Sen. Hirono said. “This funding, provided through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, will facilitate the delivery of assistance to food banks and other social service organizations across our state. It will also support the ongoing efforts of our farmers and distributors who have worked hard to adapt to feed individuals and families in our community. I will continue to advocate for this program and other crucial initiatives to assist Hawaii families in need.”

The Hawaii-based companies receiving funding under this program include: 

Aina Hookupu O Kilauea: $468,000

Ham Produce and Seafood Inc.: $3,584,000

Hawaii Foodservice Alliance: $313,500

Malama Kauai: $235,200

Suisan Company Limited: $621,813

The Farmers to Families Food Box Program, a component of the USDA CFAP, is aimed at supporting farmers and ranchers through the purchase of excess commodities while replenishing supplies for over-extended food banks and organizations throughout the country. Through the program, national, regional, and local suppliers partner with USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat products. 

Suppliers in the program will package these products into family-sized boxes and transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits that distribute food to Americans in need, with deliveries beginning on May 15, and running through June 30, 2020. Additional information on the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, including webinars and answers to FAQs, is available on the AMS website.

Partnership Will Serve Free Meals to Kids During School Closure

A partnership of non-profit and governmental organizations is expanding a program that is serving free healthy meals, prepared according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards, to eleven Oʻahu sites reaching about 1,700 children and youth per day.

Since Hawaiʻi public schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this partnership has been increasing its capacity to provide free meals to keiki, as a complement the meal distribution sites that the Department of Education (DOE) is operating at about 70 public schools, out of 256 across the state.

The newest sites serving lunch are at Kuhio Elementary School in Honolulu and Puʻuwai Momi in ʻAiea. Palama Settlement in Kalihi will continue to be the only site serving suppers.

On a typical school day, nearly 65,000 economically disadvantaged Hawaiʻi students benefit from free or reduced-price school breakfast and lunch. For many, these are the only nutritious meals that they eat regularly. For their families, these meals help relieve financial stress by reducing their food budgets.

During the summer, when students are not able to eat free or reduced-price meals at school, community partners work together to provide food to children and youth in low-income areas via the federal Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Four SFSP sponsors—YMCA of Honolulu, Parents And Children Together, Palama Settlement, and Windward Nazarene Academy—have stepped up to provide free meals for keiki in low-income areas on Oʻahu during these unplanned school closures.

The sponsors are partnering with Aloha Harvest, Kapiʻolani Community College, Lanakila Pacific, Hawaiʻi Appleseed, and Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs to get the meals prepared and delivered.

The following eleven sites provide free healthy grab-and-go meals, Monday through Friday, to keiki up to age 18:

View a map of the below sites here. Through June 30, 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Grab-and-Go Breakfast & Lunch Update

During the extended closure, the Hawai’i Department of Education will provide student grab-and-go breakfast and lunch at select schools to children 18 years and under. Children must be present.

The Hawai’i State Department of Education (HIDOE) is working closely with the Hawai’i Department of Health (DOH) on COVID-19 guidance for our students, teachers, parents and staff.

In close coordination with DOH, existing HIDOE emergency response plans are being adapted for future implementation when needed. Detailed communications from schools are planned to keep parents notified should the situation arise.

Luana Hospitality Group Cooks Up Ways to Help Employees

In Hawaii, the value of ohana (family) takes on a deeper meaning during times like these. Luana Hospitality Group, in an abundance of caution and in response to Governor David Ige’s “stay at home” proclamation, closed Huggo’s, On the Rocks, Lava Lava Beach Club locations in Waikoloa and Kauai and Paradise Gourmet Catering last month. Most of their 350 plus employees from have been out of work ever since. 

In keeping in the spirit of Aloha Pass it On, Luana Hospitality Group Principals Scott Dodd and Eric von Platen Luder, are cooking up ways to support their employees and their families who have been hit hard by unemployment and the stay at home mandates. Aloha Pass it On program started in 2019 as a way to pass on the aloha spirit, spread good vibes, promote a sense of giving and practice random acts of kindness. Providing meals for during this time is an extension of Aloha Pass it On focused on its own family of employees.

Launched this past Friday, Luana Hospitality Group employees and up to four family members will have access to daily meal. Huggo’s, On the Rocks and Lava Lava Beach Club managers, kitchen staff and others worked quickly to prepare the kitchens and order needed ingredients while working within COVID-19 guidelines. Social distancing and other safety measures are the order of the day in preparing to serve meals for Luana Hospitality Group’s employees and their family members. Take out hot meals for reheating at home are available for employee pick up every day. 

It’s estimated that each of the four restaurants, huggo’s, On The Rocks, and the two Lava Lava Beach Club locations will serve between 700 and 800 meals every day to Luana Hospitality Group employees and their families during this time. 

Earlier this month, Luana Hospitality Group teamed up with the Flavour Gallery, who launched RestaurantMerch.com in order to provide restaurants with a fundraising platform to assist with employee relief efforts. Lava Lava Beach Club designed and sold limited edition t-shirts. Flavour Gallery pledged 100% of all profits raised to help provide food for their staff affected by this devastating situation.  The Lava Lava Beach Club limited edition t-shirts sold out during the 5-day flash sale. Watch  RestaurantMerch.com for the 2nd phase of relief effort featuring the “Aloha Pass it On” t-shirt. 

Luana Hospitality Group will continue to explore efforts to help its ohana of employees who have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

Kona Brewers Festival: Good News in Uncertain Time

The Ke Kai Ala Foundation wishes to extend deep gratitude to our Kona Brewers Festival ohana for stepping up with generosity and aloha. The March 14th fundraising event was called off two days prior as news of the fast-moving pandemic was breaking.

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

“At the time, it was a hard decision, but now, looking back, we absolutely made the right call to put people first. We are happy to share that even though we had already incurred many expenses, we raised $90,000. All pre-approved Beneficiaries will be receiving 75% of projected fundraising goals,” said Kona Brewers Festival Director Kate Jacobson.  

Mahalo to the Kona Brewing Company who donated $100,000, The Healy Foundation’s matching grant of $25,000, Southwest Airlines gift of $16,000, dozens of other business sponsors and the hundreds of fans who donated their tickets to fund important community work supporting the environment, culture and youth. 

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

“We are so impressed by the agility and resilience of our Beneficiaries who are moment by moment, reinventing how to deliver programs and services. This is not easy to do, and we have great respect for them being so strong and smart in these extraordinary times,” said Jacobson. “We understand the challenge of uncertainty and that now, more than ever, our commitment to collaboration and sustainable practices needs to be at the forefront of how we move forward.” 

“What a lot of people don’t know about the Kona Brew Fest is that it is first and foremost, a community celebration. Organizers don’t put on a festival, our community does. We just connect people. The spirit of community is what founded this event, and especially in times like these, the community together is what sustains it,” said Summer Carrick, KBF Organizer. With more than 500 volunteers, donated food and beer, and everyone chipping in with their gifts, the festival relies on the generosity of island business, community groups, and the people to make the beloved gathering a success for 25 years.  “To see the support rolling in since the day we announced the cancellation, from the homebrewers to the fans sending in checks, it really shows how much this event means to our island Ohana.”

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

The Kona Brewers Festival has made emergency grants available through tough times before, from the 2011 tsunami to the Kilauea eruptions of 2018, the spirit of generosity is central to the work. The Ke Kai Ala Foundation Chair Mattson Davis asked organizers to “Dig deep, be generous, and this too shall pass, we will get through this. The State of Hawaii is very resilient, has gotten through so many things, even when our economy is so dependent on tourism. There is going to be a lot called upon you in the next months. Your friends may reach out to you. Be creative.” 

“One of the surprising lessons for me is how festivals contribute to social cohesion and positivity. We all need to stay home and safe now, so we can gather together again in celebration of each other and our beautiful island life,” said Jacobson.

PC: Kona Brewers Festival

Organizers plan to make the popular Kona Brewers Festival merchandise available for sale and will be announcing a retail page for soon at www.konabrewersfestival.com. The website also has a complete list of sponsors and beneficiaries

In looking forward to the 25th anniversary on March 13, 2021, Jacobson said “we are inspired by this raw awareness of our interconnectedness and learn new ways to create a sustainable future that fully supports each and every one of us”.

Restaurants Tanking in Hawaii

The Hawaii Restaurant Association reported the following to the Select Committee on COVID Economic Impact & Preparedness on Monday, April 20, 2020 after entering it’s 5th week of the closure of restaurants dining rooms.

In Hawaii 88% of restaurant operators say they have laid off or furloughed employees since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. 24% of operators anticipate laying off or furloughing additional employees during the next 30 days.

Sales

  • Among restaurant operators that laid off or furloughed employees, the average reduction was 86% of the restaurant’s total staff.
  • Based on these results, the National Restaurant Association estimates that more than 53,000 restaurant employees in Hawaii have been laid off or furloughed since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. This represents at least 75% of the 70,700 employees that were working at Hawaii’s eating and drinking places in February.

•  In Hawaii, 100% of the restaurant operators say their total dollar sales volume during the period from April 1 to April 10 was lower it was during the same period in 2019.

  • On average, restaurant operators reported a 79% decline in sales during the period from April 1 to April 10.
  • Based on these results, the National Restaurant Association estimates that the Hawaii restaurant and foodservice industry will lose more than $380 million in sales in April, if the trends continue through the end of the month.

Other Actions Taken or Anticipated

  • 59% of Hawaii operators say they continued operating but for off-premises traffic only. 49% of operators anticipate operating for off-premises traffic during the next 30 days.
  • 60% of Hawaii operators say they temporarily closed their restaurant since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. 51% of operators anticipate temporarily closing their restaurant during the next 30 days.
  • 4% of Hawaii operators say they have permanently closed their restaurant since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in March. 7% of operators anticipate permanently closing their restaurant within the next 30 days.

Percent of Hawaii restaurant operators who took or anticipate taking the following actions

Source: National Restaurant Association, national survey of more than 6,500 restaurant operators conducted April 10-16 Note: With the exception of permanently closing the restaurant, the ‘taken’ and ‘anticipated’ actions are not mutually exclusive.

Additionally The Independent Restaurant Coalition survey released April 16 revealed that nationally nearly three in five restaurant operators said they could only survive between one week and one month more given the current economic climate and local lock downs.

As many independent restaurants struggle to hear back from their prospective lenders, confidence levels are waning. Here are more findings from IRC’s survey data:

• On average, small restaurants have laid off 91% of their hourly workforce and 70% of their salaried workforce since April 13.
• More than 38% of restaurants surveyed closed temporarily (or possibly permanently).
• 28% of restaurants in cities with mandatory closures said they don’t believe they can survive the month.More than half of restaurants surveyed reported needing $100,000 over the next quarter in order to reopen successfully.
• The biggest challenge operators believe they face is a slow return of customers (41%), while the most immediate cash challenge is to pay rent (39%).
• More than half of restaurants have taken on $50,000 or more in new debt since the coronavirus crisis started.

Parks & Recreation Launches Emergency Meal Plan

Beginning this week, the County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division (EAD) began a comprehensive meal delivery program for eligible seniors enrolled in Hawai‘i County’s Nutrition Program.  In compliance with Governor Ige’s Third Emergency Proclamation on COVID-19, which restricted gatherings and instituted social distancing requirements beginning March 25, 2020, EAD undertook a herculean effort to convert its two standard meals programs for seniors, Meals on Wheels and Congregate [Meals] Sites, into a meticulously organized meal delivery network that services all enrolled seniors at their respective places of residence.  

In this initial week of EAD’s emergency meal delivery program, 3,440 frozen prepared meals will be delivered to 688 seniors that opted into the program.  Each senior will receive 5 nutritious meals per week prepared by one of five different vendors depending on the recipient’s location.  EAD staff have charted 24 distinct routes spanning the entire island to efficiently distribute the meals.  All deliveries on 22 of these routes are performed by EAD employees, in marked County of Hawai‘i vehicles, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, depending on geographic location.  The remaining 2 routes (Wainaku to Pa‘auilo and Honoka‘a to Waimea) are executed by staff of Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) in their marked vehicles.

In addition to the delivery of meals, EAD staff members are reaching out by phone weekly to the seniors in its highest risk category to ensure they are doing okay and to inquire with them what their plans are over the next month and if there is any way that EAD can assist them further in this period of emergency.

During this time, EAD continues to service seniors through its Coordinated Services for the Elderly program that provides transportation for doctor’s appointments, pharmaceutical pickups, 2-week essentials shopping as well as emergency services (such as dialysis, cancer treatments, etc.).

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the Hawai‘i County Office of Aging for its continued support of this emergency meals programs as well as its meals vendors: Nani Mau, HCEOC, Café 100, Big Island Grill and L&L Drive Inn.

For questions about the program, call Roann S. Okamura, EAD Operations Director, at (808) 961-8708.

DOE Adds Schools to List of ‘Grab & Go’ Meal Locations

The Department of Education announced that 19 school locations have been added to the current list for pickup of “grab and go” meals for all public and charter school students.

Parents or caregivers who pick up a meal must be accompanied by a child, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements.

Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m.-8 a.m. and lunch 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday through Friday. For food safety, meals must be consumed by either 10 a.m. (breakfast) or 2 p.m. (lunch).

There will be no personal interaction between DOE employees and the community. All meals are placed in containers. Meals will be located outside of the cafeteria, preferably closest to a driveway or natural access point on the campus.

** This information below was revised April 6, 2020

UH Program Connects Public, Local Farmers During Pandemic

Since farmers’ markets have been shut down for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, local farmers are concerned about how they will be able to sell their produce, and locavores are wondering where they are going to buy their local produce and value-added products.

The University of Hawaiʻi’s successful farmer-training program, GoFarm Hawai‘i, has been building a list of some resources for farmers as well as Find Your Farmer, a list of farmers who are still offering access to food in non-traditional ways, such as through pick-up and drop-off. They have the information promoted on their Facebook and Instagram pages so that farmers can add their information.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has been addressing the issue of food security long before the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis. 

GoFarm Hawaiʻi is a collaborative effort involving UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human ResourcesWindward Community College and UH’s Agribusiness Incubator Program.

They are looking for farmers who have food to sell as well as building a resource for people to access food. GoFarm Hawai‘i is also requesting any recommendations of services that can aid farmers during the interim so they can be added to the list.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has five program sites across four islands, making it one of the largest beginning-farmer training programs in the nation. Sites are located on Oʻahu (in Waimānalo and Waialua), Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island. Started in 2012, the program has successfully trained aspiring farmers throughout the state.

Puna Kai Shopping Center Breaks Ground

Today, ground was broken for the new Puna Kai Shopping Center that will be located in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

About 100 community members along with dignitaries from the county and the mayor’s office were in attendance.
Pi’ilani Ka’awaloa gave the opening pule (prayer) and blessing of the land while elected officials and company representatives did the actual groundbreaking.

Situated on 9.93 acres, and featuring more than 83,110 SF of retail, office, dining, and entertainment space, Puna Kai will become the community’s premiere shopping center.

Conveniently located at the intersection of Pahoa Village Road & Kahakai Boulevard in the town of Pahoa, on the Big Island of Hawaii.Puna Kai will be grocery anchored by 35,000 SF Malama Market (Malama Market name will be changed). Leasing opportunities are now  being offered from 1,000 SF to 5,540 SF.

Puna Kai, will provide a distinctive blend of daily services, specialty shops, entertainment, and eateries.
The building architecture will reflect the old Hawaii ambiance and charm, inspiring Puna Kai to be the gathering place in Pahoa that has something for everyone.

Kona Brewing Co. Debuts “Kanaha” Blonde Ale

Hawaii locals receive exclusive first taste of new blonde ale with tropical mango

Kanaha Beach, a world-renowned kitesurfing destination located on Maui’s north-central coastline, inspires the newest year-round beer from Kona Brewing Co., Kanaha Blonde Ale. To bring the spirit of Kanaha Beach to life, Kona’s brewing team created a refreshing light blonde ale featuring a distinctive tropical flavor with real mango that weighs in at less than 100 calories. Kanaha Blonde Ale, is the perfect beer – whether celebrating an epic kiting session or relaxing at the end of the workday with friends. Kanaha Blonde Ale will debut exclusively in Hawaii in October before rolling out in 6-packs and draught on the mainland.

Of the new brew, Kona Brewing Company Innovation Brewmaster Ryan McVeigh says, “What better inspiration for our liquid aloha than the famous trade winds and free spirit of Maui’s kiteboarding mecca?” With its light tropical flavor and aroma, Kanaha Blonde Ale pairs well with grilled seafood and salads.

Starting this week, the new brew is available on tap at the two Kona Brew Pubs located in Hawaii Kai on Oahu and in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii and other restaurants and bars throughout the islands prior to a U.S. mainland roll out in bottles and draught later this year.

The beer debuted with a launch celebration at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa on October 5, 2017. The launch celebration was in support of Maui non-profit, IMUA Family Services . Kona Brewing Co. is proud to support IMUA’s work with local families facing challenges with developmental disabilities on Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Photos of the check presentation and launch party are available at this link.

Kona Brewing Co. has a long-standing history of supporting groups that make a positive contribution to the community through service, education and preservation of Hawai‘i’s unique environment and culture. Kona Brewing Company donates more than $120,000 annually to non-profits like IMUA Family Services. Through its Makana program, the company celebrates non-profits like Jack Johnson’s Kōkua Hawai‘i Foundation, Waipā Foundation, Hawaii Conservation Alliance, Easter Seals, Sustainable Coastlines, Surfrider Foundation, Malama Maunalua, and Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.

Kona Brewing Co. Kanaha Blonde Ale:

  • OG: 8.1°P
  • Apparent Extract: 1.26°P
  • Alcohol by volume: 4.2%
  • IBU: 18
  • Color: 5˚L
  • Malt: Pale Malt, Caramel Malt
  • Hops: Millennium, Mosaic, Amarillo
  • Adjuncts: Mango
  • Calories: 99

Kona Brew Pubs are located at:

  • Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Hawaiʻi Kai, Oʻahu
  • 74-5612 Pawai Pl, Kailua-Kona, Island of Hawaiʻi

For more information, visit KonaBrewingCo.com

Commentary – Were Pahoa High and Intermediate Lunch Times Shortened Because of a Fight?

Yesterday, KHON2 News ran a news story about Pahoa’s lunches being shortened.

…Changes to the lunch program at a Hawaii island school prompted parents to reach out to us, saying their kids are being rushed to eat.

Their kids go to Pahoa High and Intermediate School, which recently started a pilot lunch program.
High school students eat during the normal 30-minute lunch break, but intermediate school students eat during recess, which is just 15 minutes long…

I received the following message on Wednesday indicating that this change in policy may have stemmed from a fight on campus… but didn’t discuss it further with the person sending me the information until tonight:

Aloha Damon, I wanted to bring something to your attention that maybe you could do some investigative reporting. Apparently Pahoa High and Intermediate administration has decided to have Intermediate student only eat lunch during first recess which is 15 minutes while the high school eats during regular lunch which is 30 minutes. When I complained to the principal she stated it was due to decreasing tardys to class during lunch time. An insider told me they did it because of a fight that occurred between a Intermediate kid and a high schooler.

When discussing this with friends on Facebook, one person posted a picture from the Pahoa Cafeteria:

My kids say they don’t even bother eating when this is what they are serving at Pahoa. ~VW

“This was what they call Baja fish taco SMH. This was on Wednesday when we went to school for student of the month luncheon I was In Shock when he came to the table with this…Home lunches from now on!!!” said Valerie Walsh.

Got Baja Fish Taco? I don’t know if I could swallow this in 15 minutes… less yet an hour!!!

Senator Hirono Secures Federal Funding for Clean Energy Research and Development in Hawaii

Kampachi Farms and Makai Ocean Engineering Receive $1.5 Million to Harness Power of Seaweed as Potential Energy Source

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today announced that two Hawaii businesses will receive $1.5 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) funding to develop offshore seaweed as a potential clean energy source. The funding was awarded through DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) program.

“These grants recognize the innovative work being done in Hawaii to research and develop renewable energy resources,” said Senator Hirono, member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “This funding will assess the viability of developing seaweed as an energy source, and explore how to use local resources to meet Hawaii’s renewable energy goals.”

Under the grant, Kampachi Farms in Kailua-Kona received $500,000 to develop an offshore seaweed production farm and test harvesting techniques for future use in renewable energy production.

“Marine agronomy – the culture of limu (seaweed) in oceanic conditions – offers potential for increased production of food, feeds and fuel,” said Neil Sims, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Kampachi Farms. “Using the power of the ocean’s primary production, we can increase availability of healthful food for people, feeds for fish and other animals, and biofuels for a carbon neutral planet, with minimal use of land, freshwater or artificial fertilizers. Offshore culture of limu connects innovative aquaculture with Hawaiian culinary traditions. It also offers – in our estimation – the only possible means of harnessing entrepreneurial resources to create incentives for countering ocean acidification.”

In addition, Makai Ocean Engineering in Honolulu will receive $995,978 to create a model that simulates the ocean to help researchers determine the proper design and estimate costs of offshore seaweed farming systems.

“Makai is thrilled to be selected for award alongside Kampachi Farms by ARPA-E under this innovative program,” said Duke Hartman, vice president of business development at Makai Ocean Engineering. “In addition to advancing the state of the art in macroalgae cultivation, Makai will be strengthening our expertise in technologies with many other applications, such as autonomous and underwater robotics, biological and oceanographic numerical modeling, and offshore engineering. This project builds on our 44 year track record of developing cutting-edge technologies and bringing high-paying, high-tech jobs home to Hawaii for our kamaaina.”

Senator Hirono continues to advocate for ARPA-E funding. Earlier this year, she wrote a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging for continued funding for ARPA-E after the President threatened to slash the program by $20 million in an effort to wind it down.

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Reformats for 2018

The island’s largest agricultural showcase is returning in 2018 with a new twist at a different location.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range will be Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at Mana Christian ‘Ohana (Old Kahilu Town Hall) and the adjacent YMCA Minuke Ole Park in Waimea. The 2018 Taste will offer all-day agricultural-themed fun and educational activities before culminating with an evening tasting event showcasing locally produced food.

“We’re changing up the Taste to share info with families about our local agriculture,” says event co-chair and rancher Jeri Moniz. “We will still have our popular, evening food tasting event to showcase pasture-raised meats, but will also offer earlier activities geared for the general public, including keiki.”

Daytime fun will include agricultural-themed activities and exhibits at the YMCA Park, with plans for horseback rides and viewing of livestock animals complete with educational displays. Community school groups and organizations will be invited to provide food concessions for daytime attendees. Admission to the park exhibits is free.

Also planned are tours at local farms to see firsthand where some of our locally produced foods come from. Ag-related classes and the annual Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 will be offered during the day inside the classroom building adjacent to Mana Christian’s Hall. Chef Edwin Goto of Waimea’s Village Burger and Noodle Club will lead the popular cooking class with sampling.

Featuring about 20 culinary stations, the evening Taste will be both inside and out of the hall and open to 500 attendees. Tickets will go on sale next summer both online and at select islandwide locations.

In its 22nd year, Taste of the Range is changing its focus to share the importance of all types of Hawai‘i agriculture while acquainting keiki with farm animals and how agriculture is the science, art and practice of producing food.

“In the past, Taste was geared to inform chefs and attendees on the benefits of using grass-fed beef, while encouraging ranchers to produce it,” explains Dr. Russell Nagata, co-chair and retired CTAHR Hawaii County administrator. “Our committee has been meeting all year to come up with a new event emphasizing agriculture in a more broad and comprehensive way. We want to share how our local ranchers and farmers take pride in producing our high-quality food.”

Mana Christian ‘Ohana is located behind Parker Ranch Center at 67-1182 Lindsey Road. For more event information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com and stay connected via Facebook at TasteoftheHawaiianRange and at @TasteHI on Twitter and Instagram.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. Volunteers and sponsors are welcomed; contact Dr. Russell Nagata at rnagata@gmail.com

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Taps Annual Industry Award Winners

The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) named the recipients of its annual appreciation awards during the recent 27th Hawaii International Fruit Conference. Given to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry, the four 2017 recipients are Eli Ednie of Choice Mart supermarket, Catarina Zaragoza of the Locavore Store, Sweet Cane Café and Xavier Chung.

Inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award winner Xavier Chung with HTFGʻs ED Ken Love

Chung, a junior at Konawaena High School, received the inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award. The new service accolade remembers the late Hilo fruit and vegetable grower who was an avid supporter of Hawai‘i agriculture.
“The HTFG board instituted the new Lesley Hill Service Award to honor Lesley, who served numerous terms as an HTFG officer and enthusiastically contributed to the health and growth of our organization,” shares HTFG executive director Ken Love.

Chung was cited for orchard maintenance assistance at HTFGʻs Kona repositories, two of five throughout the state. The repositories serve as locations for propagation of fruit trees to make cuttings and scion for HTFG members.

In addition to volunteering with HTFG, Chung helps out with the National Park Service in West Hawaii, Na Maka O Papahanaumokuakea and the UH Sea Grant college program.

Recognized for a dedication to promoting locally grown tropical fruit at the Kealakekua Choice Mart, Ednie also volunteers at the HTFG Kona repositories.

Also cited for promoting local fruit was Locavore Store co-founder Catarina Zaragoza. Located in downtown Hilo, the store not only stocks a wide variety of local fruit, but also provides information on varieties and origins. The detailed labeling informs the buyer on the differences of fruit choices so purchasing can be done more accurately.

“This attention to detail is important when introducing consumers to new and different fruits like mamey sapote,” notes Axel Kratel, president of HTFGʻs East Hawaii chapter. “We want buyers to have a good experience, not just so they buy the fruit again, but also so they can better recognize what fruit variety best suits their taste and needs.”

Sweet Cane Café was recognized for serving locally grown fruit in value-added products. The Hilo business grows sugar cane in Onomea using Korean Natural Farming methods. After juicing the cane, the company features it in a line of beverages, slushies, smoothies, elixirs and drink shots served at its two cafes. Sweet Cane also uses a wide variety of fruits in its menu offerings.

“The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers feels it’s important to recognize those who make significant contributions to the tropical fruit industry across the state,” said Love. “Past winners include chefs, growers and researchers.”

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Marking its 28th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

Hawaii Receives $427,000 in Federal Grants for Agriculture

Hawaii has awarded 11 projects to eligible non-profit and for-profit entities totaling more than $427,000 through the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal program, funded by the Farm Bill, provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.

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The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) submitted the application to the USDA in June 2017 and will be administering the program. The approved projects support activities for research and increasing production of specialty crops, including cacao, taro, mango, cucumber, banana, legumes and Christmas trees. The projects funded include farmer education and agricultural marketing programs. A list of the projects funded by the SCBGP is attached.

The USDA SCBGP has awarded more than $60.5 million nationwide for this coming fiscal year. The grant period runs from September 2017 to September 2020.

For more information on the USDA SCBGP, go to: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/awards

Big Island Burritos Bring ‘Fresh Kitchen’ Flavors to Queens’ MarketPlace

The only Food Court on the Kohala Coast is about to serve up the tasty new flavors of Big Island Burritos, scheduled for opening in October. The new eatery will offer more than the expected stuffed tortillas, with their innovative “Fresh Kitchen Pacific Island, Mexican fusion restaurant concept.”

A variety of ‘fresh kitchen’ Mexican fusion cuisine will be offered at the new Big Island Burritos in Queens’ MarketPlace food court.

The menu will feature signature island style gordo burritos, loaded rice bowls, local farm salads, and fresh soft tacos, prepared in multiple styles and with a variety of flavors to choose from.

“We are thrilled to become a part of the prestigious Queens’ MarketPlace community,” said Hawai‘i restaurateur Pat Kashani. “From our chefs and culinary experts to our operations team, we will truly be honored to add our name alongside all the other excellent food and beverage names that serve the Queens’ MarketPlace and Waikoloa community.”

Kashani operates Auntie Pasto’s restaurants on Oahu, My Big Fat Greek Restaurants in Arizona, and two Hawai‘i Island establishments: Tropics Ale House in Waikoloa Beach Resort and Tropics Tap House in Keauhou.

Heading the kitchen is Donn Rodriguez of Waimea, who is also Chef at Tropics Ale House, and has cooked for top quality restaurants, most recently at the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i.

Big Island Burritos will be open in the Queens’ MarketPlace Food Court from 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.bigislandburritos.com or call (808) 479-0620.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call (808) 886-8822.