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June 2009

LOVE OF FOOD BLOSSOMS IN EDIBLE SCHOOLYARDS

BY SUE KIYABU

When Amanda Rieux started the Mala’ai, the Culinary Gardens at Waimea Middle School, she didn’t have tools, water or a shed, much less a semblance of a garden.

“It was literally a windswept field,” says Rieux, garden leader at the school. So she and her students spent time talking about the land.They discussed the sandalwood trees that became railroad ties on the mainland, the kikuya grass that crowded out the native grasses, and the military history of the site. And they talked about what they wanted to grow.

“At first it was really wide open,” Rieux, says. “We started with a field and some ideas, and it grew from there.”

Where Does Food Come From?

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The interest in edible schoolyards has escalated dramatically in recent years. On Hawai`i Island, as many as 30 new programs are under way. Statewide concerns about childhood obesity, proper nutrition and future sustainability remain driving forces for most programs.… Read More

A Recipe for Sustainability

By John Cox

The problem with following recipes is finding the right ingredients. We assume that recipes tasted good when they were created, otherwise someone wouldn’t have bothered to record them—yet somewhere in the aisles of a giant supermarket decisions are made that set the cook up for failure.

Maybe it was the avocado they pushed on just hard enough to convince themselves it was ripe, or maybe it was the parsley they picked out because the cilantro bin was empty. With so many ingredients it is no wonder people find themselves making concessions and substitutions when following recipes.

“Garbage in, garbage out” is an expression you can hear in kitchens around the country, meaning quite simply that if you start with poor quality ingredients you will end up with poor quality food. Even the best chef can’t overcome this basic law.

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All food is in a constant state of evolution.… Read More

`Aina Honua

 

DEAN OKIMOTO CAPTURES
TASTE OF THE ISLANDS IN NALO GREENS

BY MARI TAKETA

A gentle mist drifts down from the Koolaus as Dean Okimoto surveys his terrain. On this modest piece of windward O`ahu, acres of baby greens stud the earth like strands of rubies, emeralds and jade, their evocative names spanning the globe: Lolla Rossa, tatsoi, Kyona mizuna, Red Russian kale, French sorrel. Personally selected by Okimoto for
their taste, color and nutritional value, his signature Nalo Greens have become a staple of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

“On the mainland, salad greens are usually grown in cooler conditions,” he explains. “Ours grow in volcanic soil, in 70- to 90-degree weather. The flavors are much bolder and zestier.”

Okimoto leans back in his folding chair in an open-air shed, surrounded by stacks of produce boxes. His shorts and sneakers are clean and white against the dirt of a working farm. Today the 53-year-old owner of Nalo Farms leaves the bulk of day-to-day operations to his 15 employees and spends half of his time as president of the Hawaii Farm
Bureau, lobbying legislators, supermarket executives and the community on the benefits of sustainable local agriculture.… Read More

Talk Story Sweet Celebration

sugarcane

The History and Future of Sugar Cane in Hawai`i
By Jon Letman • Photos Jon Letman

The first voyaging Polynesians to reach the Hawaiian Islands arrived in canoes laden with their most important food plants— taro, coconut, breadfruit, sweet potato, banana and yam

Each of the nearly 30 plants they selected had functions and significance beyond the ordinary, for each had to merit
space in the crowded outriggers.

One plant, a perennial member of the grass family, was easy to transport, grew quickly and had a multiplicity of uses
from thatching, windbreaks and medicine to borders, recreation and dental care. This grass, known in Hawaiian as kō,
was most favored as a food and sweetener.

Saccharum or sugar cane, was first cultivated in New Guinea, then in India as long as 10,000 years ago. The English word sugar is rooted in the Sanskrit sharkara, meaning sugar or pebble.

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Like the other Polynesian-introduced grass, bamboo, kō was long, sleek and useful, but it was kō that played an unparalleled role in shaping modern Hawai`i.… Read More

The Sustainable Tourist

sustainabletorist

By Devany Vickery-Davidson
Photos By Devany Vickery-Davidson

As the plane landed, I felt myself aching for the ever-embracing soft air of Hawai`i. All I could think about was putting the top down on the car and riding under the luxuriantly green jungle along the Red Road on the Puna Coast, anticipating the wonders of the Big Island’s many farmers’ markets. Yes, I came for the incredible Hawaiian climate and yes, I came to enjoy blissful days snorkeling and hiking and touring, but most of all… I CAME TO COOK!

When I tell people we are planning on moving to the Big Island, the first thing most of them say is, “Lucky you!”The second thing they say is, “Oh, but it is so expensive there!” I guess I am glad for that stereotype in a small way, as it keeps real estate prices somewhat reasonable and prevents a massive immigration to Hawai`i.… Read More

Liquid Assets

beer

Brew in Hawai`i
By Tim Ryan

Brewmasters have a lot of things in common besides their appreciation for beer.

Most of the Hawai`i brewers who make “craft” beer—think very low volume compared to the big boys—at some of the eight craft breweries on Kaua`i, O`ahu, Maui and the Big Island started making beer at home because, pragmatically, it was cheaper than store-bought beer, they could make more of it at home and the result eventually tasted a whole lot better.

Part of home brewing usually included experimenting with flavors.

“First of all, with any beer style there are no hard rules,” said Greg Yount, brewer at Brew Moon’s Honolulu restaurant in Ward Centre. “Variations within styles are expected concerning flavor, ingredients and methods of brewing.

“We each have our own interpretation of what we consider appropriate for the style and you go for that.”

In Hawai`i that means at least a dash of something exotic to represent the tropics: Kona coffee, mango, honey, pineapple, passion fruit, among others.… Read More

The Hawaii Healing Garden STATEWIDE FESTIVALS

“Planting a seed of inspiration is the first step,” says Michael Saiz, cofounder of the Hawaii Healing Garden Festivals. “It is an act of intention that sets you on a learning path of nurturing, awakening and evolutionary experience.”

What began on the Garden Island of Kaua`i in 2005 as a pilot project with a seed grant has now grown into an annual statewide festival series, showcasing Hawaii’s cultural healing arts, health and wellness and “green” sustainable living.

The Hawaii Healing Garden Festivals are the brainchild of Saiz and Katherine Fisher, co-founders of the festivals and HawaiiHealthGuide.com, the state’s leading online health and wellness resource. The festival idea evolved from their direct experience with Hawaii’s many cultural health practitioners, and an ongoing discovery of the diverse health and wellness, agricultural and environmental resources across the islands.

Each island hosts a day of family-friendly events designed for children, adults and seniors, including: educational and cultural presentations; organic food and beverages from local restaurants; a healing arts fair; and performances by world-class musicians, such as Paula Fuga andMakana.… Read More

Hawai`i STATE FARM FAIR

BY Melissa Chang

For almost 40 years, the Hawai`i State Farm Fair has been the best way to promote awareness and support for
Hawaii’s agriculture community, especially to people who live in the city. Urbanites flock to the event to learn about locally grown products, from fresh produce to farm animals.

Over time, it grew to include carnival rides, games, and retail booths in an effort to attract a larger crowd and
appeal to different audiences. It moved to various venues around Oahu; the time frame was adjusted to accommodate
consumer traffic.

This year, the Farm Fair is evolving into a new concept: It’s simply going to focus on Hawai`i agriculture.

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The new Hawai`i State Farm Fair will take place on July 26 and 27 on the Bishop Museum grounds. It will
cost $3 for children from 4 to 12 years of age, and $5 for adults; HFBF members plus three guests can get in free.… Read More

`Aha`Aina

ahaaina

Recapturing the Soul of the Luau
By John Cox
Photos by John Cox

Somewhere in the humid darkness, barely audible over the lapping surf, a lone ukulele melody floats along the tradewinds. Beneath the scent of chlorine, sunblock and artificial coconut room spray wafts the distinct aroma of teriyaki sauce dripping onto hot coals.

Framed by a short hallway, illuminated by bright stadium lights, a theater of polyester aloha shirts and orchid leis watch silently as two dancers sway to a primal drum rhythm. Their grass skirts cast long shadows across a bowl of poi that sits on the otherwise empty buffet like a pale blob of discarded Play Doh, a curiosity left untouched by foreign tongues.

As I observe from a distance I realize that this is a luau without substance, a tradition turned to entertainment, somehow forgetting its very reason for being: community celebration and fellowship. Somehow the very soul of the luau had been lost.… Read More

Notable Edibles Summer 2008

Oahu

Hank’s Haute Dogs:Who the hell is Hank? This is the first thing you see when you go to the kahuna page on Hanks website. Hank is Henry Adaniya a prominent restaurateur from Chicago and owner of Trio, his world-renowned restaurant. He has now moved from fine dining to fast food, focusing on his family roots here in developing Hank’s. The hot dog is an edible icon, that everyone can savor. The dogs come in all breeds, from a classic HANK’S Frank, a classic Chicago all beef hot dog with the famous snap – and all the fixins you can imagine, a CHILI DOG, with Hank’s homemade chili, to a NO DOG for the vegetarians, that sounds amazing, to the exotic daily specials that include, Lobster, Alligator, Kobe Beef even Duck and Foi Gras. Everything is homemade, including bistro style French fries, liliko`i lime soda, and on Friday and Saturday nights, there is even truffle macaroni and cheese.… Read More

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