“It’s too late for sustainability,” said NewEra Agriculture founder Timothy LaSalle, the keynote speaker at the 2010 Hawaii Ag Conference, the state’s largest gathering of agricultural professionals. “We’ve overshot the chance for sustainability.”
“We did not want to make a foodie event or put on a party, that was never our intent,” says Milton Yamasaki, manager of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Mealani Research Station in Waimea. “We put on a show…but the whole thing, I cannot emphasize enough, is about education.”
At its inception in 1995, Taste of the Hawaiian Range (TOHR) was part of an educational program to promote Hawaii-raised, grass-finished beef to ranchers, chefs and consumers. “Grass-finished” is a more precise term for beef that has been raised its whole life on grass; technically, all cattle, even those destined for feedlots, start out grass-fed.
Fifteen years later, TOHR now showcases Big Island agriculture and a variety of range-fed meats. Inevitably, the combination of food, ranchers, chefs and eaters make for quite a fete, a “foodie event” even.
Beyond the bumpersticker, is Hawai‘i’s ag industry committed to local food production? Should it be?
In a University of Hawaii lab, researchers are isolating and studying papaya genes. In central Maui, fields of sugarcane are cultivated, the stalks harvested, processed for sugar and exported. In a Hilo nursery, anthuriums and orchids are packed into gift boxes for shipment to the neighbor islands, the continental United States and Japan. On pastureland on Big Island, ranchers are herding grazing cattle, some destined for feedlots on the continental United States, some kept back for the local market. All this falls under the big, perhaps unwieldy, umbrella of “local agriculture.” While they’re probably not the images that come to mind when we shop at farmers’ markets or pick up our community-supported agriculture boxes, these examples are a significant part of Hawaii’s agricultural landscape.
Read the rest here: http://honoluluweekly.com/cover/2010/08/everyone-supports-local-ag/
Sun, earth, water. It’s easy to see how these three elements factor into farming. What may not be so obvious—at least to those of us who rely on the widely used Gregorian calendar—is the importance of the moon in planting, gathering and harvesting food. If the impact of lunar cycles on farming seems somewhat… well, alternative, to put it gently… one doesn’t have to look far to see examples of the moon’s influence on our physical world.
In case you couldn’t tell already, mango season is upon us, as manifested from Chinatown streets to farmers’ markets to highway shoulders to–if you’re lucky–your backyard tree. For Mark Suiso of Makaha Mangoes, mango season means not only keeping up with demand at Whole Foods and Alan Wong’s, but preaching the gospel of a mango tree in every backyard. A financial planner by day, Suiso continues to give advice after hours–on how to start and maintain mango and fruit trees; during these sessions, the currency is fruit and the bank is your soul. Suiso spoke with the Weekly about why he’d rather you grow your own mangoes than buy his.
From new and hot to oldies but goodies. From farmers to chefs, what we love to what we wish we had. The Weekly’s Food and Drink issue here: http://honoluluweekly.com/cover/2010/06/food-and-drink-2010/
The folks at Asagi Hatchery see the growing trend in people raising chickens as a throwback to the old days, back when Asagi Hatchery first started, in the 30s and almost everybody had a chicken in their backyards. Stepping into the hatchery is a throwback in itself: from the clicking of typewriter keys to peeping fuzz balls packaged up in a cardboard box for a new chicken owner. Only that the recipient isn’t a country farmer, but a punk rock girl with tattoos up and down her arms. The times they are a-changin’. Continue reading