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Building local, sustainable food communities on Hawai'i Island
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When Tom Palusak started working as produce manager in 2007, he felt it was important that local produce was well represented in Choice Mart’s offerings. Many of the store’s customers are local farmers from the area, and it was only natural and appropriate to give customers the opportunity to buy local. Four years later, about 50% of Choice Mart’s produce comes from Hawai‘i farmers.
If you look behind the scenes at any successful value-added farm enterprise in Hawai‘i (there are many), you will find that their most important resource is people. Entrepreneurs are the "heart," "soul" and "brains" of the operation. The resourcefulness and tenacity to run a small farm comes from the people who run it. Here are a few characteristics of successful value-added farm enterprises.
Ken Love has 35 years experience as an agricultural producer, processor, chef, and educator. His specialty is tropical fruits. Although Ken and his wife Margy sold their farm a number of years ago, Ken harvests fruits from several farms and sell dozens of tropical fruits, both fresh and in processed products. He has a number of test fields at the UH experiment station and manages other farms. Love’s policy is to diversify his markets, rather than relying on just one or two. His markets include a local produce distributor, supermarket, hotels, chefs, and direct to consumers at the farmers market and through Internet sales. By diversifying market outlets from low-end wholesale to high-end chefs, Love can usually count on selling all of his harvests, whether they are 10, 100, or 1000 lbs.
Charcuterie (from chair 'flesh' and cuit 'cooked') is the culinary art devoted to salting, smoking and curing meat and making forced meat products. Originally intended as a way to preserve meat millennia ago, long before the advent of refrigeration, today the art continues to be practiced not only for preservation but also, and particularly, for the flavors derived from the preservation process.
When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie Company is owned by Devin Lowder, PCEC, and his wife, Kristin Lowder. Chef Devin, a 1989 graduate of the New England Culinary Institute (NECI), is also the Co-President of the American Culinary Federation Kona-Kohala Chapter, a Kona County Farm Bureau Board member and serves on the Advisory Committee for the West Hawai'i Community College.
On Saturday, February 2, North Kohala Eat Locally Grown hosted a Farm-to-Fork Tour of three farms on Ho'ea Road. Lokahi Farm, Palili 'O Kohala and Sage Farms opened their gates to the North Kohala community and visitors from all around Hawaii Island for a taste of the agricultural scene in and around Hawi.
The tour began at Lokahi Farm, a tropical botanical garden and working organic farm where Richard Liebmann and Natalie Young are fusing farming with the healing arts. Our hosts led us through the farm's diverse plantings (crops include asparagus, dragon fruit, and horseradish) and showed us the farm's research plot of medicinal plants. We were amazed by the diversity of plants grown at Lokahi—from recognizable daily fare, to edible flowers and healing herbs.
Sunserene Quevedo is a very enterprising young woman with a mission to teach everyone she meets about the benefits of microgreens in our diets. The project started in a small way with Sunserene's love for gardening and her desire to start eating a bit healthier: she began in her bedroom with a growing tray sitting in a tin pan for drainage, a bit of soil, sunflower seeds and a spray bottle. After a few days the seeds started sprouting and before she knew it, she was clipping tender shoots and adding them to salads, wraps, and sandwiches.
- Learning from the 'Aina: Puna Charter School Develops Model Culinary Arts Program
- Local chefs desire regional, seasonal, and artisanal products: Chef James Babian
- "All About 'Uala" workshop in Kohala
- Farmers markets expand business relationships in the community: Nancy Ginter-Miller
- Surinam Cherry—Specialty Crop Profile
- My Wish for the Future
- 4th Annual Local vs. Imported Supermarket Produce (2012): A need for commitment
- Busy restaurants require produce suppliers with professional business practices