Specialty Crop Profiles

These crops support:

  • commercial and non-commercial plantings of all sizes, including homegardens
  • small-scale commercial operations suitable for family farms and gardens
  • local food production for happier and healthier communities
  • traditional crops
  • integrating trees and crops (agroforestry)
  • community food self-reliance.
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Tea—Specialty Crop Profile

on Monday, 27 December 2010 00:00.

Mike Riley of Volcano Tea Garden in Volcano shows his tea plants, which are growing together with native forest trees.
Mike Riley of Volcano Tea Garden in Volcano shows his tea plants, which are growing together with native forest trees.

Tea is the most widely consumed beverage after water. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavor. The three most common types of tea are black, green, and oolong. There are also some less common types such as white and yellow teas and compressed teas (e.g., puerh), as well as numerous flavored and scented teas. All of these teas have in common that they use the leaves of the same plant, Camellia sinensis, but they are processed in different ways.

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Ginger—Specialty Crop Profile

on Friday, 27 August 2010 00:00.

Certified organic ginger grown in Hamakua, Hawaii.
Certified organic ginger commercially grown in Hamakua, Hawaii.

Ginger is used throughout the world as a spice or fresh herb in cooking and a variety of other value-added products including flavoring in candies, beverages, liqueurs, ice cream, baked goods, curry powder blends, sauces, and various condiments. Ginger is also used in traditional medicine to treat several ailments including nausea, motion sickness, migraine, dyspepsia, and to reduce flatulence and colic. Young rhizomes that are harvested early are also used in pickles and confectionery.

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Pumpkin and Squash—Specialty Crop Profile

on Thursday, 22 July 2010 00:00.

Local squash type grown at Ginger Hill Farm, Kealakekua.
Local squash type grown at Ginger Hill Farm, Kealakekua.

Whole fresh pumpkin and squash fruits are the primary product of commerce. Cooked squash may be canned or dried for storage. Seed can also be consumed. Flowers and tender vine tips of all edible types are sold and consumed as vegetables. Male flowers and vine tips provide a source of income for growers prior to fruits reaching marketable stage, although care should be taken to leave some male flowers as a pollen source for female flowers. Selective, judicial harvesting of young shoots should preserve and promote canopy development and is not expected to significantly reduce yields.

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Taro (kalo)—Specialty Crop Profile

on Thursday, 24 June 2010 00:00.

Taro growing in Holualoa, North Kona, Hawaii.
Taro growing in Holualoa, North Kona, Hawaii.

The primary food products from Colocasia taro throughout much of the Pacific islands for both subsistence and commercial purposes include: corm, leaves, and petiole, which can be prepared in a number of ways. The corm is boiled in water, baked, fried, or steamed in underground earth ovens (known in various languages as imu, umu, um, and lovo). The leaves and petioles are often boiled and served as a kind of spinach.

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Macadamia nut—Specialty Crop Profile

on Monday, 24 May 2010 00:00.

Nearly mature macadamia nuts on the tree.
Nearly mature macadamia nuts on the tree.

Dried kernels are roasted and manufactured by processors and industrial users into a wide number of products featur­ing whole or half kernels that are unsalted, dusted with fine­ly ground confectionery salt, or flavored. Chocolate-coated kernels have become a major product. Second grade and broken kernels (pieces) are used in confectionery products such as brittles and candies or diced for use as garnishes, ice cream, sherbets, cakes, and pastries. Kernels are also milled into a premium nut butter and the oil is extracted for use in food and cosmetics.