Hubbell's Hog Heaven & Liz's Happy Hens: A Farm Tour -- Book Review
Hubbell's Hog Heaven & Liz's Happy Hens: A Farm Tour by Elizabeth Cannon, self-published in July of this year, is a book about an innovative one-and-a-half acre Natural Farming project near Pāhoa, Puna on Hawai'i Island. Liz and her husband Mike Hubbell had farmed organically on the mainland for over 30 years. But when they retired to Puna six years ago they decided to farm their mostly lava-covered land using Dr. Cho's Korean Natural Farming Method. They attended several Natural Farming presentations and even took a trip to Korea to experience well-established Natural Farming methods first-hand. This gives an idea of how serious they have been about their project.
In addition, Liz and Mike were assisted and encouraged by UH CTAHR Hilo Ag Extension Agent and Hawai'i piggery expert, Mike Dupont. Mike wrote a grant for Liz and Mike's initial piggery and has been instrumental in promoting their pig and chicken projects.
In this primer, Liz covers the basics of Natural Farming with indigenous micro-organisms (IMO's), relates the fundamentals of building a piggery, introduces their experience raising and caring for several litters of pigs, describes their inventive and successful method for raising chickens and eggs, and talks about their long-term sustainability goals. Liz's writing style uses plain down-to-earth language, so that even people who don't farm (or are chemistry majors) can understand and enjoy the read.
She includes in entertaining detail how she and Mike started the whole project, what worked and what had to be rethought, as well as their plans for the near future. Particularly interesting were how they built their piggery and Mike's idea for what has been coined 'the Hubbell Bubble', their innovative chicken house. Liz's Happy Hens produce dozens and dozens of eggs, and the chicken project was photographed and explained from start to finish in great detail, making it easy to follow the process.
You can read about the excitement of their first litter of pigs (which by the way was the first litter of pigs born by the Korean Natural Farming method in the United States), and also what they plant in their little farm as food for both their livestock and themselves.
Sonia R. Martinez, the Hawai'i Homegrown Food Network regular farmers market reporter, is a cookbook author and freelance food writer for several publications in Hawai'i, including The Hamakua Times of Honoka'a. She is a regular contributor to Ke Ola Magazine; and has her own food & garden blog at Sonia Tastes Hawaii.