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Article about truly "local" food

Big Island, Hawaii
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Article about truly "local" food

Well done piece from the Robb report about how Hawaii Island chefs and restaurants are keeping it local.

robbreport.com/paid-issue/leisure-locals-only

LA
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1. Re: Article about truly "local" food

Fantastic article.

I'd love to hear updates. I had never thought about why they can't grow apples and pears on The Big Island, or any of the other niche farm issues.

Also very interesting information about the aquaculture at NELHA. I'd love to be able to tour some of these farms / facilities

Island of Hawaii...
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2. Re: Article about truly "local" food

yeah, love that, Shea! Lots of info there new to me.

The winter chill requirements for fruits, I did learn that long ago. My first job in life was packing pears in ... Pearblossom. High desert. Go up the mountain another two thousand feet and you could grow cherries. Stone fruits (fruits with pits) are fussier about chill than apples.

Living in coastal northern California, I didnʻt get enough winter chill to grow stone fruits, didnʻt get enough days of sustained summer heat to grow watermelons, got too cold to grow grapefruits, oranges marginal, limes and lemons very happy.

In Hawaiʻi, there is also not enough sustained high heat to grow watermelons, or canteloupe, honeydew, etc.. Itʻs warm here, but not hot like the melon growing meccas of California and Arizona, or the deep South. Grapefruits donʻt do too well either, not enough heat. The climate where I am is ideal for tangerines and tangelos. Limes and lemons do well too, Meyer lemons, not Eurekas, also Kaffir limes. Oranges need more heat and do OK but not spectacularly well like the tangerines.

In Hawaiʻi, thereʻs a stinging wasp that ruins tomatoes with thin skins, so the only tomatoes that do well are the cherry varieties with skins too thick for the wasp to pierce. Itʻs really tough growing veggies here at low elevation, without a sealed greenhouse. Thereʻs a reason the tomatoes and strawberries are from Waimea and Honokaʻa, higher up, too cold for pests.

I do grow apples though, two varieties. The reason I can grow them is thanks to Israeli botanists who developed apples that donʻt require winter chill. They are weird looking apples, oblong instead of round or oval, and very tough to peel. But delicious tart tangy apples. I get hundreds of them over the summer, and we have no apple worms here, amazingly.

But they would be challenging for a restaurant because the peeling is labor intensive, and theyʻre not very big apples, so you canʻt just whack the sides off or thereʻs not enough apple. Maybe I should try stewing them?

I have tons of respect for Big Island farmers. Itʻs hard work farming here! Bugs, diseases, mold, fungus, slugs, wasps, and the weeds go 365 days a year.

Big Island, Hawaii
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3. Re: Article about truly "local" food

I actually do grow apples and I'm only at 2000 feet. They're small but delicious. I should let Chef Jim know!

washington dc
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4. Re: Article about truly "local" food

great information I was not even aware that it is so hard to grow fresh fruit here. One always has visions of hawaii with pineapples etc. but I guess BI is a unique environment, very different from other hawaii islands.

we will make sure to eat at 3 fat pigs when in waikoloa.

thanks for the article

Kona
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5. Re: Article about truly "local" food

Grapefruits do very well here if you grow the Tahitian variety, known as pamplemousse or pomelo. We can't even come close to keeping up with our tree's production! There are also a couple of adapted cultivars of watermelon that thrive here. Even raspberries - a variety from India - can be successfully grown.

How cool that you grow apples, KK and Shea!

Edited: 15 November 2013, 03:00
Island of Hawaii...
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6. Re: Article about truly "local" food

Growers on other islands face similar challenges.

It is easy to grow tropical fruit here too, although certain crops have had challenges. And mac nuts, and avocados. Easy.

But ... it gets old having only tropical fruits. You might not think so, but wait until you havenʻt seen a vine-ripened melon or tree-ripened peaches in years and years.

I recently made an apple pie for a local group Iʻm part of, and one of the ladies said it was the FIRST apple pie she had eaten in her whole life that was from fresh apples.

Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: Article about truly "local" food

I want to like Three Fat Pigs but thus far have been disappointed. That seems to be a general consensus.

Island of Hawaii...
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8. Re: Article about truly "local" food

Wahine, interesting about the grapefruit. I must not have that variety. I have a citrus orchard, but the grapefruit barely produces.

When I lived in Waikoloa, I had a little grapefruit tree that took an entire year to ripen two fruits. As you know the water there has to be irrigation, and the cost of daily watering adds up, so I think those were very expensive grapefruits!

The apple variety is Anna, and it produces very young. Iʻve had it at two houses now. It needs a pollinator such as Golden Dorset. My golden apples donʻt produce, but they enable the Anna trees to produce prodigiously. They are weird apple trees that are all stick branches growing straight up, not laterally like a mainland apple.

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9. Re: Article about truly "local" food

One of my favourite Honolulu bloggers was taken to NELHA a while back, I think there was a big group of them who got to go along with some chefs.

I do believe you can make bookings to tour the facility but there is a cost involved. In the meantime if you want more info, you can have a read of her post and look at the photos. I too would love to have toured these facilities, this kind of thing is fascinating to me.. incredible how small the abalone are to begin with and how huge they grow!

nonstophonolulu.com/blogs/…

http://nelha.hawaii.gov

http://www.energyfuturehawaii.org <-- this one has info on the available tours.

Oahu, Hawaii
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10. Re: Article about truly "local" food

Aloha,

Mahalo for the link.

Very interesting article