Vetiver grass, or Chrysopogon zizanioides, is a perennial bunchgrass of the family Poaceae, native to India. Vetiver is most closely related to Sorghum but shares many structural characteristics with other fragrant grasses, such as lemongrass, citronella, and palmarosa. Vetiver was brought to Hawaii by the USDA for two main reasons: to help with soil erosion and to absorb toxins from the soil.
The grass grows rapidly with a very strong root system. Although technically invasive, it is considered tolerable because of its uses and can be eradicated easily once the roots are removed and destroyed. Livestock have also been known to eat the grass.
The roots have two medicinal qualities. Once harvested and cleaned, an oil can be extracted from them; you can rub vetiver oil on the bottom of your feet to encourage relaxation and promote a great night’s sleep. Because of its grounding effects, vetiver oil is commonly used in massages. It can also be made into a tea, which, when drunk, will induce a similar tranquil effect.
IT’S AN IMPORTANT TIME TO EXPERIENCE VISITING A FARM
ON A RECENT VISIT TO THE MAINLAND, someone suggested buying groceries at the Dollar store. As a long-time food writer and avid supporter of local farmers, I was dumbfounded. Another friend then described how there are no grocery stores near where she lives and farmers markets are few and far between.
It got me thinking how very fortunate we are to live in Hawaii. Yes, it’s true that (too) much of our food is imported. Yet Hawaii’s agricultural industry is a key part of our local economy. The Aloha State leads the nation in production acreage of macadamia nuts, papaya, passion fruit, taro, coffee, pineapple, bananas, and ginger root. And the number of farms in Hawaii continues to grow, increasing 5 percent to 7,328 farms in 2017 compared to 2012, according to USDA Census of Agriculture data.
Living on Hawai’i Island also known as the Big Island, there are nearly half a dozen farmers markets near me where I can get fresh local produce. When I go to a local restaurant and ask where the beef is from, more often than not they can name the specific ranch – and it’s local and one I personally know.
It’s this ability to know where your food is from as well as explore local farms and learn how food is grown, harvested and made, that makes me so excited for the seventh annual edible Hawaiian Islands Farm Day on Saturday May 16, 2020 – #EHIFarmDay20. This is a statewide social media event in which anyone can participate. You can even participate in other parts of the country – or the world. Every year I make it a point to visit a local farm, go on a farm tour, and/or shop at a farmers market. For me, it’s an opportunity to ask myself, ‘What do I want to learn this year? What foods do I want to explore?’
It’s super easy to participate in #EHIFARMDAY20. All you have to do is invite family and friends to SHOP at a farmers’ market, VISIT a farm, TAKE a farm tour, THANK a farmer, and SHARE what you experience on social media using the hash tag #EHIFarmDay20.
Making it even easier – you can find the HAWAII FARM GUIDE inserted in the 2020 Spring issue or on the edible Hawaiian Islands website.
During past Farm Days I’ve gone to local farmers markets and talked to different vendors. If they could not name where the food was grown that they were selling– I didn’t buy from them. For the most part though, I’ve found local farmers to be passionate about the food they grow. They want to tell you how they grow their produce and what makes it special.
Shopping at your local farmers market means the food is fresher, in season, and offered in greater variety. Knowing where your food is grown not only adds a sense of security about food safety but also keeps money in our local economy.
Other years during #EHIFarmDay, I’ve gone on farm tours and learned how vanilla extract is made (so easy to make yourself once you know how!) and how turmeric is grown. I think the thing that amazes me the most is how chocolate is made. Last year I toured a cacao farm and I still find it incredible that those odd-looking cacao pods can create a substance as rich and delicious as dark velvety chocolate.
To me, #EHIFarmDay is food adventure day. I can’t wait to go on another adventure exploring farms during this year’s event. What will you explore during #EHIFarmDay20?
THE DAYS OF PROLIFIC LO‘I KALO in Hawai‘i are a distant memory, dwindling from 35,000 acres grown across the Hawaiian Islands at the crop’s peak to the less than 350 acres currently in production. Hawai‘i Census data shows a loss of half during the seven-year stretch from 2000 to 2017, down from 7 million pounds to just over 3.5 million pounds. Since Hawai‘i eats nearly double the amount it produces, kalo imports from Fiji and other Pacific locales are needed to help fill the gap.
These shrinking numbers don’t faze the fiercely loyal community of kalo growers, activists, advocates, and fans. Despite setbacks, a kalo comeback is being made manifest in countless different ways, thanks to an army of supporters working to reinstate the plant in its rightful place as Hawai‘i’s most vital staple.
In 2009, the Hawai‘i Department of Health shut down restaurants and independent poi and pa‘i ‘ai makers claiming that traditional preparation methods violated local food and safety laws. The mandates that pa‘i ‘ai and poi be pounded in a commercial kitchen—and that the porous pounding implements be sterilized—starkly infringed on Hawaiian tradition. From a practitioner’s perspective, the papa ku‘i ‘ai (wooden board) and pohaku ku‘i ‘ai (stone pestle) carry the mana (spiritual power) of those who use it, and sterilization is akin to sacrilege.
After tireless rallying and education by founders and allies of the permeative Legalize Pa‘i ‘Ai movement, on May 5, 2011, SB 101 was unanimously passed by the Hawai‘i Senate and House of Representatives. The Pa‘i ‘Ai Bill (aka, Poi Bill) succeeded in providing pa’i ‘ai and poi with their own set of conditions—such as permitting sun bleaching of implements as an alternative to chemical sterilization—free from the narrow restrictions of general health and safety laws.
Not only did SB 101 mean more kalo could be shared and sold among neighbors and local communities, the movement surrounding the bill invigorated interest in learning to prepare poi and pa‘i ‘ai. In Hawaiian immersion hubs like Kamehameha Schools and cultural preservation centers like Kaua‘i Historical Society, opportunities abound for people of all ages wanting to learn how to pound kalo root—and fashion kalo pounding tools—the way Hawaiian ancestors once did.
Hawai‘i’s cherished root vegetable is enjoying a mainstream renaissance thanks in large part to the Legalize Pa‘i ‘Ai movement. Once reserved for dinner tables, potlucks, and backyard pa‘inas (parties), kalo as an ingredient or stand-alone dish can now be seen everywhere from five-star hotel banquets to late-night club menus. Poi, pa‘i ‘ai, kūlolo (kalo pudding) and lū‘au (cooked kalo leaves) are showing up in donut shops, food trucks, and farm-to-table restaurants— not simply for their unique flavor and versatility, but also because chefs and business owners are responding to the growing demand for a return to Hawaiian roots.
While kalo’s culinary coolness is doing a lot to raise awareness at present, the road from peripheral plant to central staple is still long and winding. Unlike the low-cost, readily available staple of rice, at up to $10 per pound the high cost of store-bought poi and kalo’s more complex cooking requirements remain barriers to regular table integration. For farmers, crop threats including climate change, shrinking farmland as a result of commercial and residential development, and short-term leases make for uncertain kalo-growing futures.
“AS AN ANCESTOR OF THE HAWAIIAN PEOPLE, KALO IS REGARDED AS THE PINNACLE LIFE SOURCE WITH THE ABILITY TO HEAL THE BODY”
Vast stewardship from multifarious kalo advocacy groups throughout the Hawaiian Islands is helping fuel the mission to restore kalo as a universal food source. Recent initiatives on Maui are battling for streamflow restoration at Nā Wai ‘Ehā—once the largest contiguously cultivated loʻi kalo growing region in Hawaiʻi, diverted after the fall of commercial sugar cane—in hopes of irrigating starter wetland taro farms. Nonprofits like Kumuola Hawaii in Mānoa, O‘ahu offer cultural experiences where visitors can tend to plants and join workshops that make absorbing the rich history behind kalo interactive and fun.
Onipaʻa Nā Hui Kalo, a statewide organization of kalo farmers, has been uniting community volunteers around the restoration of lo‘i kalo for more than two decades, with thriving projects on every island except Kāho‘olawe. In Maui’s Haleakalā National Park, Kipahulu `Ohana spearheads ongoing restoration of ancient wetland lo`i. At University of Hawaii at Mānoa (UH), the students of Hawai‘inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge run Ka Papa Lo‘i ‘o Kānewai, a one-acre kalo farm that hosts 25,000 volunteers annually for educational outreach. Ho‘okua‘āina on O‘ahu’s east side teaches at-risk youth life skills and delivers Hawaiian cultural values-based coaching through kalo cultivation.
Though Hawaiian kalo varieties once numbered in the several hundred, with distinct strains featuring a full spectrum of flavor, textures, and colors, 90 percent of commercial kalo here is dominated by a single strain—the muted purple Maui lehua hybrid. With this devastating loss of diversity, and modern mono-cropping practices, kalo is becoming increasingly vulnerable to disease, pests, weather, and other crop disruption forces.
Fortunately, the integrity of kalo is a high priority for many local policymakers. In 2009, the Hawai‘i State Legislature enacted SB-1099, a bill that protects the plant’s genetic biodiversity by prohibiting “the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting, or growing of genetically modified kalo” across the state. The thoughtful wording of SB-1099 highlights the undeniable importance of kalo as a cultural touchstone:
“Kalo intrinsically embodies the interdependency of the past, the present, and the future, the essence of procreation and regeneration, as the foundation of any sustainable practice. Kalo expresses the spiritual and physical well-being of not only the kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiian) and their heritage, but also symbolizes the environmental, social, and cultural values important to the State.”
As an ancestor of the Hawaiian people, kalo is regarded as the pinnacle life source with the ability to heal the body. Its roots, leaves, and stem are extremely adaptable in cooking: With the application of modern culinary techniques and technology, kalo inspires all kinds of creative uses, from chips and pancakes to veggie burgers, curries, desserts, and even bubble teas.
In addition to the multitude of nutrients it provides as a superfood, kalo is an alkali-producing food with a low glycemic index that serves to balance the body’s pH factor, assisting in both the prevention and treatment of disease. Kalo as medicine is playing a role in combating chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Along with other traditional Hawaiian diet staples of breadfruit, sweet potatoes, fruit, and fish, the addition of kalo can spark life-changing rejuvenation in people with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and low blood sugar.
Kalo remains an enduring link tethering the Hawai‘i of today to a time when Hawaiians didn’t just eat the vegetable for energy, but also to nourish their spirits and stay connected with the ‘aina (land) and ‘aumakua (ancestors). As the push to revive kalo through new farms—and even backyard gardens—
marches on, the hope is that planting and harvesting kalo feeds the reciprocal relationship between man and earth, and consuming it sustains life and completes the cycle.
Many who enjoy kalo in its various forms today find the Hawaiian proverb “oi no i kalo m‘oa” to be truthful. Literally translated as, “one can eat cooked taro,” the sentiment celebrates the traditional belief that when poi is served, worry and conflict has no place at the table: “The work is done; one can sit at ease and enjoy himself.” [ eHI ]
KALO MAY HAVE DWINDLED, but it never disappeared from the islands. The question remains— will we continue to see kalo, a highly revered staple crop, decline? Or will we collectively lift kalo back into the spotlight of our lives where it deserves to be? The loss of kalo, due to eating habits and increased cost of the starch per pound, is akin to a loss of cultural identity in Hawai‘i. To support the future of kalo, we must consider the current and future patterns of our entire food system. We are at a major crossroads within science, education, and consumerism and our choices within the food chain will have a ripple effect for generations to come. To say the future of food is high-tech, genetically-modified, imported, fast, and processed speaks volumes about the values of the food system we’re building for future generations. As consumers, we can either continue to ride the wave of convenience by buying imported, packaged foods, or we can put in the work as a collective that is needed to create resilience. The work to radically change current consumption patterns will take many hands.
The local food movement is the leading edge of a change that ultimately will transform the Hawaiian food system from imported to sustainable and local. It will take education, joint community efforts, and a willingness to participate.
The sustained success of kalo won’t happen without fundamental changes to the industry. According to many Hawaiians, the hope for kalo remains with the sentiment that it is our kuleana (responsibility) to maintain and protect the gifts of kalo and Hawaiian knowledge of growing and cooking it for the benefit of future generations. These values symbolize the spiritual and physical well-being of not only the kanaka maoli (Native Hawaiians) and their heritage, but also the environmental, social, and cultural values important to Hawai‘i.
The future of kalo lies in our ability to build these values into the places where we consume and purchase food. With this in mind, the future needs to support local farmers, access to land for farming, garden education in our schools, and community infrastructures such as food hubs and cultural resource centers. If we can restore Hawaiian farming of kalo around the islands, we can bring back health to the land, people, and communities. The plant alone is amazingly versatile, nutritious, and delicious in many forms. These innovations can point to a different kind of future—a future that includes an abundance of locally grown food embedded within the Hawaiian values of health and integrity for Hawai‘i’s people and land.
Biodiversity was once the key to kalo longevity through naturally and selectively bred Hawaiian varieties that were cultivated for generations. This important indigenous food crop depends on humans to keep it alive and thriving. We need to do what we can to keep kalo around for the next generation to inherit the benefits of this traditional and culturally significant food. Safeguarding the kalo collection comes with many challenges, and modern threats are more manageable with proper intervention and good horticultural practices.
Sharing information through creating a network of farmers, researchers, and gardeners could prove helpful in documenting cultivar characteristics, best-growing conditions, preferred growing sites, pest and disease resistance, and productivity under a range of conditions, sites, and growing practices. Additionally, we could establish huli (mature kalo) banks with clean (disease-free) plant stock on each island to revitalize lo‘i kalo diversity. Through prevalent techniques that are environmentally and culturally aligned, the future can include collaboration among science and education institutes that are based on a foundation of respect for plants, culture, and people. This would also include thoughtfully engaging with communities to understand what, specifically, is needed to proactively protect and steward kalo and other traditional crops. Impactful programs can emerge to strengthen the ongoing restoration of kalo, agricultural landscapes, and Hawai‘i’s food system.
SERVING THE FUTURE
To perpetuate the ancient traditions around kalo production, it will take hands-on education to encourage the next generation of farmers. We can no longer separate ‘ai pono (healthful eating) from the productivity of our ‘aina; we must solidify this relationship. In valuing our local food system, we need to redefine farming as not a low-class job to avoid, but as a viable career. Educators must begin to highlight kalo farming as what it is—holistic, fun, and nurturing. Contemporary Hawaiian culture-based charter schools are leading the way, as farming has been painfully absent from local public education for the last century. A resurgence of career technical education pathways like agriculture and culinary classes that feature kalo through experiential elements is needed. Schools could even feature their own dry or wetland lo’i kalo to explore not just agriculture, but history and culture as well.
The more opportunities there are in getting students’ feet wet in the lo‘i or getting their hands emerged in the soil, the more youth will want to step into the future by connecting with the past. Imagine agriculture teachers sharing newly harvested kalo plants with students after teaching them how to build a proper lo‘i kalo, or culinary teachers sharing creative kalo gnocchi and pa’i ‘ai pizza recipes alongside traditional recipes like laulau and luau stew. By nurturing the connection between the land, food, and our youth, we can restore the health of both the ‘aina and the families who inhabit it.
It is through producing one’s own food and feeding others that people can thrive. The technologies developed by Native Hawaiians not only allow for sustainable and prolific food production, but also encourage the growth of cooperative community relationships. Envision a future where individuals come together to help strengthen, contribute to, and benefit from resilience within our food system.
Imagine a regional food hub that holds community poi, pa’i ‘ai, or laulau days where folks can share labor and rewards with their neighbors. A place where you can share tools, seeds, crops, and other resources. A center that shares family-based cultural experiences based on Hawaiian traditions, like how to hand-carve a papa ku‘i ‘ai (wooden poi board) and a pohaku ku‘i ‘ai (stone pestle) with natural materials gathered from the land. A communal kitchen where you can share rituals of cooking and eating with your neighbors. Activities like these can draw Hawaiian communities closer by celebrating kalo for all it was and continues to be for our island.
ROOTED IN THE FUTURE
Education, better consumerism practices, and community infrastructure can help propel kalo cultivation far into the future to ensure a vibrant internal and external market. Instead of local families quietly holding the burden of buying local poi at $10 to $15 per pound, they can participate in traditional practices to preserve a culture. The market also rests on our ability to grant tourists their desire for an authentic Hawaiian cultural experience through sampling kalo products.
As we plant more of this ancient dietary staple and work to align education, community infrastructure, and our markets, greater attention to indigenous thought and relationship with kalo will grow. Let us celebrate this culinary tradition to sustain the kalo industry far into the future. [ eHI ]
HO’OMOE WAI KĀHI KE KĀO’O
LET’S ALL TRAVEL TOGETHER LIKE WATER FLOWING IN ONE DIRECTION
PHOTO CREDIT: DRY LAND TARO FARMER, BOBBY PAHIA IN WAIKAPŪ AT HOALOHA FARMS
THE PAST THE HISTORY OF KALO: THE FACTS, FOLKLORE, AND DOWNFALL OF HAWAII’S KALO WRITTEN BY SARAH SCHULTZ
BEST KNOWN FOR ITS STARRING ROLE in poi, the popular (sometimes polarizing) Hawaiian dish, kalo, was a staple starch in the precontact diet of Hawaiians and has been grown across the archipelago for a millennia. But kalo, also known as taro, is so much more than a complex carbohydrate: Specific varieties were reserved for royalty or ceremoniously offered to the gods, and it‘s integral to the genesis story of the Hawaiian people. To truly understand Hawaiis reverence for this root vegetable, let‘s dig a little deeper, shall we?
TALES AS OLD AS TIME
Radiocarbon data unearthed within the last decade puts Polynesian settlers in Hawaii sometime between 1000–1200 AD. Their voyage spanned across the uncharted waters of the Pacific, aboard archaic canoes. The stars, trade winds, and sea swells were their only maps. Be it by luck, advanced algorithms, or some sort of divine intervention, paradise was found.
With them came the flora and fauna that had sustained their people for generations prior. The roots, cuttings, and seeds were later coined as “canoe crops,” noting their wildly adventurous journey. Archaeological evidence indicates that kalo, banana, breadfruit, coconut, mountain apple, sugarcane, and yam were among these foods. They became the very heart and soul of Hawaiian culture, but kalo is arguably the most sacred, the most storied.
Early texts describe the creation of the islands as a partnership between Wakea (sky father) and Papa (earth mother); who also gave birth to the beautiful goddess Ho‘ohokalani. Through royal ancestral union, or ni‘aupi‘o, Wakea and Ho‘ohokalani conceived a child, a son. He did not survive but was named Hāloa, or long breath. From his resting place rose the first kalo plant. Their second son, born healthy and strong, is said to be the first human Hawaiian. The Hawaiian word for family, ‘ohana stems from the word ‘ohā, the bud of the kalo root. Herein lies the unrivaled kinship that Hawaiians had— and still have—with both kalo and the land.
HAWAII‘S PRIDE AND POI
Not too far a departure from Ireland‘s potato or the mainland‘s corn, kalo’s starchy root was always on the menu, regardless of age or class. (More colorful varieties and tastier pois were grown or reserved specifically for royalty, or ali‘i.) In addition to its energy-sustaining carbohydrate content, kalo is packed with potassium, fiber, calcium, and iron. When properly cooked, every part of the plant can be eaten.
The cooked root, or corm, was commonly hand-pounded into a pulp, or pa ‘i‘ ai. The pulp was saturated with water and the fibers were strained, then the mixture was eaten fresh or left to ferment for days. Voila—the purple-gray paste known and loved as poi.
E KANU I KA HULI OI HA‘ULE KA UA
PLANT KALO STALKS WHEN IT RAINS
Before the modern marvel that is refrigeration, a nutrient-dense food with an extended shelf life was something of a godsend. The pudding-like consistency and wealth of health benefits made it especially important for infants and the elderly. Early Hawaiians did not traditionally use utensils; poi was characterized as one-, two-, or three-finger, denoting how many you needed to scoop up a mouthful, and they could allegedly eat up to 15 pounds of poi daily.
Beyond its place at the table, kalo was used in medicine and ritual. The stalk could zap the sting from insect bites and reduce fever, while thick (think one-finger) poi was applied as a topical remedy. Rain water caught in the leaves of the ‘apuwai variety was considered sacred and aided in spiritual healing.
PUTTING DOWN ROOTS
It can be reasoned that for a population of about 400,000 ancient Hawaiians, tens of thousands of acres were utilized to sustain kalo as a principle food source. The early settlers would have likely confined production to the wet, windward sides of the islands,but as the population spread out, they adapted to new natural resources and growing conditions.
Wetland kalo was first planted near river mouths and marshes, then eventually in flooded fields known as lo‘i. This ingenious irrigation system followed the land‘s natural contours and the laws of gravity; fresh water was diverted down man-made canals that were reinforced by rocks to the uppermost lo‘i. The water flowed down from patch to patch, finally returning to the stream. The construction and cultivation of kalo lo‘i was back-breaking, muddy work, but it did yield a higher-caliber poi than its upland cousins.
While not all corms are created equal, farming in non-irrigated upland areas was just as important as lo‘i cultivation. Upland, or dryland, kalo thrived in regions with rich, mulched soils and reliable rainfall. These tougher corms could take up to a year to mature and became ‘table kalo,‘ cut and cooked into pieces like a potato.
For centuries, these sustainable traditions were upheld under the code of mālama ʻāina, or caring for the land. Kalo was the connection to everything—earth, ‘ohana, and the divine13—but it was with the fateful arrival of European settlers that this deep-rooted bond began to loosen.
As with the totality of Hawaiian culture, kalo‘s lineage can be traced closely against immigration patterns. Polynesian settlers brought Hawaiian kalo to life; with the arrival of Europeans in the late 1700s, it went through its first major decline. Europeans lacked both a palate for poi and a regard for kalo‘s sacredness. The island‘s population and plant life were struck with new diseases brought from the west, reducing the supply and demand for kalo.
An influx of Asian migrants in the mid 1800s soon took the reins on kalo farming and poi production. The ancient lo‘i systems began to mirror the design of rice paddies, and at the very start of the 1900s, Chinese farmers were growing 50% of the total kalo crop and mass-producing 80% of all poi. With this, the art of lo‘i and handcrafted poi was pushed even further out of sight. As demand for kalo continued to dwindle, many of those paddies made the final switch to rice production. An estimated 1,280 acres were being used for kalo production in 1900; rice occupied almost eight times that acreage by 1907.
In the 1930s, the University of Hawai‘i‘s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources undertook a massive research project to collect, identify, and give safe haven to heirloom Hawaiian kalo varieties before they became merely a part of the past. It‘s believed that there were once 150-175 unique kalo plants in Hawaii, of which 84 were found and preserved during this effort. In the past three decades, a handful of those have been lost at the hands of natural disasters and budget cuts.
Proverbs are quite simple by nature, but sage in wisdom. Still waters run deep. Every cloud has a silver lining. E kanu i ka huli oi ha‘ule ka ua, meaning, ‘plant kalo stalks when it rains‘, is an old Hawaiian adage that says do the work when you‘re afforded an opportunity. Today, we‘re at yet another crossroads in kalo‘s history. This plant is woven into the fabric of Hawaiian culture, the thread that binds people to their land and ancestral roots. The opportunity to preserve the past, navigate the present, and fight for kalo‘s future is here. Let‘s get to work. [ eHI ]
SPRINGTIME IS MY FAVORITE TIME OF YEAR. In Hawai’i the weather starts to warm up just a bit, and – depending on what part of the island you reside on – the rain begins to ease. We are fortunate to have a nearly year-round growing season, but make no mistake, springtime is special. What is your favorite season? And why? Send me an email and share your thoughts… I am listening.
edible Hawaiian Islands magazine published our first issue in 2003 and I took over the helm in 2013. For the most part, I don my farm boots and travel to each island seeking people whose passions, projects, and stories align with the edible Hawaiian Islands values and give their voices a platform within our pages. Beginning with this issue, however, I’m calling on you, our loyal readers and leaders in our community, to join our first ever statewide advisory group. Simply send us an email at email@example.com and ask for more information. We are seeking a small group of passionate individuals who are willing to check in with us once a month to share what’s fresh, what’s new and what’s happening in their community. The reward? Becoming a part of something larger and gaining more knowledge about what our local statewide food-scene has to offer.
7TH ANNUAL STATEWIDE HAWAI’I FARM DAY – SATURDAY MAY 16, 2020
Let’s gather and support: join us for the seventh consecutive year, on the third Saturday of May, to celebrate Hawai’i Farm Day. We ask you to SHOP at a farmers’ market, VISIT a farm, TAKE a farm tour, THANK a farmer and then SHARE your experience through social media by using the hashtag #EHIFARMDAY20. This year we are kicking it up a notch…check out the story on page 50 and see how you can participate.
Finally, for everyone who is reading this and has professed a LOVE of edible Hawaiian Islands magazine: we need you to become a subscriber. No shame here – we need the readership, we need the financial support, and we want to continue to provide and share this publication. We also need to support our advertisers. If edible Hawaiian Islands has won your heart, or even just piqued your interest, we encourage you to give back to this community resource by becoming a subscriber today.
Everyone remembers the Junior League cookbooks with their sumptuous recipes covering the gamut of Island cooking. Almost every household in Hawai‘i had at least one cookbook. Now by popular demand, here are the best and favorite dishes sure to please every palate—from everyday recipes to special occasion dinners, from snacks to delicious desserts. Over 250 recipes to enjoy and cook for your family or guests. The wows will be forthcoming. There are traditional Island favorites—lumpia, spring rolls, chicken wings; salads including spinach, Caesar, and papaya; soups like miso, oxtail, and Portuguese bean; entrées range from kalbi, ribs, to lemon chicken and mahi mahi. Of course, there’s lū‘au food and an array of desserts featuring Island fruits.
Size: 6” x 9” Pages: 320 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-949307-09-2
Written and Photographed by Dania Novack Katz for edible Hawaiian Islands
It had recently rained when I invited local forager and wild foods expert, Sunny Savage, to take a walk in my neighborhood. I was interested in learning more about the plants growing on my street, and Sunny’s breadth of knowledge surpasses that of anyone I have ever met in Hawai‘i.
We headed out armed with a camera, a notepad and a pen. I was intent on satisfying my curiosity and expanding my awareness of which local plants were safe to eat and which to stay away from. In the event of a natural disaster, being able to identify wild edible plants could come in very handy!”
What seemed like irritating weeds, sprung up in the wake of the recent rain, turned out to be a treasure trove of edible plant life. The plants pictured here were all identified within twenty feet of my driveway. Sunny educated me on how to eat them and how to distinguish them from imposters.
What’s extraordinary about Sunny is not just her knowledge, but the fact that she shares it so freely, advocating for a world in which we all recognize and utilize the diversity of wild foods growing right beneath our noses. We want to support her in this endeavor at every turn.