Category: Letter of Aloha


The overall larger theme to our winter issue is Eat. That single three-letter word carries more weight and is one of the most important acts that we can do to sustain ourselves in addition to what type of food we eat.

My thoughts turn to the role of using my dining room table, especially the role it plays in our lives not just during the pandemic. In my opinion, my dining room table is the most important piece of furniture in my home aside from my bed.

During the past two years, it went from a gathering place for friends and family to a home office, a library, a studio for college projects, to a place to display all the food my neighbors shared – and that’s just the inside mahogany table. In Hawai‘i, many homes have open carports – and the real gatherings happen here in a covered but open space. My carport overlooked a taro patch across the road a make-shift garden, and outdoor real wood BBQ plus a picnic table that could seat up to 10 guests. Outdoor speakers, lau hala (leaves) mat, and café lights completed the space. This area of my home literally saved my life the past year.

So I started thinking and asking family and friends about their dining room tables. While most people never gave it a second thought at first, and then the intimate stories came and they are mostly emotional remembrances of holidays, birthdays, and a deeper understanding of how important this piece of furniture is and the role it plays supporting all of these memories.

Fast forward, to the late fall and I had to move from my current home. I knew my new space didn’t have enough room for my dining room table and was forced to find a new owner. As the empty truck arrived and the table was carefully loaded and strapped down I was overwhelmed with emotion and hit with a flood of wonderful memories.

So please pay attention to your dining room table. Clear it off and wipe it down. Buy some flowers or a new tablecloth and honor it as it holds much more than your next meal.

Dania Novack
edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine

Letter of Aloha – Fall 2020

ALOHA, The past six months have been unprecedented times, and particularly the last month or so has given us many reasons to reflect. Deep racial injustice against the Black community has long existed in the United States, seeping into every part of American life, including the food community and food media. No one can claim to be a mere bystander.

As a publisher, I have been trying to pause thoughtfully, considering what role we can play, as a local food and drink magazine, social media supporter and website, in the conversation about race, equality, and elevating diverse voices. We can all make a difference in fighting systemic racism and other prejudices, even over here in our small corner of the world dedicated to thoughtful local food and drink in Hawai’i and beyond our shores.

At edible Hawaiian Islands magazine, we have long been committed to sharing multiple narratives and recipes, representative of the beautiful and diverse makeup of the entire local community. Food traditions from across the Hawaiian Islands, among many other places, contribute to the way we think about food. Local food and drink traditions span multiple ethnic identities in our open-tented definition.

But we can do better, just like many other outlets. Here at edible Hawaiian Islands magazine, we remain committed to continuing to amplify diverse local food voices. I invite you to reach out by calling or emailing because we are always open to hear your ideas on topics you think we should be covering, conversations and feedback.

Dania Novack Katz
edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine

Letter Of Aloha – Spring 2020

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 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.


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.

See you at the farmers’ market!

Dania Novack Katz

Letter of Aloha – Winter 2020

I’LL ADMIT I HAVE TROUBLE SLEEPING SOME NIGHTS. Don’t get me wrong I never drink coffee in the afternoon and I try not to eat a big, heavy dinner late at night. I wake up because I’m worried about the world I’m leaving to the next generation. I ask myself, am I doing enough to leave the planet a better place for my children or grandchildren?

Often times, when our team is ready to start planning the theme for the next issue, one small experience provides the inspiration. For this issue, I read an article shared by the United Nations about climate change and its relationship to food waste, food production and growing food. The article set our heads spinning in a direction that we still have not recovered from. Read more in our TALK STORY department on page 50.

You see, when I began working with edible Hawaiian Islands in 2007 it was all about farm-to-table, eating local, and growing your own food. We’re still talking about these things, but now the conversations around food have taken on stronger, political meaning. My passion for growing, cooking and sharing food has long shaped my life and that of my family, but now it’s evolved into a greater awareness that everything I do in relation to food has a consequence – some positive and some negative.

As you read this issue, please ask yourself what you can do to make more of a positive impact on our planet. It can be something as small as buying sustainably farmed meat and produce, or bringing your own re-usable bags to the grocery store. Whatever you can do, DO IT NOW, and when it becomes second-nature, challenge yourself to step up your game. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say the Earth is watching and registering our every move.

Dania Novack Katz

Letter of Aloha – Fall 2019


I GREW UP IN REDONDO BEACH, CA in a very close-knit community where we knew most of our neighbors. Kids played together in the street until the street lights came on, and it was actually commonplace to run to the neighbor’s house to borrow a cup of sugar. Today, these acts of neighborly kindness have sadly become harder to find — unless you live on my street.

My current home in Hawaii lies on a street lined with just a few houses in between taro patches and banana groves. Mango trees as big and as wide as the property that the home sits on dominate the scene. There’s a constant sound of flowing water and the daily spectacle of the sun rising and falling deep within the valley. This is Hawaii.

So, while we may not borrow a cup of sugar, my neighbors and I do share the food that grows in our yards. Victoria, my neighbor to one side, shares super-sized, delicious papayas, while Bert, my neighbor on the other side, shares his bananas and limes. During the holidays, Jamie, my neighbor from across the street, bakes and distributes cookies. We all check in with each other and enjoy sharing our abundance. What’s your street like?

This issue is about sharing recipes and foods that celebrate the fall season. The fall issue covers October, November and December, encompassing the entire holiday season, and I want this issue to inspire you to bake, share and celebrate. Whether you choose to gather with family members, a close group of friends, or a friendly mix of neighbors, I hope the flavors of this issue enrich and enliven your holiday table.

As I sit here writing this Letter of Aloha in the heat of summer, I’m filled with memories of previous holiday celebrations and intentions for the upcoming season: namely, to be full of gratitude for health, happiness and all my neighbors and friends. Take time to revel in your personal abundance and celebrate the good in your own life. Happy holidays.

Dania Novack-Katz

Letter of Aloha – Summer 2019

BACK IN 2003, I found my first copy of edible Hawaiian Islands and literally fell in love; here were all of my passions bound together in one beautiful magazine. Fast forward to 2019, and, as we begin our 16th year of publishing, it seems that both nothing and everything has changed in food, Hawaii and the world. The term farm to table may be passé, but the fundamentals – to gather, cook and share – have remained the same.

The theme for this summer issue is COOK, and I want to share a story that I hope will illustrate how important I think it is for families to share the tradition of cooking and eating together. Back in 2003, I was married and had two children: my son Noah was five years old and my daughter Lily was three years old. Back then, I made a habit of preparing homemade meals and having the whole family eat together as often as possible. I knew that with this foundation my children could survive just about any hardship. The pleasure of cooking and caring for my children was immense.

In January 2019, Lily had just completed her first semester of college and came home for the holiday break. She mentioned she wanted to cook dinner for me, and proceeded to go shopping on her own, cook everything herself and serve dinner to me. It was the most profound meal I’ve ever eaten, not to mention delicious. As she served the dinner, she thanked me for everything I’ve done to support her and I was overcome by emotion. I knew all those family dinners had real meaning and were marked in her memory. And my son Noah – who I don’t see much these days and miss him in the best possible way – I hear he often makes dinner for his girlfriend Jazmine and his own family. I can’t help but think that cooking and eating together has benefits that stretch beyond the kitchen.

In addition to cooking, reading is another activity that I hold dear. Please take some time to read edible Hawaiian Islands together with your family. Consider showing additional support by becoming a subscriber. 

Letter of Aloha – Spring 2019

FIRST, I WANTED TO SAY MAHALO to all of the subscribers, advertisers and readers who gave us such positive feedback in regards to our four, distinct cover selections for the 2019 Winter issue. We read each email, listened to each voice mail, and appreciated each time you stopped us in person to share how much you loved the four different covers.

I started the new year looking at our office space and feeling like we needed to lighten our load, refresh our space and to say goodbye to things that were holding us back and weighing us down. Boxes of items were donated, recycled or shared and now the space is clean and compact. How many of you join me in really taking the term spring cleaning to heart?

We have been focused on asking you to share the magazine, and inviting as many people as possible to become subscribers, and we are in gratitude to each of you for helping us share the message of edible Hawaiian Islands. Please continue to help us in this way so we can reach our 2019 goals of sharing the magazine with even more new readers.

Tucked into this issue of the magazine you will find a gift for you between pages 34/35. It’s our 6th annual Hawaii Farm Guide. What once was a labor of love has turned into a valuable resource guide for everyone looking for a TRUE farmers’ market across the state. Please be inspired to take a farm tour or seek another way to connect with the farming community. And don’t forget to mark your calendars now for our 2019 Farm Day on Saturday May 18, 2019.

Letter of Aloha

FOUR TIMES A YEAR I have the privilege of gathering my thoughts and sharing them with each of you, here on the page we call The Letter of Aloha.

Today, I want to share a short story about a very personal experience I had while traveling to the mainland with my daughter, Lily. I had the honor of getting her settled into her new college dorm on the east coast. While I was there, folks back at home were preparing for a Category 5 hurricane to hit the islands. Even though 5,000 miles separated my Maui home and Lily’s new home at college, it felt odd to be away during a time of pending devastation. My thoughts turned to my son, Noah and his family, Jazmine and Nanette, concerned for their safety. I also thought about my friend and co-worker Shelly Ronen and her family, plus many other friends in our community. Would they all be ok? Would their homes withstand such a storm? Then, will they have enough to eat?

Soon photos, text messages and emails started pouring in about a fire in Lahaina, Maui. What about Hurricane Lane? I was confused and soon realized a different type of disaster was happening – one that no one was prepared for. Following this fire was news about how, within hours, the community rose up, came together and organized resources to help those in need. Then I thought about the rains and flooding on Kauai earlier in the year and recalled learning about how the community pulled together under the direction of a handful of people plus a few non-profits to help their community. Hawaii Island obviously suffered unimaginable loss this past year too with the volcano erupting and O’ahu was also in line of mother nature’s wrath this year with rain and flooding. Reflecting on each island’s challenges really got me thinking about food, food sovereignty and what will we all do when (not if) we’re faced with our next disaster. We all need to plan ahead now instead of waiting for disaster to strike, and Emergency Management is on my mind as I write today.

Don’t get overwhelmed, just start with yourself. Store enough food, clothing, and water for yourself, then add your family into your plan. Go talk to your neighbors, friends and community; get everyone involved and urge them to prepare too.

Please let this issue motivate you to act now and prepare for our next disaster. Be well, stay safe.

Dania Novack-Katz


Letter of Aloha

Since June 2003, when edible Hawaiian Islands delivered its first printed issue, our mission has remained the same. We have always been focused on growing, cooking, eating and drinking locally sourced food, connecting the dots between our island home, and sharing what we find through stories and beautiful photography.

We have seen massive changes in the last 10+ years with regards to our economy, community and political landscape. Yet our readers still crave the same from us – to learn how to grow, cook, and share food. In the face of our ever-changing world, the sharing has become more important than ever.

From a personal perspective, I have watched my family grow and disperse. My keiki are now young adults seeking to create their own lives and memories, but we all still strive to connect – to feel we are part of something larger and more important than our individual existence. edible Hawaiian Islands needs to grow and change, too. Starting in 2019, we will be moving more towards a subscription-based publication, as that has always been our business model. You will also see physical changes to the look and feel of the magazine. We are proud that our growth-spurt has extended to include community events through Lawe Lawe Hawaii, an organization with a purpose driven mission: to encourage our community to grow, cook and share together. Now more than ever before we need to dig deep, go hyper-local and vote with our fork in order to save the things that are near and dear to us.

Thank you, as always, to our subscribers, readers and advertisers.

With aloha,
Dania Novack-Katz

Letter of Aloha

Well, it’s official. As of the first day of summer, I am an empty-nester. After more than 28 years of balancing someone else’s needs and desires with my own, I am once again free to make decisions with only myself in mind. This new-found freedom immediately sends my thoughts to cooking; how do you cook for a party of one? My answer: you don’t! You invite friends and family for dinner, or you start a business feeding people. So, after a few weeks of adjusting to my new lifestyle, I am proud to announce the launch of our new statewide business, Lawelawe Hawaii. Lawelawe means to serve, to tend, or to care for others, including the serving of dinner or drinks. Perfect!

Other inspirations come from change. One morning I took a trip to Molokai with Chef Jana McMahon who is a frequent advisor for the magazine. We discovered Pu’u O Hoku Ranch with its 100-yearplan, as well as a salty mac nut farmer and a shared love for Kanikapila. We drove all over the island, picnicked, laughed and hiked. Where are you traveling to this summer? Check out #ehiRoadTrip to see where we are going and what we are eating.

We also wanted to highlight a progressive company we’ve known for years, 23 years to be exact, called Pacific Biodiesel. Get ready all you hard-core locavores because, thanks to Pacific Biodiesel, locally made cooking oil is finally here! Cooking oil has long been a missing ingredient for those of us who strive to create meals using 100% locally sourced ingredients. This company fills the cooking oil demand in a most extraordinary way: they grow sunflowers on previously mono-cropped land, use the sunflowers to create a cooking oil, recycle the oil, and then turn it into a bio diesel that can power cars. Please read up on this company because they are accomplishing so much more.

Finally, this issue marks the start of our 12th year of publishing. Happy birthday to us! On a recent trip we tasted a birthday cake that made us sing! We asked the chef to share the recipe and she obliged, but if you want to skip the kitchen mess and experience this cake straight from the master herself, they can ship it to you too! We did both and must admit that the cake we mail-ordered was a little bit more delicious. Mahalo Nui Loa to Christina Tosi.

As a gift to our readers we are giving away birthday presents to the first 12 people to sign up for 2-year print subscriptions starting the first day of summer, Thursday June 21, 2018. This gift is a collection of our favorite things we have found throughout our travels across the islands over the past few months. Once you subscribe we will mail you your gift. Please visit subscribe and become a subscriber.

Mahalo to our advertisers, subscribers, friends and ‘Ohana.

With aloha,
Dania Novack-Katz