Category: Letter of Aloha

Letter of Aloha

At various stages in my life I’ve followed different diets – from vegan to vegetarian, from fruitarian to Paleo, to whatever I was craving at the moment – but no matter what I was eating, my diet has always been locally focused. Since our last recession, eating local has become the norm and I know many people have experienced a shift in awareness…but have we really moved the needle? Are we really changing the metrics about what percentage of food we import vs. what we grow right here in the islands?

The older I become, the more aware I am of the benefit my body feels when I eat a little bit less or opt for lighter faire or take the time to work some natural movement into my day. So, I was intrigued when I started hearing more and more about happiness, walking and a plant-based diet all related directly to living longer. Did you notice every recipe in this issue is plant-based? There’s a reason! So, read on and be inspired by the Blue Zones Project.

And for the 5th year, we’re pleased to present you with our Hawaii Farm Guide, added to our Spring issue as a token of appreciation for both our subscribers and the local farmers that feed us. We redesigned it based on direct feedback from our readers, and we added something special for our 5th annual Farm Day. We invite you to peek between pages 33/34, and mark your calendar for Saturday, May 19th to join us at the market.

Spring is all about growing. Will you help edible Hawaiian Islands grow too? We hear all the time, “I love this magazine!” or, “I keep every single copy!” so why not show how much you love us by becoming a subscriber? We deeply appreciate your continued support.

With aloha,
Dania Novack-Katz
Editor-at-Large

Letter of Aloha

Aloha and welcome to 2018. All of us at edible Hawaiian Islands wish you excellent health, more happiness than your heart can hold, and continued success.

I grew up in Redondo Beach, California. My mother, Yuriko (Lily) was Japanese and my father, Joseph, was Polish. They were both immigrants and told the story of their family history through the food we grew in our backyard garden and the meals they prepared for our family of five. During meals, we sat Japanese style, or seiza-style, on large floor pillows at a low table. Breakfast, perhaps our most important meal, was miso, teriyaki fish, white rice and pickled vegetables or homemade Kielbasa sausage, smoked in our backyard, with eggs from our chickens.

Moving to Hawaii in 1987 felt like coming home, the cultures here mimicking that of my own upbringing. The foods, families and tradition of learning about family history through the foods we grow, prepare and eat together all felt comfortably familiar. You’ll read stories reflecting these values throughout this issue.

We would like to encourage you to get back into the kitchen, cook dinner, and invite friends and family to your table. I recently had some friends over for dinner at my home, nothing fancy, but the joy of hosting dinner guests filled my soul and it was the highlight of my week. It’s now a regular event, so if you find yourself on Maui on a Friday night, please join us for dinner.

Deep in my being, I feel so blessed to live in Hawaii. As many of you know, though, the islands can easily become isolated in the event of a disaster, natural or otherwise. Please make it a point to prepare your home and family during this unnerving time, when I feel is not a matter of if but when our safety measures will need to be called upon. This is a responsibility we all share living in an island community in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In this vein, we sympathize with the members of our edible ‘ohana who have been struck by natural disasters in California, Texas and Florida, and we hope their communities return stronger than ever before.

With aloha,
Dania Novack-Katz
Publisher / Editor

Letter of Aloha

As you read this issue, I hope you are sitting down, relaxing and taking a pause from your busy day to reflect on the first day of fall. The summer heat has been turned down just a touch and, with the season of gratitude and celebration upon us, we start yearning to spend time with ‘Ohana.

The view from my home has changed and it has taken me a while to get settled. Long gone are the ocean views from a house worn down by years of damaging salt and wind. Now, the view has been transformed to a vibrant taro patch, sky-high banana trees and absolutely breathtaking mountain views. Cool and quiet nights round off the feeling of a new home.

Thinking about this new issue – a feeling of curiosity and admiration for all things libation come to mind; several unique drink recipes await your exploration within these pages. But apart from beverages, we also include a loving study of one of Hawaii’s most favored year-round crops: avocados. Then we decided to share our Statewide Farm Guide, because we know there are many readers out there looking for new, local-centric adventures with family and friends.

Whatever your love, may we please ask you – if you love edible Hawaiian Islands please become a subscriber. If you subscribe you’re guaranteed to get your copy first before the issue hits the stands, delivered right to your computer or mailbox. And if you get a subscription for a friend as a gift you will be twice loved, and thanked.

Read local. Buy local. Support local.

With aloha,
Dania Novack-Katz
Publisher / Editor

Letter of Aloha

For me, nothing signals the start of summer like freshly picked corn on the cob, bright red, vine-ripened tomatoes, and the smell of a BBQ just fi red up, the sound of conversation and laughter close by. School’s out and family & friends come together…summer’s the best season ever. What triggers summer for you?

When I visit restaurants, I always try to get a sneak-peek backstage at the kitchen where the real work happens. Line cooks are the heart and soul of the kitchen. My friend, Chef John Cox, shares his perspective on the subject. Chef John spent several years in Hawaii and now cooks in California. His story resonated with me and I felt compelled to share his perspective. Special thanks to edible Monterey Bay for allowing us to share his story.

It seems that, everywhere I look, I’m seeing octopus on menus. Memories fl ood my mind of my son as a teenager, catching his fi rst octopus in the ocean fronting our family home. But how does one cook this wild looking creature? We were intrigued and went exploring on Hawaii Island where we found an octopus farm and came away with a few special recipes to share.

A reader proposed a question recently that led me on a short journey to seek an answer. In a state that is dominated by GMO grown corn, can you still fi nd organically grown corn for sale? We asked one of our favorite writers, Fern Gavelek, to share her fi ndings.

There’s nothing like a plump, red tomato, ripened on the vine, and warmed by the summer sun. We decided to invite chef and writer David Viviano to talk story about his favorite fruit and share a few recipes from his own kitchen.

And finally, who better than Shannon Wianecki to tell a story about backyard IMU? These underground ovens have been used for hundreds of years in Hawaii, but do you know the cultural signifi cance of selecting the correct imu rocks or why we layer in green banana stumps? Shannon builds an IMU with Hawaiian friends and shares her personal experience.

Dive in to this issue with abandon, just as you would dive into the ocean a hot summer’s day. Let it remind you of the magic of the summer months and all the bounty they off er. And give us a call! We love it when readers share their thoughts and discoveries of the Hawaiian Islands.

With aloha,
Dania Novack Katz
Publisher / Editor

Letter of Aloha

You are holding in your hands an example of political power – a local food & drink magazine. We are a quarterly publication, and the last time I had an opportunity to write my Letter of Aloha was in early winter before the full effects of our election had been felt. Now, a couple months later, reflection has made certain things clear.

We engage in our community in a way that most publications can’t imagine. We put on rubber boots and walk the land with farmers. We swing by the back door at restaurants, listen and talk story. We visit as many farmers’ markets as possible and then invite friends and neighbors into our own home kitchens for healthy, locally-sourced meals. My point is that, while we may feel upset and powerless in the face of the national political climate, moping negativity and divisive attitudes will get us nowhere. Now is the time to focus on our immediate surroundings, zero-in on our own communities, and unify. We need to dig in locally and support local business – it’s more important now than ever before. Act, do something positive, and bring your friends and family along.

This season marks the fifteen-year anniversary of the edible publication. It started as a way to connect a community through local food, and quickly grew to become a network of food-awareness that fed back into itself, strengthening and supporting the community as a whole throughout North America. We proudly share the story of edible’s birth through the words of Marion Nestle.

Ten years ago this summer we brought this same message to Hawaii when edible Hawaiian Islands was born. Each year we ask you, the community, to share with us who you feel our LOCAL HEROES are throughout the state. The votes are in and we are proud to highlight folks who embody the qualities we at edible hold dear and respect. So please, support their efforts, visit them and bring your friends. We are grateful for their hard work and commitment to our community.

In this issue we share stories about two crops you may not immediately associate with Hawaii: vanilla and cashews. We also introduce a new industry that we predict will change fine dining in Hawaii (so if you are a talented chef with a head for business your opportunity awaits!). PLUS we are excited to share our 4th annual Hawaii Farm Guide – save it and use it all year long.

Start supporting local by subscribing to edible Hawaiian Islands today. We would appreciate your support so we can continue bringing you the latest in what’s fresh and local to our community– hopefully for another ten years to come!

With aloha,
Dania Novack Katz
Publisher / Editor

Letter of Aloha

I attend a staggering number of food events; each flip of the calendar page heralds a new flood of festivals, farm tours, charity dinners and foodie gatherings. The food is always the star of the show, and rightfully so given the thoughtful sourcing of ingredients, the painstaking preparation and presentation of the food, and the culmination of all this work when we finally bite into the edible creation. But, while it’s easy to ignore or even forget about what comes next, consumption isn’t the end of the consumer cycle. What happens to all the leftovers and half-eaten meals, all the plates, cups, forks and napkins? We toss these in an overflowing garbage can and walk away considering our duty done.

We get it: no one likes to think about garbage. We don’t like to see it, we don’t like to handle it and we definitely don’t like to smell it. We regulate our trash to landfills that many of us never even visit, opting instead for roadside garbage pickup, a convenience that insulates us from some difficult realities. Life is busy and anything that creates convenience is much appreciated, but when it comes to food event waste we’ve long been walking a dangerous line between keeping things convenient for attendees and clean-up crews and engaging in practices that have a lasting negative impact on our local environment and resources.

The features in this issue seek to heighten our awareness of food waste and show what we can all do to cut back, whether it’s through being a more thoughtful grocery shopper or making sure we support events that follow Zero Waste tenants. In the same vein, we wanted to draw attention to some butchery and ceramics projects happening throughout the islands. These two art forms also help reduce waste through promoting respect for our raw materials and cultivating a sense of honor for the vessels on which we place our food. This is a multi-faceted problem and solutions can be found on many fronts.

It’s time we jump on the national bandwagon and shed some light on this issue. This is about the horrific amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere each year by improperly managed food waste. It’s about the uncountable number of plastic bottles and utensils floating in the ocean that wash up on our beaches daily. It’s not pretty, it’s not fun, but it’s a real problem of our own creation and the time for change is now.

With aloha,
Dania Novack Katz
Publisher / Editor

Letter of Aloha

Dania KatzEach quarter we pack our bags and travel to each island searching for stories about the people directly involved with our food system. Each island is so unique and off ers both kama‘āina and visitors alike an array of sights, smells and tastes. Sometimes readers call to share an experience with us, and we are grateful to hear their stories.

Water rights and land use issues are at the root of many confl icts around the world, and in the Hawaiian Islands it is no diff erent. We invited Shannon Wianecki to dive deeper into the history of water as a public trust and navigate her way through contemporary water issues. It’s both historical and absolutely disheartening how political the subject of water has become. We must never forget that having clean fresh water is a basic right to each of us for survival and more so the need for fresh water to be able to grow food and feed families.

We traveled to Kaua‘i and met a family who was compelled to farm. It was as simple as listening to their own calling, and they have created a tea farm that is much more than simply growing tea. As we toured their farm, their children ran circles around us nibbling the plants as their parents shared storytelling through each beautiful green leaf. And as it started raining, we kept moving forward as if getting wet had no opportunity to stop us on our morning journey.

On Hawai‘i Island we were delighted to visit old friends and make new friends. Please meet Gretchen Miller, who reached out to us because she found our magazine and admired our work and we in turn fell in love with her. Together we discovered historical stories about macadamia nuts on her island. So Gretchen decided to do some research at a farm, bought some raw mac nuts and shared her experience.

We also received a call from our friend Daniel Anthony, who introduced us to a company called Hawaiian Ola. From our fi rst conversation with their team, we knew we had to fi nd room within our pages to include their story: a contemporary company with Hawaiian values that is inspirational and keeping us hydrated.

And as the holidays approach, we ask our devoted readers to remember all of our local producers, from coff ee to jams, jellies and unique food items that make Hawai‘i home. Please buy and give locally produced gifts.

With aloha,
Dania N. Katz
Publisher / Editor

Letter of Aloha

Dania KatzI spend a good part of my day reading just about anything I can get my hands on, especially cookbooks. I also receive nearly every edible publication each quarter, and proudly confess my status as a magazine junkie.

Last month I stole an entire day, cooked enough food to last a few meals, and took to my hammock with a stack of reading material and an ocean view (yes, the offi ce here has an ocean view). As I picked up my fi rst magazine, one particular headline struck me as odd, “Female Chef Wins Best Chef.” I wondered why the chef’s femininity need be mentioned in the headliner.

The theme to our summer issue is COOK, and, as I lay in my hammock, I started thinking about all the women that cook food. Amongst the pile of cookbooks and magazines I was going through, however, I found surprisingly few stories centered around women.

In most homes as we were growing up, especially in my generation, it was the women that dominated the kitchen, but in professional kitchen settings, both then and now, most of the chefs are male. This issue that you hold in your hands pays homage to women; each story, every writer and photographer is a female, well except one.

I am proud of this issue because it showcases talented fi shermen, creative artists, kickass mothers, and some incredible chefs. No other descriptor necessary.

P.S. Our 2016 summer issue is #37 and the start of our 10th year of publishing edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine. Number 37 is an auspicious number and it has a very special meaning to me. Thank you to everyone who has helped grow our magazine.

Dania N. Katz
Publisher / Editor Le? er of A

 

Letter of Aloha

Dania KatzThe Hawaiian phrase “E Komo Mai” literally translates to “come inside” or “enter.” I evoke this sentiment and personally invite you to enter into the pages of edible Hawaiian Islands.

edible Hawaiian Islands is a subscription-based, advertiser- supported print and digital publication. We are proud to be the only publication focusing on the food and drink throughout the state of Hawaii. We hear gushing words of appreciation constantly from our readers and advertisers. So why not subscribe to further your love and support?

Within these pages we are literally growing our business and our presence all across the islands. It’s springtime after all and we are looking towards the future. Many changes are taking place with air, water and land and our stories share the possibility of growth and change.

We encourage you to stop, sit and read this issue and let it inspire you to plant native trees, research a native crop like taro and perpetuate growing your own food and eating something as beautiful as edible flowers. Please take note that a future crop like hemp could make a positive change in our agricultural landscape and for our local economy.

Lastly, check out our 2016 Local Heroes winners, voted by our community at large…and enjoy the 2016 Hawaii Farm Guide complete with our statewide farmers’ market listing, farm tours and mark your calendar for edible Hawaiian Islands Farm Day on Saturday May 21, 2016! See you at the farmers’ market!

Dania N. Katz
Publisher / Editor

Letter of Aloha

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 10.09.45 AMWelcome to 2016. Now that the holidays are behind us we can return to our daily lives with the closure of another year and holiday memories tucked away.

The theme of our 2016 winter issue is EAT, a theme we have traced backwards into the past in order to shed light on who we are today. I once read that the most successful people have just one thing in common – family meals. We take a moment to remember the generations that cooked and shared the meals that defined our childhood, and we dutifully carry that tradition on to the next generation.

After living in Hawaii for thirty years it can be challenging to find new food stories to write about. It was only after I was invited to join a group of women who gather monthly to bake bread that I realized the value in talking about some of the old stories. Baking Bread highlights this group of women who call upon tradition and ancestral knowledge to help support their modern day non-profit.

The knowledge to be gleaned from older generations is not limited to merely how we cook, but also how we present and share our food with others. Hospitality is key in creating an enjoyable food experience. Turn to page 48 and read about one of the oldest hotels in the state and how visitors have come to feel like they are returning home, year after year, when they visit the Mauna Kea Hotel on Hawaii Island.

We also visited Kauai and returned with two stories; one about a pair of sisters who have created meaningful work through their value added food businesses, and another of a mother who managed to intertwine the task of raising her child with that of growing her business in a way that has allowed both to flourish.

Whether baking bread or mixing granola, many of us begin our work in the kitchen by reaching for our favorite apron. An apron can be found in nearly every photograph that appears in this issue! In Apron Strings we delve deeper into the history of the apron, paying homage to this critical kitchen accessory.

And lastly, if you are holding this magazine in your hands we ask for your support. We are a subscription-based publication, which means the best way to show your love for edible Hawaiian Islands is by becoming a subscriber. This simple act supports our efforts and those of everyone else who you will find within our pages. Best wishes for health and happiness in 2016.

Dania N. Katz
Publisher / Editor