Category: Summer 2015

9th Anniversary

Photography by Daniel Lane
Cake by Ko– Bakery

This summer edible Hawaiian Islands is celebrating nine years of publishing. We wanted to thank our current advertisers, many who have been supporting us since the very beginning. As always, we are a subscription-based, advertiser-supported publication. Special Mahalo to all of our readers and the hard-working creative individuals and companies who make this magazine possible. Hau‘oli l–a Ho‘omana‘o (Happy Anniversary)!


Aloha Honey Bee
Anahola Granola
Aunty Lilikoi Passion Fruit Products
Bar Acuda Restaurant
Black Dog Farms Kauai
Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort & Spa
Hanai Kauai
Hanalei Dolphin Restaurant
Harvest Market Hanalei
Hukilau Lanai Restaurant
KKCR-FM Kauai Public Radio
Ko– Bakery & Hula Baby Biscotti
Koloa Rum Company
Papaya’s Natural Foods & Café
Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salts
Tasting Kauai
The Wine Garden


Blue Dragon Restaurant and Coastal Cuisine
Canoe House at Mauna Lani Bay Resort
Daylight Mind Coffee Company
Hamakua Mushrooms
Hawaiian Granola Company
Hawaiian Volcano Sea Salt
Kona Coffee and Tea
Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory
Taste of the Range
The Feeding Leaf
Under The Bodhi Tree


Aloha Mixed Plate
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
Cane & Canoe at Montage Kapalua Bay
Catering from Soup to Nuts
Deep Island Hawaiian Rum
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods
Hitched on Maui
Ivy and Lulu’s Shave Ice
Jana McMahon, Private Chef
Joel Katz Music
Kumu Farms
Kupa’a Farms
Lahaina Custom Guitars & Repairs
Lahaina Grill
Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop
Mieko Photography
Maui County Farm Bureau
Maui Fruit Jewels
Maui Grown Coffee Company Store
Maui Preserved
Maui Sweet Cakes
Montessori School of Maui
OceanVodka Organic Farm & Distillery
Old Lahaina Luau
Ono Gelato – Kihei
Private Maui Chef Dan Fiske
Resort Vessels
Sangrita Grill & Cantina
Star Noodle
Sweet Paradise Chocolates
Surfing Goat Dairy
The Maui Coffee Association
The Market Maui
Wailea Wine
Whole Foods Markets, Kahului


12th Ave Grill
Aloha Air Cargo
Always Aloha Fresh EATHonolulu
Hale Ohuna
Kahuku Farms
Kaimuki Superette
Koko Head Cafe
Life Foods, Inc.
Ono Pops
PBS Hawaii
Street Grindz
The Pili Group
Town Restaurant
Voyaging Foods
Whole Foods Markets at Kahala
Whole Foods Markets at Kailua

Mahalo Ko Bakery for sharing this fudge coconut recipe with us.

Kō Bakery’s Fudge Coconut Cake

Fudge Cake Ingredients:

¾ Cup Cocoa Powder
4 oz. Dark Chocolate (Semisweet or Bittersweet), Chopped
¼ Cup Butter
½ Cup Water

1 Cup Soft Butter
2 Cups White Sugar
½ tsp. Salt

4 Egg Yolks

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 Cup Coconut Milk
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
1 TBSP White Distilled Vinegar

4 Egg Whites

How to make:

  1. Oven 350° F – Prepare three 8” cake pans by lining with parchment or wax paper and spaying with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the flour and baking soda Set aside.
  3. Combine coconut milk, vanilla and vinegar. Set Aside.
  4. Combine cocoa, chopped chocolate, butter and water in a small saucepan and bring just to simmer while stirring, remove from heat and cool. (Creates a soft paste)
  5. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks in mixing bowl. Use a spatula to move whipped egg whites to another bowl and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. In the mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar well, until light and fluffy. Add yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cocoa mixture and mix well. Be sure to scrape down the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.
  7. Add flour mixture alternately with coconut milk mixture to chocolate batter, beating until smooth after each addition.
  8. Gently fold whipped egg whites into the chocolate batter with a large silicone spatula. It helps to do one third of the whites at a time. Be sure there are no egg whites that aren’t completely incorporated into the batter
  9. Bake 20-30 minutes until cake tests done with a wood toothpick or skewer.
  10. Cool for 10 minutes in pans and then invert onto cooling racks. Finishing cooling to room temperature. Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled before handling and decorating.

Toasted Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream Ingredients:

  • 8 Egg Whites
  • 2 Cups White Sugar
  • 1 lb. plus 6 TBSP Unsalted Butter – Room Temperature
  • 1 Cup Organic Unsweetened Shredded Coconut Flakes
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Rum (optional)
  • 7 oz. Package Chocolate Toffee Macadamias

How to make:

  1. Reserve 8 whole chocolate toffee macadamias and leave the remainder in the bag and put in the freezer.
  2. Spread the coconut flakes on a baking sheet and cook at 325° F until golden brown.
  3. When the toasted coconut is completely cool, you may pulse in a food processor to a medium grain texture if necessary.
  4. Separate your eggs making sure that there are no yolks.
  5. Combine the egg whites and sugar in a metal bowl and whisk to combine.
  6. Place the egg and sugar mixture over a pot of simmering water.  Continue to whisk until the mixture registers 140° F on a candy thermometer.
  7. Remove the whites and sugar from the heat and pour into your mixing bowl.  Whip at high speed until stiff peaks are formed.  Reduce to medium speed and continue whipping until the mixing bowl is completely cool to the touch.
  8. Slowly add the room temperature butter a couple of tablespoons at a time.  The buttercream may break (resembling soft cottage cheese).  Continue to whip and the mixture will come back together.
  9. Once all of the butter has been incorporated, add the coconut rum and toasted coconut.  Stir with a rubber spatula for three to four minutes.  This will help to remove some of the air from the buttercream, making it smoother.

The Icing On The Cake:

  1. Remove the bag of chocolate toffee macadamias from the freezer and pound (in the bag) with a heavy object such as a meat pounder or rolling pin to break up the candies into small pieces.
  2. Use a serrated knife to trim the tops off of each of the cake rounds.  Place one of the rounds on your cake platter and spoon approximately ¾ cup of the buttercream onto the middle of the cake round.  Using an offset spatula spread the buttercream until it overhangs the edge of the cake just slightly.  Sprinkle approximately half of the broken chocolate toffee macadamias on the buttercream.  Place the next layer on top, pressing down slightly, and repeat with the buttercream and the rest of the broken candy pieces.
  3. Place the last layer of cake on top.  Scoop a small amount of buttercream on the top.  Finish the crumb coat on the cake by covering the entire cake sides and top in a light layer of buttercream.  Don’t worry if the frosting has cake crumbs in it, these won’t be visible on the finished product.
  4. Once the crumb coat is finished, place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to harden the crumb coat.
  5. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and scoop the remaining buttercream on top.  This is the finishing layer of frosting, so go slowly and make the coverage as even as possible.  Work from the top down the sides.
  6. Place the reserved whole chocolate toffee macadamias evenly spaced around the top edge of the cake to finish.
  7. Cake can be decorated ahead and stored in the refrigerator.  Remove from the refrigerator two to three hours before serving.

The Box: A Game Changer for Cooks

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Written by Melissa Chang
Photography by Will Chen and Jessica Pearl

I used to cook a lot, and was pretty good at it, too. But, like making food your medicine is key in helping to prevent diseases. many of us, I got busy with my career and the time it took to plan, shop, prep and make a hot meal at home became quite an elusive luxury.

I tried CSA boxes to get ingredients delivered, but often didn’t know what to do with the produce or needed to get more things to make something. Anything.

But then a game-changer entered the market: Will Chen and Jed Inductivo— who had worked for years in food and beverage at Starwood Hawaii — created HI Fresh Box. Chen is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, and Inductivo has scientific training through the pre-med program at Cornell University. About a year ago they put their knowledge and talents together to create a de- livery service that provides pre-measured whole ingredients for three nutritious, low-carb meals for two people.

Each meal comes with a recipe card that you can keep if you want to make the dish again; the recipes never repeat and are seasonal.The ingredients in the box are about 85 percent locally sourced and are organic when possible.

They take their concept a step further by having registered di- etician Beth Denowski, of Imua Orthopedics, Sports & Health, review their recipes before they roll them out.

“Each portion is carefully measured, and Beth’s input helps teach people about portion control,” Inductivo explains. “Our meals — comprised of whole foods — are designed for what your body can process efficiently with a balanced amount of fiber, carbs, green vegetables and protein.”

Families have been a big market for them, as people can use HI Fresh Box to bond with their kids as they teach them about cooking, and then can all sit down to a hot meal together. Senior citizens have emerged as another unexpected growing market. Since it comes out to $12 per meal, it’s a reasonable and nutri- tious alternative for kupuna who like to cook but want to take life easy and have someone plan their meals out (and deliver the ingredients) each week.

“It’s important to take control of your health and understand what is going on in your body,” Inductivo said. “The concept of making food your medicine is key in helping to prevent diseases.

“Plus, there’s something therapeutic about cooking… to get back to yourself and enjoy a very basic skill that nourishes you,” he added.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 7.08.03 PMCustomers can now take their home cooking up a notch, as HI Fresh Box will start offering wine pairings this summer.You can opt to buy a bottle of wine that the team has selected to pair with one or all of your meals, and impress your friends with your Martha Stewart moments.

My box had three vacuum-packed proteins: Fish, beef and pork. All the ingredients for the sides were pre-measured — like the quinoa or soy sauce — and pretty much all I had to do was cut things up and add water or oil as needed for cooking as I fol- lowed the recipe instructions.

The result was three fancy meals for two, something that was fast and easy to make but not anything I would have thought up on my own. Since I’m single, it was nice to have a fancy dinner and subsequently a complete fancy lunch the next day that didn’t take much of my time. And now, I have the recipe cards so I can make these dishes again.

I never take photos of my home cooking, but these were so nice that I had to photograph and post them so the world could see that I am, indeed, a home cook.

If you want to try a HI Fresh Box, you can visit their website at and put in an order.

Chef Tom Colicchio Goes to Washington

Out of the kitchen and into food-policy debate

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 4.46.06 PMWritten by Samuel Fromartz
Photography by Hannah Hudson & Mark Noble
Article produced in collaboration with FERN, the Food and Environmental Reporting Network

Tom Colicchio, best known for his role as head judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” is sit- ting at a table in at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., talking about his new and very different gig as food correspondent on MSNBC.This comes after a career that has evolved from a chef and owner of an award-winning restaurant empire to a food activist and producer of the well-received documentary film about hunger, “A Place at the Table,” with his wife, the director, Lori Silverbush. At the same time, he’s been a busy advocate in Washington through Food Policy Action. He sat down to talk about all his endeavors just after airing a documentary on MSNBC,“Just Eat It”—about food waste, which amounts to 40 percent of all food produced—and hosting a thoughtful roundtable on the topic.

SAMUEL FROMARTZ: I loved the piece on food waste, and the day after it aired I was making guacamole for lunch.The grape tomatoes looked wrinkled. I was about to toss them but then realized,“No, this is guacamole. I can just chop them up!”

TOM COLICCHIO: Yes, and this is what the food waste documentary should do: It should make you feel guilty about wasting food and lead you to ask,“What can I do?”You ended up saying, “I can’t just throw it out, there’s value to it.” At the live roundtable after the documentary, I mentioned I’m two generations removed from the Depression when you’d never dream of throwing something out. It just didn’t happen.

SF: Yeah, my dad who grew up in the Depression would eat everything.

TC: Right, you’d eat it or it would be repurposed for the next day. People knew how to do that, and two generations on we don’t know how to do that anymore.We don’t value food because from the 1960s onward; it became about processed food, cheap food and fast food.There’s no value in it, so you just toss it. It’s one of those food topics that people can really relate to. I don’t think there are too many people who would say,“Who cares?”

SF: How did the MSNBC show come about and what do you want to achieve with it?

TC: It started after we made the documentary on hunger,“A Place at theTable.” I made appearances on MSNBC and started coming down to Washington, D.C., to focus on hun- ger issues.“Top Chef” had given me a platform to start talking about these issues. I had also done a talk show on a boat, on YouTube, called “Hooked Up,” where I took people out and interviewed them while we were fishing. I liked the format, so I approached MSN- BC about a food policy show.They were lukewarm about the idea, but in the meantime they offered to bring me on as a food correspondent.

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Right now the show’s going to be on MSNBC/Shift—a digital plat- form—as a way to appeal to a younger audience. Millennials really care about these issues.They don’t really care about who’s open- ing a new restaurant. But they do want to know where their food comes from, the labor it takes to produce it and the environmental effects. Digital’s probably a better platform to reach that audience.

So I want to take some of these issues around food and tell the stories about them, not so much the policies and politics around them. If you lead with the story, there could be some policy fixes, but I think people are more interested in stories. And there’s a million stories out there. Food stories are everywhere.

SF: But are there particular issues you want to hit?
TC: There are many but here’s an example: the school lunch debate. It’s great to frame that debate but also look at people who are doing great and innovative things in getting healthy foods to kids. I want to show that there are alternative solutions coming from the grass roots. It’s one thing to have a TV show, but it’s another thing to take a story and create community around it, to create solutions around it.We did with “A Place at the Table,” too. How do you get like-minded people to solve these problems?

SF: So obviously the emphasis is on story, personality, solutions. It sounds a lot different from the policy work you’re doing in D.C.

TC: It has to be. If you stick to straight policy and politics, you’ll bore the hell out of people and it’s too polarizing.

SF: Except people on Capitol Hill.
TC: I don’t mind doing that, it’s what we’re doing in Food Policy Action. But I don’t know if that’s the best way to lead. You set up the issue first in a way people understand it, explore its ramifications and then perhaps you can provide some policy solutions. But I think you need to highlight that story first.

People have to understand that there’s a cost to cheap food.And that cost isn’t really being borne in the marketplace. In certain parts of Iowa, there’s no drinking water right now because it’s polluted from agricultural runoff.The cost is not being borne by the consumer or the producer of the food, but somewhere down the road someone’s going to pay for that.

SF: You’re often described as a chef and food activist. Does that present a tension for you with this show?

TC: No, I think that’s fine. Listen, somehow I ended up having a soap box so you can either use it for good things, or not. People ask me “Why are you doing this? Why are you meeting people on the Hill? Are you getting anywhere?” I don’t know. After a day of meetings on the Hill, you’re exhausted, tired, you’re saying the same thing over and over again, you’re going from meeting to meeting, and some people are engaged and others are, like, whatever. But then, I was up on 125th Street in Harlem for a Marcus Samuelsson event. I’m walking down the street and there is a butcher shop that says “antibiotic-free meat,” so it is happening. People are listening.

SF: Didn’t one opinion piece tell you to get back into the kitchen?

TC: Oh yeah, that was in the Wall Street Journal. My response was, “You’re saying the only thing chefs should do is teach people how to cook and that’s enough?” I don’t think so. I’m not involved in these issues because I’m a chef; I do it because I care and the last time I checked, that’s how a democracy functions.You need to get involved. Certainly I don’t get much out of it, I’m not paid to do it.

SF: Is this how you measure success now, moving the needle on these issues rather than, say, opening another restaurant?

TC: No, I just opened one a couple of weeks ago and I still get a kick out of it! No, to me, it all kind of meshes together. In terms of success, I don’t really think about it and I never have.When I went on TV with “Top Chef,” I didn’t count ratings, but I didn’t want my industry to laugh and say,“This is absolute junk and I can’t believe you did this.” Success to me was season 2, season 3, when all my friends said, “Can I come on as a judge?” Then I knew we were doing something right.

With politics, you’ve got to keep coming back and you’ll find peo- ple who will open their doors, take more meetings and pay attention a little more.

SF: So you’ve got to show up.

TC: They tell you that in the kitchen too. You’ve got to show up! If you want to be good, you’ve got to keep showing up. You’ve got to work hard. It’s repetition, it’s the only way to get better.

SF: Obviously MSNBC is on one side of the political spectrum, Fox is on the other. Do you feel these food issues will resonate with the food movement, with progressives, but miss the red states?

TC: Obviously that’s the risk of being on MSNBC. But I hope that a lot of people who watch “Top Chef” and who don’t care about politics are going to come along for the ride and then begin to look at things differently. If you talk to people, there’s more commonality than a divide on some of these issues, such as food waste. I don’t think anyone wants to see more food waste. Or hunger—no one wants to see hungry people. Now we may have a difference of opinion on how to fix that but there’s no one that’s pro-hunger. So I think it’s a matter of getting people around the table and maybe that’s what food can do.You can get both sides of the argument and actually have a civil conversation as opposed to just using talking heads to bolster your argument.We’ve talked about that, perhaps I can get Paul Ryan and Jim McGovern around the table and discuss hunger and how to fix it.

SF: I’m also curious, has industry reached out to you? The Monsantos, McDonald’s, do they want to be part of your conversation?

TC: No. Not formally.

SF: Interesting.

TC: Look, I have a point of view but I try not to demonize a par- ticular company, I don’t see the point. It’s too easy to shovel dirt on Monsanto or McDonald’s. I’d rather focus on the practices.

SF: We’ve talked a lot about hunger. Are there other issues where you hoped to get through to the public on and didn’t?

TC: Look, it’s ongoing.The fight never ends so again, walking by a store on 125th Street and seeing “antibiotic-free meat,” those are those little gains. Little by little, change is happening.

Samuel Fromartz is editor in chief of the Food & Environment Reporting Network, a nonprofit news organization focusing on food, agriculture and environmental health. He’s also the author most recently of “In Search of the Perfect Loaf: A Home Baker’s Odyssey. ”


Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 4.51.12 PMNonprofit Co-Founded by Colicchio Keeps Progressive Food Policy in Front of Congress

Food Policy Action (FPA) was founded in 2012 by Tom Colicchio, Ken Cook and other food policy leaders to advocate for progressive food and farming legislation by educating elected officials and holding them ac- countable on their voting record.

FPA’s main focus is on promoting policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger, improve food access and affordability, uphold the rights and dignity of food and farm workers, increase transparency, improve public health, reduce the risk of food-borne illness, support local and regional food systems, protect and maintain sustainable fisheries, treat farm animals humanely and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production.

It’s a big agenda, but according to Claire Benjamin, FPA’s executive director, “It really is about education and accountability. If we can educate the public on the key issues, show that there are legislative solutions that can help solve some of the most critical problems in our food supply chain, and let voters know how their elect- ed officials are voting on these issues, we know we can change the national dialogue on food policy.”

Chef Tom Colicchio is the public face of FPA and he makes frequent trips to Washington to meet with law- makers on issues that impact the food system like GMO labeling and social safety net programs like SNAP (for- merly food stamps). Colicchio also stays highly visible on behalf of FPA by giving frequent lectures, partici- pating in TED Talks and key food policy conferences and attending this year’s State of the Union to hear President Obama talk about priorities and common ground for 2015.

“Few things have as much direct impact on our day-to- day lives as food,” says Colicchio.

“Food Policy Action scores the members of the House and Senate on votes that impact the food system,” he says. “Consumers are hungry for more information about how to fix our food system and how their elect- ed officials are voting on policies that impact food and how it is grown in this country.”

For more information, go to

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The Birds and the Bees: Let’s Talk Pollination

Written by Jon Letman
Photography by Greg Stille

When something as fundamental as “the future of food” is called into question, people pay attention. And when the subject is the endangerment of pollinators, people are understandably concerned. According to the non-profit Pollinator Partnership, one in three bites of our food depends on insect (mostly honeybee) pollination.

The exchange of pollen between plants, essential for the development of most fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, oils and countless other plants, depends on some thing to transfer that pollen.These pollinators include everything from the wind to tiny insects like midges, moths, beetles and butterflies to flies, birds, lizards and mammals like flying foxes, rodents, lemurs and bats.

“Healthy pollinator populations are critical to our own wellbeing”

Arguably the most iconic pollinator today is the European honeybee which, along with other insects, pollinates some of our most important food plants.As they move pollen from one plant to another, these tiny beings help keep humans and animals fed, forests green, water pure and air clean. Healthy pollinator populations are critical to our own wellbeing but mention honeybees today and the conversation quickly turns dark. Deadly parasites, habitat destruction, invasive alien species and lethal chemical pesticides are all named as threats to pollinators that support Hawai‘i’s agriculture.


Hilo-based Danielle Downey, State Apiarist for the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture says there are nearly 20,000 registered honeybee colonies in the state today. Managed bees colonies are vital, but farmers and gardeners also benefitted from Hawai‘i’s feral bee population before they were decimated by parasitic mites.

The presence of feral bees meant “earlier, bigger and more crops,” Downey says. She describes macadamia nut farmers who used to “hear” their trees in bloom as they buzzed with bees.These days, she says, farmers tell her they notice even a single bee.

One of the greatest dangers bees face is other insects. Until the mid-2000s, most of sub-Saharan Africa, Australia and Hawai‘i were the last places on earth free of the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor). Since 2007, the tiny tick-like creature has been vexing beekeepers on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Big Island (2008). The Varroa mite sucks the blood of developing bees, producing offspring which in turn also feed on bees. Downey calls the mite “the worst thing to happen to bees in our lifetime.”

The other grave insect threat is the small hive beetle, which lives more than a year and can fly for miles.The beetle targets weakened hives where it reproduces, introducing a yeast (in hives) that transforms colonies into a “writhing, maggoty, slimy mess.”


Like many in Hawai‘i, State Senator Josh Green is concerned about the impact chemical pesticides may have on insect pollinators. In 2014 he called for a moratorium on the use of glyphosate (the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup) and wants buffer zones between large users of chemicals and public places like schools and hospitals. A medical doctor, Green says there needs to be more research done on how pesticides may be impacting the health of both humans and pollinators.

Another critic of pesticide use is Larissa Walker, pollinator campaign director for the Center for Food Safety. She is worried about North America’s 4,000 species of wild bees and butterflies and how they are affected by pesticides. She points to studies that document the impacts of systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids (‘neonics’ for short) which she says, when applied, are absorbed into the vascular tissues of plants and then expressed in pollen, nectar and dew drops and can leach into soil and surface water.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 4.40.10 PMConcerns for pollinating insects range from impaired navigational capability and impaired reproductive capacity to weakened immunity. Walker says it’s “really depressing to think about bees and butterflies declining at such alarming rates… especially when there’s this direct connection to our food system.”


So are honeybees going extinct? No, says entomologist Dr. Mark Wright of the University of Hawai‘i’s Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences.“There are some alarming things happening with honeybees… but when you look globally, honeybees are certainly not endangered.”

Wright warns against being alarmist about the threats honeybees face.“The state of beekeeping has changed completely in Hawai‘i,” says Wright, who questions some studies that suggest pollinator problems are mainly due to pesticides.And while he’s not a pesticide apologist, he says some of the reports blaming bee problems on neonics are published in what he calls “lightweight” scientific journals.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 4.40.26 PMWright is all for organic practices, saying that organic farming is good, but “to do it on a large scale is quite difficult, honestly.” With so many invasive pests in Hawai‘i,“once you realize (agriculture) is not as easy as it looks, you may find your only recourse against a virulent pest may be some sort of insecticide.”

The key to using pesticides, he says, is personal responsibility: careful use and a proper understanding of how to apply chemicals with minimal risk.


Asked if pesticide concerns are well-founded or if people are jumping to conclusions, long-time beekeeper and entomologist Dr. Steve Montgomery says,“I think the answer is both. I wish it were simple, but it’s not… I’m trying to be responsible myself in learning about it.”

Montgomery is moving some of his own hives away from commercial farm fields as a precautionary measure.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 4.40.36 PMWith so much focus on honeybees, it can be easy to overlook other pollinators. Midges, for example, are important in pollinating Theobroma cacao, the tree that gives us chocolate. Flies and beetles also play an important role in pollination, and endemic moths, birds and bees that coevolved with Hawai‘i’s native plants are of critical importance.

But these small creatures, like Hawaiian flora, are threatened by invasive species, aggressive, non-native insects, climate change, diseases and habitat loss.

Entomologist Karl Magnacca explains that of the 63 (or more) species of native hylaeus or yellow-faced bee, most are not generalists and have a much smaller range than exotic bees. Because they coevolved with endemic species often found only in narrowly defined ecosystems, habitat and pollinator loss go hand-in-hand. If a yellow-faced bee that relies on naio in dry forests or ‘ilima and ‘akoko along the coast can’t find that plant, it may be doomed.And while the inconspicuous hylaeus bees are found from the coasts to the highest summits, their numbers are in decline.

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Native birds, while more important as seed dispersers than pollinators, are critical nonetheless. For many thousands of years native honeycreepers and finches have pollinated Hawaiian mints, lobeliads, hibiscus and other endemic species.The loss of birds like the Kaua‘i nukupu‘u, the k–ama‘o and the ‘o–‘o–‘–a‘–a bodes ill for the health of Hawai‘i’s native forests.These upland native forests are critical not only for native animals, but because their abundance of ferns and mosses make them superior ecosystems for capturing moisture.This source of water is filtered into the earth and flows down through streams, to estuaries and eventually the sea, nourishing the watersheds on which we all depend.


With so many threats to pollinators, what’s a person to do? By reading this story, you’re already doing something — you’re taking an interest in learning more about the subject.As a gardener or farmer, you can help further by growing plants that attract pollinators.

On Hawai‘i Island, coffee farmers Greg and Susy Stille are developing outcroppings of tropical milkweed to attract monarch butterflies and native mamaki, which draws Kamehame-

ha butterflies. Growing diverse cover crops like carrots, daikon, celery, fennel, radishes and wildflowers and avoiding chemical sprays are part of their sustainable practices plan.These pollinators aren’t necessary for their coffee crop, Greg says, but he sees value in creating a pollinator-friendly habitat.

The Stilles also host 28 bee hives on their pasture land, trading ground space for honey. “We found that if you have a prolific abundance of butterflies and pollinators on the farm, you obviously have healthy soil and healthy trees.”

Zach Mermel, an ecological land planner at OLA Design Group in Hilo, helps growers select long-lived fruit trees, midstory shrubs and groundcovers that will attract pollinators. This can be done in even the smallest plots, he says. Mermel suggests planting an “eco-lawn” of perennial peanuts or sunn hemp instead of a traditional grass lawn. Landscaping with trees like starfruit, mac nuts, mountain apple, mango, cacao, durian and avocado will also attract a wide range pollinators.

Mermel adds that leaving snags and dead trees standing on your property will provide a potential home for bees and other pollinators.

If you encounter swarming bees, Steve Montgomery says, notify a beekeeper since such reproduction events are quite rare. It’s important not to harm the bees and by notifying an experienced apiarist, you can allow them to move the hive to a safe, suitable location if necessary.

Lastly, support conservation efforts. It really is true that what happens in the uplands will eventually affect the mid and lowlands. Healthy native forests are just as important as healthy rivers, streams and coastal environments. Insect and animal pollinators are an integral part of the natural world. By taking care of their habitats, we allow them to fulfill their role pollinating the plants that make our world a place worth leaving for our children.

Learn more about honeybees at:
and pollinators in general at:

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Taking the Long View

Written by Sara Tekula
Photography by Sue Hudelson

It’s shortly after sunrise on the ranch. Morgan Maki drives his small pickup truck through acres of rocky, overgrown cow pasture in the hills above Ka Iwi O Pele, the powerful landmark Hana location where Pele’s bones are said to have been buried. He stops the truck, gets out and opens a wire gate. The view is breathtaking.

“Our management team may have arrived here with a ‘plan’,” he says,“but the uniqueness of the Hana ecosystem required us to put our plans aside and listen closely to the land and the people of this place and take a careful approach.We’re constantly learning and growing, tacking and adjusting.” Spoken like a true farmer.

Hailing from urban San Francisco with a background in food service, Morgan now has Hana Ranch as the backdrop for his newest adventure, as retail operations manager for the Ranch. The formerly wide-open cow pasture he’s standing in holds a rich Hana history, and is now, as of January 2014, managed by a stewardship development company from Colorado, Bio-Logical Capital, Morgan’s employer. It is clear, even from the untrained eye, that the land is being managed quite differently than it was before.

This is a good thing. For one, it’s the first time in recent history that the 3,600-acre ranch has been producing food – a lot of food – for the community. Locals and visitors driving the Hana Highway along the ranch’s borders now encounter the ranch’s farm stand with fresh organic produce, and they pass rows of ulu (breadfruit) trees and other canoe plants where acres of con- tinuously grazing cows once dotted the open pasture.There are large plantings of fruits and vegetables growing. There are kids from the local preschool visiting the farm and tasting the food. It’s different now.

For a place as isolated as Hana, a sustainable food farm of this caliber is a game-changer for local residents who often take the 130-mile roundtrip to Kahului to stock their cupboards. While many in Hana practice a subsistence lifestyle, fishing and hunting and harvesting their own food and sharing with the community, this way of life is not always consistent. There are many trips to Costco to help pick up the slack. Having fresh, local food options close by just makes sense. As for the rest of Maui, well, we’re isolated too, and we import between 85 and 90 percent of our food from thousands of miles away, sending our money outside of the state. We need a growing local food supply to create true changes in our lack of food security, in our economy, and in our community. The new team at Hana Ranch is well aware of this. It drives what they do and why they do it.

Morgan continues up the mountain and finally arrives at a fenced- in paddock packed with cattle, standing on land that has been eaten bare. Cowboys Alvin and Kapena Kaiwi arrive on a quad and start to move the cattle up the hill, calling to them with megaphones. It’s time for the ranch’s 2,000 cows to move to the next paddock. Just over the fence is lush, fresh grass and a rich newness that the cows – in a haphazard single file – pass through the gates and quickly begin to devour. The whole ordeal takes an extraordinary amount of time and patience on the part of the cowboys, and it is a wonder to behold.

This is a new, cyclical practice for the ranch, now that it is under new stewardship and management. The Bio-Logical team believes in learning from nature, practicing regenerative agriculture, and leaving the conventional “extraction” style production model be- hind in the dust. Instead of asking what the land can do for us, they ask what the land can teach us, and how they can do right by the land. In the case of raising cattle, the lesson from nature is to organize them so they mimic the grazing patterns of their relatives, the bison of the Great Plains.

This “mob grazing” technique allows the cattle to naturally graze an area together, as the bison would, where they eat every plant in sight while turning the soil with their hooves.They are then rotated to the next paddock, which can happen quite quickly – sometimes just a day or two later depending on a few factors that are closely monitored. As the cattle move to the next area, the land in the formerly grazed paddocks then rests for 60 to 120 or more days. Even the grass is given the time to regenerate.

“The land is five times more productive after just a year of fol- lowing these practices,” explains Bio-Logical Capital Founder and CEO Grant McCargo, who is in town from Colorado. “This means that the land is even better for the cows to return to next time.”

Mob grazing may take a lot of work, but it has many benefits, including better weed control, lower fertilizer cost, an extended grazing season, improved livestock health, more plant diversity, and better soil health through built-up organic matter and reduced erosion. Eventually, the weeds are gone and you’re left with nutritious grass and healthy, fertile land. By mimicking an event as it occurs in nature, it seems, everyone ends up healthier. That is exactly the point.

“By mimicking an event as it occurs in nature, it seems, everyone ends up healthier.”

In addition to its nature-based livestock management practices, the ranch now operates an impressive organic farm, growing everything from taro to turmeric, lemongrass to lettuce, ba- nana to butternut squash, sweet potato to cilantro. There are millions of earthworms creating nutritious compost tea.There are native plants and trees placed between the crops that serve as windbreak above ground and serve to store water in their roots below ground.The planting fields are bordered with flow- ering plants to attract pollinators.There is a lot of attention paid to their growing and harvesting methods, and the entire team works on fine-tuning them as they go.There are also chickens and goats on their way to the farm to join the system. It appears they’re considering everything, including the mana‘o of their local farm crew members, who are from Hana and know the place better than anyone.

On the food service side, the team is committed to taking care of Hana first. Hana Ranch products are now available at restaurants and markets in Hana.The team recently opened a farm stand (open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and a community supported agriculture program they call their “Farm Share,” where Hana residents can subscribe to fresh fruit and veggie boxes once a week.Through this developing connection to feeding their immediate community, their vision for a sustain- able food system in Hana is already coming to life.

Grant McCargo, Founder and CEO of Bio-Logical Capital, Managing Director
Grant McCargo, Founder and CEO of Bio-Logical Capital, Managing Director

As for the rest of Maui, Hana Ranch produce is carried at Mana Foods in Pa‘ia, Down to Earth in Kahului, and Rodeo General Store in Makawao. They also supply produce to restaurants throughout Maui. There is talk of opening a Central Maui retail space for their upcoming value-added food products, as well as the opening of a restaurant in Pa‘ia. The farm itself holds a future as a Farming Institute, where the knowledge can be passed on and future farmer-entrepreneurs can learn the ropes.

Every bit of the business model McCargo and his team have designed is a meditation on taking the long view – from the way the human resources are approached, staff is developed and educated, and of course, how the fruits, vegetables, grass and cows are grown. It’s not about taking the easy way out and trying to cut corners, it’s about making it work, making it right and making sure it lasts for generations to come.

46 Morgan Maki, Retail Operations Manager and wife Linh Phu
Morgan Maki, Retail Operations Manager and wife Linh Phu

There’s a depth of knowledge among the farm’s senior man- agement that is immediately noticeable. The team is made up of young, innovative professionals in the fields of ecological design, agronomy, marketing, retail and farm management (among other areas) who lead the company forward toward its goal. By “starting small to get big,” they are working in harmony with all of the elements at their disposal, and are passionate about making this ranch landand its people – much better off, in a way that grows to be self-sustainable in perpetuity.

Morgan Maki – a shining example of this passion – is now in another location on the ranch, looking down the hill toward an area containing several planted plots. Conversations with Morgan often drift into the realm of human resources, organizational behavior and employee empowerment. You can see the light in his eyes when he starts on these topics, and the passion he has for growing people, not just food, is quite evident.

“At the same time that we’re doing all of the data input and un- derstanding how we’re going to change what we plant and how we grow, we’re doing the same thing with the team,” Morgan adds. “We’re like ‘who are the leaders going to be? Let’s start cultivating them now.’”

For the full-scale regenerative model to hold true, it must affect how they do agriculture, how they treat one another and how they treat their community, as well as how they make economic business decisions.This holistic approach has the Hana Ranch team firing on all cylinders, and working at all levels to get the greatest outcome – one that is good for the land and for the people.

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A few moments with Josh Daniel, the Senior Manager at Hana Ranch and the big picture is made crystal clear.

“We’re putting a system in place that’s going to hopefully be here in perpetuity,” he says.“That’s what we’re building out here – a food system that is not only growing for our local community, but for the rest of the island.And giving people job opportunities to work within that system.”

Those job opportunities extend all the way to the top of the hierarchy at Hana Ranch, and those senior managers who are currently developing the new vision for the ranch know that their stewardship role in Hana is temporary. The idea is that from within the local community, and from their very own farm crew team, the next generation of leaders will emerge. And the managers will train them, shoulder to shoulder to become those leaders, then let them fly.

The team is committed to the science side of land stewardship, doing detailed data collection, analysis, and inputting the results back into the design to improve their approach and their model. They are pre- pared to share all they have learned so their model can be replicated. The big goal is to share, teach and set up their tried-and-true land stewardship practices as a forever model for Maui. That is the ultimate inspiration in regeneration – making sure it lives on.

“This will continue way beyond our lifetimes,” says Grant McCargo.“I think that’s our biggest opportunity to do something special. In that way, our success is everyone else’s success. And it’s not about big, it’s about taking the long view, it’s about many small ways to get there.”

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Anatomy of a Burger

Written by Vanessa Wolf

All-meat patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, sesame seed bun.

In a jingle, the classic American burger sounds simple enough, but look under the hood of this cultural archetype and be prepared to gaze into the abyss.

Although the fundamental ingredients of a burger are fairly standardized, the seemingly infinite possibilities within those categories prove otherwise.

Let’s begin at the beginning.


When cross-examined about the components of the “perfect” burger, five chefs and one rancher chimed in… with six notably individual responses.

Although most mentioned a preference for local, grass-fed beef, Chef Peter N. Abarcar, Jr., Executive Chef at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on Hawai‘i Island let his rebel flag fly.

“The meat? That would be venison from Moloka‘i or L–ana‘i, for sure. Ninety percent lean and only cooked medium rare. Pan fry it in vegetable oil on high heat to get a nice sear.”

“Grass-fed beef with a fat content of 30 percent, cooked medium rare on the grill,” Exec- utive Chef Casey Halpern of Hilo Bay’s Cafe Pesto echoed. Sort of.

“Absolutely, positively cooked on the grill to medium-well,” countered Hawai‘i Island’s Blue Dragon Executive Chef Noah Hester. “You’ve got to get that charred grilled flavor and to do that, you have to really cook it. With rare or medium rare, you don’t get that flavor I associate with a hamburger.”


Empowered with the knowledge that the perfect patty is made with beef (or venison), grilled or pan-fried and cooked anywhere from medium-rare to medium-well, well, we moved on.

“The most popular commercial burgers are the Big Mac or In-N-Out with Animal Sauce.To cover all those bases, we make a custom sauce with mayonnaise, ketchup, Dijon mustard, pickle relish,Tabasco,Worcestershire, salt and pepper,” explained Hester.

“My first burger was from the Like Like Drive Inn on Ke‘eamoku Street in the early ‘60s,” recalled Edwin Goto, chef and owner of Waimea’s Village Burger. “It had a thin patty, sesa- me bun and this mustard-ketchup-mayo concoction slathered on the bun.This was a long time ago, but I still recall how I loved that mustard- ketchup-mayo thing!”

“With a little bit of ketchup on the patty and some mayo on the top bun, you have a well-oiled machine,” noted Halpern.

“I’ll never forget my mom’s hamburger patties with Campbell’s cream of mushroom gravy and some ketchup on the side,” shared Abarcar. “Mean! My mom never drained the drippings and oil from the pan before she added the soup, so her gravy was intensely beefy.”


Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 3.05.23 PMToppings. Surely there will be a quorum on the topic of toppings.

“If we’re talking about the quintessential American burger, you can’t mess around: the bacon, the glistening onions and the cheese, pickle, tomato, lettuce. It’s classic,” Hester explained.

“Local tomatoes and butter lettuce are essential,” agreed Chris Damskey, Chef de Cuisine of ‘ULU Ocean Grill at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai,“but lately I’ve been getting into using kama‘–aina pipikaula or dried aku, so long as it’s not too strong.”

“You start with green leaf lettuce, which should be a little bigger than the patty and a thick slice of tomato,” Halpern elaborated.
“Good lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes and sweet onions,” Abarcar chimed in. “The cheese would be Vermont cheddar or Gruyère for the flavor and the melt quality. Or Roquefort be- cause of its slight twang and smoky finish.And I like to have an egg, as well, for the added ‘sauce.’”


“Brioche or pretzel,” Abarcar stated with authority.

“I’m a little torn,” noted Halpern. “Soft buns are good, but some- times they can’t handle the juices. Ciabatta is sturdy, but some- times too dry. I’ve had some good burgers on English muffins.”

“The bun, to me, is really, really important,” Hester weighed in. “A lot of people are using the brioche bun, which I can’t stand. I think it’s too soft and mushy.

“Our baker is doing a focaccia with steamed potatoes and sau- téed onions into the dough. It has this really light, airy center, but the ‘skin’ of the crust creates a pocket to trap all the juices and the ingredients inside. It’s a love pocket.”

“No bun. I don’t eat a whole lot of carbs,” commented Hawai‘i Island rancher Rick Sakata of Hawai‘i Lowline Cattle Co. “I eat my burger plain, with vegetables.

“The only thing I’m particular about is the meat. I’m prejudiced and only eat my own, because I know it’s 100 percent grass-fed,” he noted.“We’re the only certified grass-fed cattle ranch in the state of Hawai‘i, meaning grass is the only thing the animals have ever eaten.

“Fire up the propane grill and cook it to medium,” Sakata added.

One thing is abundantly clear:The perfect burger is a uniquely personal.

Although the quality and freshness of the ingredients is clearly important, how those items are prepared and assembled seems to come down to an unexpected common denominator.

“Where I grew up – in the Midwest, in Minneapolis – we didn’t have a grill,” Damskey recalled. “Burgers were seared in a pan, and I still like them like that, with kind of a hard crust on them. It reminds me of home.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 3.05.33 PM“The best burger I ever ate,” reminisced Goto, “was one my mother cooked for me at 10 years of age. Store bought 80/20
ground beef mixed with chopped onions, salt, black pepper and a whole egg. Hand-shaped, seared on a heavy black skillet and served between white bread slices slathered with Best Foods mayonnaise and packed in a waxed paper sandwich bag.”

“My first burger was made by my friend’s grandma, and I have often tried to duplicate it,” Halpern shared. “It was a mixed patty with relish, green peppers, sugar and soy. She used a soft bun, probably from Love’s Bakery, and it had a Thousand Island-type sauce on it. I still think about it 30 years later.

“Environment and mood often dictate my memories of food,” he continued. “My friend’s grandma was one of the nicest ladies I ever met, and once I ate that burger I knew it was special because she made it. Her love was evident.”

“I don’t know if it’s that first hamburger you ever have or if it’s that blend of the people and the place and that time in your life,” Hester summarized.

“Everyone is always searching for that perfect childhood ham- burger. You can get close to it, but you can’t ever repeat it.”

2015 Summer – Behind the Cover

Cover Summer 2015Cover Credit: 12th Ave Grill
Photo Credit: Denise Luke

Our summer issue cover is intended to inspire everyone to COOK, which is also the theme of our issue. Mahalo to 12th Ave Grill in Honolulu for sharing their photograph and recipe.

Cedar Plank Salmon and Scallops with Beer Battered Avocado

1/2 fresh ripe avocado cut into quarters.
Season all sides with salt & pepper and lightly dredge in all purpose flour. Set aside.

Beer Batter
1/4 cup high gluten flour
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/8 cup corn starch
1tablespoon baking powder
1 12 oz bottle good pilsner or lager beer
Salt & pepper

Mix all dry ingredients.
Add beer and mix untill just incorporated. Don’t over mix.
Should look like thin pancake batter w little lumps.
Season 3 oz. piece king salmon with sea salt and ground pink peppercorns.
Place salmon on one half of cedar plank and roast for 3-5 min depending on the thickness.
Season and sear top only of 2 u-8 scallops and place in other side of plank and continue roasting untill both are mid rare. About 2 more minutes.

While seafood is roasting, dip avocado into beer batter and fry in 350 degree oil
untill crispy and golden.
Drain on paper towels.

(Make in advance).
2 fresh egg yolks
4 dashes tobacco
1 dash Worcestershire
2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
4 fresh grapefruit suprems diced
1 teaspoon fresh grated horseradish
1 cup clarified butter.
S&p to taste.

Over double boiler whisk egg yolks untill pale yellow add tobacco, worchestrahire, horseradish, and grapefruit juice while whisking constantly.

SLOWLY drizzle clarified butter while continually whisking untill emulsified. Season w s&p.
Add grapefruit just before serving.

Toss red vein sorrel or baby arugula with good evoo and season with sea salt.

When seafood is done add avocado to plank.

Spoon holandaise over salmon and add greens.

Sprinkle with more ground pink peppercorns.



Belonging to the genus Mangifera, the mango tree grows predominantly in South and Southeast Asia and other tropical regions. Originating in India, there are now over 400 varieties of mangos known.The fruit varies in size and color, coming in various shades of yellow, orange, red or green. The fruit itself is a plump oblong shape with a single flat pit that does not separate easily from the pulp.

Generally sweet in flavor, mangos can be used raw in juices, fruit salads, grilled for a smoky sweet flavor or dried, and make a tasty herbal tea infusion. The unripe mango tends to be sour and is great in chut- neys, pickles, salads and can also be eaten raw with salt, chili or soy sauce.

Mangos are a great source of fiber, as well as vitamins C and A.

Steak & Mushroom Harisa


Course: Main Course
Servings: 2 People
Author: Will Chen


  • Pot
  • Pan


  • 8 oz. Flank Steak
  • 6 oz. Organic Beans
  • 1 Local Tomato (Cubed)
  • 2 Celery Stalks (Chopped)
  • 2 oz. Mushrooms (Chopped)
  • 1 Shallot (Thinly Sliced)
  • 1 Garlic Clove (Thinly Sliced)
  • 1 tsp. Harissa
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Mint (Roughly Chopped)
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper


Prepare Ragout.

  •  Rinse vegetables and beans under cold water, then heat a pot over high heat for 1 minute.
  • Add 1 tsp. of oil and add the mushrooms to the pot; let them cook on one side for 3-4 minutes so they can caramelize before turning.
  • Add 3 C. of water and pepper to the pot.
  • Add harissa to the pot of ragout. Stir well and reduce the heat to low so the ragout simmers.
  • Once the liquid reduces by half, taste the ragout for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Bring the pan to high heat for 1-2 minutes.

Prepare Steak.

  • Add 1 tsp. of oil and season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides. Sear the steak for 5-6 minutes on each side and let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve And Enjoy.

  • Serve with the warm ragout and fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!

Sweet & Sour Fish


Course: Main Course
Author: Will Chen


  • Baking Tray
  • Two Pans


  • 8 oz. Ono
  • 1 Bunch Green Onions (Thinly Sliced, Separate The White And Green Parts)
  • 1 Bunch Shallots (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Knob Of Ginger (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Tbs. Pine Nuts
  • 1 oz. White Vinegar
  • 4 oz. Ketchup
  • 4 oz. Eggplant (Diced)
  • 6 oz. Bok Choy (Roughly Chopped)
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper


  • Preheat oven to 350o on the broil setting with a tray inside.
  • Heat pan on high heat and add 1 tsp. of oil; add shallot, ginger, white green onion stems, and sauté for 2 minutes. Then add the eggplant and cook until brown. Add pine nuts to toast.
  • Add 1⁄4 C of water, ketchup, and vinegar to the pan and stir to combine. Reduce heat to a simmer and season sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Pat dry the fish and score it on one side; season both sides with salt and pepper. Rub 1 tsp. of oil on the scored side of the fish and broil for 4-6 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  • Heat a second pan over high heat. Add 1 tsp. of oil and sauté the baby bok choy for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve with broiled fish and sweet and sour sauce. Enjoy!