Category: Winter 2017

Behind the Cover – 2017 Winter

Happy New Year!  As you are an avid reader of edible Hawaiian Islands you know that we take time and really made a connection to what goes on the cover of each issue as well as within our delicious pages. Our 2017 winter issue is no different. In fact we are so pleased with our cover but can’t take all the credit. This is the story from Behind the Cover.

A few years ago, our team at edible Hawaiian Islands travelled to Hawai’i Island to eat and explore the island, seeking editorial stories, new advertisers and hoping to discover the hidden jewels that no one knows about and to we also like to make  new friends.

Our team was in Honoka’a, a quaint little town with plenty of mom and pop stores, a pie shop,  sprinkled with a few art galleries. And one very zen juice shop.

We always appreciate excellent customer service when we travel too, don’t you? Well, we stumbled into this juice shop and clearly we were parched, a bit tired and ready to engage.  Even though the juice shop had not quite opened for business we were welcomed by Brian Otting, He smiled and we knew we wanted to be friends and we also knew that he was special. He inspired us, shared his passions for health and was so authentic. We stayed in touch and watched him grow his business.

Fast forward 2 years, Brian moved his shop from Honoka’a to Waimea/Kamuela and well, many people now know what we first discovered.

Our 2017 winter cover is sponsored by Kohana Wai ( and the photo came from their inspiration, their liquid nutrition. If you are lucky enough to live on Hawai’i Island (or they can ship anywhere you live in Hawai’i) – go to their store and you will be greeted, educated and empowered to seek more for your heath…and we predict you will even depart making new friends. Don’t forget to ask for Brian and tell him that his friends at edible sent you.


Food Waste Gets the Respect It Deserves


Food waste fighter Ben Simon, who founded the Food Recovery Network at the University of Maryland in 2011, turned a kernel of an idea into a full-fledged campus movement—with chapters at 150 colleges and counting across the country. The former head of the largest student-run waste-prevention program in the United States has witnessed a sea change in consumer and media awareness on a subject previously relegated to snoozeville status.

“I’ve seen a huge spike in interest in the subject of food waste in the past five years,” says Simon, who now lives in Northern California and co-founded Imperfect in 2015. The start-up sells so-called ugly fruits and vegetables to San Francisco Bay Area consumers in CSA-style boxes, as well as through a partnership with local Whole Foods Market stores.

“When I first started it felt like there were about 10 people focused on this topic. Now it’s hard to keep up with all the new players, innovations and research on the subject. It’s an exciting time. There’s real momentum.”

That’s reflected in Imperfect’s business plan: The company championing cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables wants to service customers beyond California by the end of 2016; it hopes to be in most major American cities by 2018. On the East Coast, Hungry Harvest currently offers a similar service to the residents of Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.

It’s not just start-ups, nonprofits and idealistic students jumping on the food waste prevention bandwagon. In July 2016, Walmart— America’s largest grocery store chain—piloted a program “I’m Perfect,” selling blemished and dented Washington state apples in 300 Florida stores. This on the heels of the company’s “Spuglies” campaign, which found a market for Russet potatoes roughed up by Texas weather. Both Whole Foods and Walmart have been targeted in petitions calling the stores out for tossing or turning away funky-looking produce.

Celebrity chefs around the globe have also taken up the cause. There’s top chef Massimo Bottura, of the award-winning Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. He led an effort to reclaim surplus food from the Athletes’ Village at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year to feed hungry residents of that city’s impoverished favelas. New York restaurateur and “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio has taken to Capitol Hill with other fine-dining chefs to lobby legislators on the matter.

This spring, Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine introduced The Food Date Labeling Act, designed to regulate food expiration labels in an attempt to reduce food waste. Colicchio and his restaurant brethren point to the staggering amount of food that’s wasted in American homes and seek to educate policymakers and the public on how to prevent it. Fellow New Yorker Dan Barber turned his Blue Hill restaurant into the pop-up wastED in 2015, serving fish heads, pockmarked potatoes, whipped chickpea water, burger patties fashioned from juice pulp, and dumpster-dive salad to diners eager to eat well in the name of food waste prevention. Meanwhile, global media concerns like The Huffington Post have focused on food waste as a worthy cause to cover extensively. And international companies, such as the design and innovation consulting firm Ideo, are crowdsourcing ways to tackle the issue. Educational events featuring menus filled with ingredients that would otherwise have gone to waste are drawing eaters and attention. The Salvage Supperclub, for instance, has hosted dinner parties in garbage dumpsters in Brooklyn, Berkeley, San Francisco and Tokyo. (Salvage Supperclub recipes available for publication.)

Food waste is having a moment. And combating the problem is no longer an unfun undertaking. Case in point: witty marketing efforts in Europe, such as the popular program by the French supermarket Intermarché. The grocery chain made ugly hip and hiked sales with its Inglorious fruits and vegetables campaign celebrating produce oddities. The United States is following suit. For example, Giant Eagle stores in Pittsburgh are singing the praises of misshapen potatoes and awkwardly sized apples in its Produce with Personality campaign.

Humor, it turns out, may be a much more effective weapon than guilt in the war against food waste. “People are playing with fun, creative ways to empower people to think about food waste and act,” says Simon. “It’s a good time to capitalize on that energy. This is no longer an invisible issue. With this kind of snowballing effect, there’s the real possibility for significant change to take place.”


Fellow food waste warrior Dana Gunders agrees. “Food is simply too good to waste,” says Gunders, a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “Even the most sustainably farmed food does us no good if the food never gets eaten.”

Her message to home cooks is clear and succinct: Just. Do. Something. We aren’t single-handedly responsible for the country’s food waste crisis and we aren’t single-handedly going to solve the problem, either. But we can all do a better job, says Gunders, of managing our own excess at home. Her focus is waste prevention, not food recovery, and she practices what she preaches. She learned the hard way that beets weren’t her thing: She’d roast them, wrap them and store them in the refrigerator, and promptly forget to eat them. So for now that root vegetable is off Gunders’ grocery list.

Gunders sees ways to avoid food waste at every stage of the food supply chain: from the farm to the fork to the landfill. “Given all the resources demanded during food production, it’s simply critical that the least amount possible is needlessly squandered on its way to our plates,” she says. While it might be convenient to point the finger at Big Ag or Big Business or Big Food Service Providers, the reality is that regular eaters—people like you and me—account for a significant amount of food waste. We are all to blame or, put more gently, we can all be part of the solution.

A 2016 report by a coalition of nonprofits, businesses and government officials called Rethink Food Waste Through Economics and Data (ReFED), estimates that food waste costs the U.S. $218 billion a year. More than 40% of that waste, according to ReFED data, occurs at home. Further, homes combined with consumer-facing businesses—that’s supermarkets and grocery stores, restaurants and institutional food service providers— represent 80% of all U.S. food waste. Released in March, the overall goal of the report is to reduce food waste by 20% within 10 years, a goal also shared by the Obama Administration.

With those kind of figures front and center in her mind, Gunders wrote Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook, an accessible guide home cooks might actually use chock-full of practical, actionable strategies to minimize food waste. (See sidebars for tips.) Wasting less doesn’t require hard work, fancy gadgets or elaborate spreadsheets. It’s all about small changes, says Gunders, tiny tweaks in people’s daily food rhythms that can prevent food spoiling before it gets eaten.

Let’s face it: Food waste is an unsexy subject. Waste is an icky word. And there’s the guilt factor: Who doesn’t feel bad about tossing past-its-prime produce in the compost? Nobody wants to be scolded for letting perfectly good food spoil. Or reminded that a recent farmers market foraging got a little out of hand. So waste prevention gurus like Gunders have their work cut out for them.

Gunders is a warm, funny, friendly and familiar presence on food waste prevention panels around the nation. Still, her slide show featuring staggering statistics is sobering. Some 40% of all food grown or produced in the U.S. does not get eaten. It’s like buying five bags of groceries, Gunders says, and then leaving behind two of the bags in the grocery store parking lot. The average American throws away around $30 each month in uneaten food; a family of four wastes about $1,500 a year in uneaten food. Cutting food losses by just 15% would redirect enough food to feed more than 25 million hungry Americans every year at a time when one in six here are food insecure. A sizable chunk of that wasted food is never even harvested: Oddly or undersized or unsightly produce is frequently plowed back into the ground because farmers don’t have a viable market for it. Crazy-making stuff.

It’s not just an economic disaster. It’s an environmental one: Add squandered resource costs to the equation and it’s a wonder food waste isn’t a political hot potato. Food production consumes 10% of the U.S. energy budget, 50% of the country’s land and a whopping 80% of all the freshwater used in the U.S. So wasted food wastes these limited resources, too, all that uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills where organic matter accounts for 16% of U.S. methane emissions. Food waste, then, plays a significant role in the global climate crisis. Case in point: That uneaten hamburger that lands in the trash? The amount of water squandered on that wasted bun and meat is equivalent to a 90-minute shower, according to Gunders. Crazy-making stuff, part two.

At the heart of this saga are two basic realities that stymie change: Food represents a small fraction of the average American’s budget, making the financial cost of wasting food a low priority from a monetary, if not moral, perspective. And inefficiency and excess are built into our food system: The more food consumers waste, the more food industry players can sell. This is a relatively new problem: We waste 50% more food in the U.S. now than we did in the 1970s.

Gunders remains upbeat: She senses a shift. Stakeholders from diverse quarters—federal lawmakers, tech start-ups, social change campaigners, food movement leaders, high-profile chefs—are becoming more vocal about the subject.

“It might be our moment to make real reform,” says Gunders. “We need to seize it.”


Independent restaurants around the country do their part in the war on food waste. Root-to-stalk cooking and snout-totail butchery? All the cool kids do it and have done so for some time. It’s practically a badge of honor in independent restaurants around the country. Take Steven Satterfield, the chef at Atlanta’s lauded Miller Union and author of the cookbook Root to Leaf. Like all chefs at well-run restaurants, Satterfield keeps tabs on dishes and adjusts portion size, if necessary, when he sees a pattern of leftovers consistently coming back to the kitchen. He also buys seconds from farmers—bumpy, bulbous, dinged, dented, and just plain wacky-looking produce and uses it in menu items where the shape or color of the vegetable isn’t crucial to the finished dish. He’s an advocate, for example, of turning wonky-appearing tomatoes into gazpacho, where original appearance doesn’t impact the deliciousness of the final product.

Satterfield also recommends that fellow chefs purchase wisely, preserve or put up produce for future use and feed staff creatively with leftover or surplus foods that might otherwise go to waste. At his restaurant, which provides family meal twice a day six days a week, his cooks are up to the challenge of creating something both nutritious and delicious from surplus ingredients.

“All chefs are concerned about food waste, it’s something that we track if we’re running a smart business because ultimately it’s our bottom line on profit margin, which is always very tight in restaurants,” he explained on the Chefs Feed “Chef Power Hour” podcast on food waste in August. “It’s about doing the right thing as well … a lot of times you have a relationship with the farmer and you see how much hard work goes into the produce and products that they bring us.”

Case in point: Last fall, Satterfield’s pastry department was generating a lot of apple scraps, which he asked them to save. The scraps were used to make an apple jelly. His cooks also saved chicken livers, which were turned into a mousse. And they collected kale stems, in abundance as well, that were juiced in batches. Next the kitchen crew dipped sliced, day-old baguette in the kale juice to make a kind of French toast, smeared the crisped bread with the liver mousse and topped it with the apple jelly. A new $13 appetizer on the menu was born. All those ingredients, which could have been destined for the compost or garbage, were turned into a tidy profit with a little imagination and inspiration.

Organizations that move a high volume of meals—such as hotels, hospitals and other institutional food settings—look for creative ways to solve or prevent food waste. Hotels donate to local organizations that feed people in need. Uneaten banquet food is redirected to employee meals. Sustainability-oriented hotels also work closely with green-minded meeting planners to get accurate meal counts for attendees and implement waste-prevention strategies such as the deconstructed box lunch, where a guest can choose separate items to grab-and-go, versus an entire box filled with different food items, many of which go to waste.

Food-services providers at hotels, hospitals, college campuses and corporate dining facilities have also turned to the software-based service LeanPath. With this program, kitchen staff measure, record and photograph what they throw away. The system comes with scales, a camera and a digital terminal for entering data about ingredients and quantities. The service can help lower food costs by identifying which foods are over-prepared, overstocked or improperly cut. It can help identify potential solutions too— such as reducing food quantities at specific times of day, rethinking buffet containers or improving prep cooks’ knife skills.

For example, at the MGM Grand Buffet in Las Vegas, which serves hundreds of diners a day, the kitchen crew discovered that cooking- to-order versus batch production, using carving trimmings in stocks and repurposing leftovers reduced its pre-consumer food waste by 80%, according to LeanPath’s website. That amounted to a saving of between $6,000 and $9,000 a month in food costs due to waste prevention measures.

Then there’s the waste-prevention efforts of food service giant Bon Appétit Management Company (BAMCO). The on-site restaurant company operates in more than 500 cafés in universities, colleges and corporations in 32 states around the country. In 2015, the institutional food service provider launched a program dubbed Imperfectly Delicious Produce, which rescues blemished, misshapen or otherwise visually challenged produce that fails strict retail appearance standards and encourages chefs to include these fruit and vegetables in their menu offerings. The program has salvaged more than a million pounds of fruits and vegetables, according to Claire Cummings, the company’s waste ace, based in Portland, Oregon. BAMCO chefs have found homes for this produce in soups, smoothies and sauces.

“Our chefs have done a great job working with underutilized and underappreciated produce,” says Cummings. “As long as the flavor is still there they will find a way to utilize it. We do outreach with our farmers and our chefs and there’s buy-in at both ends once they understand the whole story.”

In her tenure at BAMCO, Cummings has figured out that most food waste isn’t happening in the kitchen—it’s on the consumer side. To address that, the company has removed trays at its all-you-can-eat facilities, to cut down on plate waste. It offers sample tastes, so guests can try before they buy, and it runs food waste awareness campaigns such as “weigh the waste” events on college campuses.

Food recovery organizations around the nation work with the food service industry to shift surplus food to those in need of a meal. In Denver, the nonprofit We Don’t Waste collects excess food from entertainment venues, sports stadiums, hotels and restaurants and redirects it to under-served city residents. In Seattle, the food bank Food Lifeline partnered with the Washington Department of Health to create Seattle’s Table, a similar kind of food recovery program. Community-based programs like these have sprouted around the country as the ranks of the hungry—and awareness around food waste—continue to grow.

Tech has come to the food waste table, too. Social impact startups such as Zero Percent in Chicago use technology to connect restaurants and grocery stores with excess food to a neighborhood charity that feeds people in need. Bethesda, Maryland’s, Food Cowboy app-based platform matches farmers and truckers who typically handle excess produce with soup kitchens, homeless shelters and church food pantries. In New England, the Spoiler Alert app enables large farms and food distributers to trigger real-time notifications to potential nonprofit recipients. Food donations to charitable groups are eligible for income tax deductions, so businesses have financial incentives to find a home for food waste.

It seems everywhere you look, efforts to redirect surplus edibles for the greater good are under way. There’s Doug Rauch’s Daily Table in Dorchester, Massachusetts, designed to get nutritious meals to the working poor using excess, gleaned food destined for the landfill. Rauch worked in the grocery business for 30 years and has seen firsthand how much food is discarded by consumers who seek perfection at the market. The ex-Trader Joe’s executive is on a mission to educate the public that much so-called expired food is still worth eating, as well.

Robert Eggers, who founded D.C. Central Kitchen more than two decades ago now, is doing something similar with his recently launched L.A. Kitchen. The former nightclub manager wants to reduce hunger and food insecurity using repurposed food prepared by youth exiting foster care and by formerly incarcerated adults trained as restaurant workers. His second anti-hunger undertaking is aimed at feeding aging Baby Boomers through recovering and redistributing excess food to senior-serving nonprofits. America is aging rapidly and a significant population of older people live in poverty.

“It’s criminally stupid to throw away food,” says Eggers in frequent public appearances. Few would disagree. He believes that everything— misshapen produce, at-risk adults, aging Angelenos— deserves a second chance. Few would argue with that sentiment either.


Give eggs a chance. They can last three to five weeks in the refrigerator regardless of the expiration date. Try this quick test: Place an egg in a cup of water. If it sinks, it’s good to eat. If it floats it belongs in the compost bin.

Store fresh basil like fresh-cut flowers. Keep at room temperature with stems in a glass of water; refresh daily.

Keep whole tomatoes on the kitchen counter. They do best away from direct sunlight, stem end up. This retains the fruits taste and texture, too.

Sub in sour pasteurized milk. It can fill in for buttermilk in pancakes, waffles or baked goods that call for curdled dairy.

Soak wilted greens. Put kale, chard, collards, lettuce, spinach and arugula in a bowl of ice water for five to 10 minutes to restore crispness.

Separate berries. They do best when stored in a single layer in an aerated container or on a cloth-lined tray covered loosely with another cloth.

Sauté lettuce or mixed salad greens before they go off. Yes, cooked salad greens can be delicious in butter or olive oil with salt, garlic and red pepper flakes.

Add peeled broccoli stalks to salads. They provide extra crunch and sweetness.

Use slightly overripe avocados. They add creaminess in smoothies and mousses.

Infuse vodka. Think softening fruit, citrus peels, fresh herbs, ginger, cucumbers or chile peppers; mix in cocktail of your choice. Cheers.

Source: Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook (Chronicle Books, 2015)


Just Eat It an entertaining account of wasted food from Canadian filmmakers.

Root to Stalk Cooking: The Art of Eating the Whole Vegetable by Tara Duggan. Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons by Steven Satterfield.

Follow food waste news and find prevention tips via waste watcher Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Imperfect produce for 30% to 50% off retail. Conventional or organic boxes in sizes small, medium, large and extra large. On the East Coast:

Find a home for excess edibles through a community food pantry, church or other group.

Pick up or deliver food for food-waste prevention organizations in your area.


Plan ahead. Use a grocery list to limit impulse buys. Buy less, and buy more often. Factor in no-cook nights. Donate excess to a local food pantry or food recovery service before it goes bad.

Store food properly. Potatoes, onions and garlic belong in a cool, dry spot, not the refrigerator. Separate fruit and vegetables in the fridge. Dark leafy greens last longer wrapped in a paper towel or cloth.

Eat it all. Carrot tops work in salsa verde. Grapefruit peels can be candied. Potato skins make crisps. Veggie scraps add flavor to stock, as do animal carcasses. Stale bread transforms into breadcrumbs. Parmesan rinds add fatty flavor to a pot of beans.

Understand expiration dates. “Sell by,” “use by,” “enjoy by” and “best before” dates generally indicate when a manufacturer feels a food item is at its peak quality. These labels, largely unregulated, are typically not an indication of food safety. Trust your eyes and nose when it comes to what is still good to eat. Exceptions to this rule include deli meats, unpasteurized cheeses, smoked seafood: In these cases, do follow the “use by” dates.

Take a fridge inventory. Replenish perishables as you use them up, move older produce to the front of the fridge or top of the crisper when stocking new groceries so you’ll see them before they go bad.

Keep a kitchen waste diary. Use your phone to track food for a couple of weeks or fill out a wasted food form, then adjust shopping lists and cooking habits as needed.

Learn to love leftovers. Pasta, rice, beans, a cooked chicken, roasted veggies can all be reimagined into new dishes. Make it a point to take leftovers for lunch. Designate a night for foraging in the fridge.

Consider portion size. Keep careful tabs on how much you cook. Watch for plate waste at home and when eating out.

Befriend the freezer. Store extra pasta sauce, a half loaf of bread and leftovers in the freezer for future use. Label and date containers of sauces, soups and stews—which all freeze well—to jog your memory down the track.

Grow your own herbs. It’s easy to do, requires little space, and herbs are rarely sold in portion sizes designed for home cooks. Failing that: Turn excess herbs into pesto, chimichurri sauce or herbed butter before they turn to mush in the bottom of the crisper bin.

Source: Dana Gunders



The rollinia tree originated on the banks of the Amazon, and thrives today in Hawaii’s warm temperatures and nutrient-rich soil. The fruit it bears—aptly-named Rollinia deliciosa—is gaining popularity at farmers’ markets and on the gastronomy scene.

Resembling a mythical dragon egg, rollinia is sweet and tangy on the palate, with a pudding-like consistency. While the scaly exterior may look tough, the fruit is extremely delicate.

To eat, cut in half from the stem down. Spoon the soft, white flesh out around the core and discard the black seeds and skin. The creamy texture makes it an ideal addition to smoothies and packs in lots of protein. For the more ambitious, whip up a rollinia soufflé or take a cue from its native Brazil, where it is fermented for wine.

Restaurant Wares

Combining two art forms to create a new level of dining pleasure


Guests at Honolulu’s newest fine eatery, Senia, can expect to be dazzled before even taking a bite. Restaurant co-owners, chef Chris Kajioka and chef Anthony Rush have not only spent months crafting transcendent menu items but also amassed a collection of custom ceramics created especially to show off their edible art. Each dish promises to be a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

“I’m really into plates,” Kajioka admits. “I spend a lot of time with ceramicists. It makes a big a difference.” Kajioka is one of several Hawai‘i chefs who feel that the plate is as important as the ingredients it holds, and that handmade ceramics are worth the investment.

In his former post at Vintage Cave, Kajioka essentially had a blank check with which to stock his kitchen. He contracted eight artists to supply ornate platters that resembled slabs of old-growth wood, glass sea urchins, and round dinosaur eggs. At $295 a seat, guests expected this level of artistry and refinement.

Now at his own more casual restaurant, Kajioka has toned down, but not much. He hired four ceramicists, including Jono Pandolfi, a cult favorite in the culinary world. Pandolfi teaches pottery at Parsons School of Design and supplies tableware to top kitchens across the country, including Tosca, wd-50, and Eleven Madison Park. Pandolfi’s pottery has sophisticated simplicity: clean lines, bold glazes, and rustic finishes.

Kajioka also gravitates towards simplicity, which allows unexpected beauty to emerge. “With food, fewer items are more impactful,” he says. “It goes the same way with plates. It could be really simple, with only one detail. Maybe only one person sees it.”

More than one person will certainly notice when the Périgord truffle tureen comes out of the kitchen at Senia. It’s an attention grabber. Kajioka commissioned numerous special dishes for his twelve-seat chef’s counter, including this stunning black tureen brushed in gold. Its creator, Christina Liu, drew inspiration from the whimsical Chelsea porcelain tureens of the 18th century, which paid homage to popular fruits and vegetables.

Liu explains: “By immortalizing the ultimate luxury food item in clay—truffles can be, pound for pound, more expensive than pure gold—I wanted this tureen to reflect on the decadence and opulence of the grand dinners in which prized tureens would often make an appearance.” To mimic the truffle’s earthy texture, she perfected a crackled glaze that most potters avoid. The black shell opens to a hollow bowl, which Liu finished with gold. It’s the perfect receptacle for a genuine Périgord truffle.

Liu created the three custom vessels for Senia: the tureen, a deep, compact bowl with a wide rim reminiscent of Saturn’s rings, and a dreamy, marble-like dish she calls the “pebble pillow.” For the latter, Liu used a marble-like, self-glazing clay. She swirled white and gray clays together to create something that resembles wave-polished stone. Liu’s partnership with Kajioka began at Vintage Cave, her first restaurant commission. She took an imaginative approach there too, designing a dish after the lush curves of O‘ahu’s Ko‘olau mountain range. The successful collaboration convinced her to pursue a career in functional ceramics.

“Tableware should serve as more than just a blank canvas for the art of food,” says Liu. “The pieces I create are not merely utilitarian plates or bowls. They are intricate objects that invoke a sense of luxury, to be admired and brought onto the dining table only for extraordinary meals.” And, as anyone who has sampled Kajioka’s cooking can attest, extraordinary is no overstatement.

“He’s always been so supportive of my art,” says Liu of Kajioka. “I never feel like a piece that I’ve created is fully complete until I see his food plated on it.”

A similar collaboration recently took place in Waikapu, Maui, where potters Miri Sunkel and Karina Subijana of Altar Ceramics worked day and night to finish a custom order for the Mill House restaurant. Executive chef Jeff Scheer wanted special plateware for his first annual Maui Chefs Invitational. The women of Altar Ceramics were thrilled to get the job. They fired up a kiln within walking distance of the restaurant and got to work hand-throwing 600 clay dishes.

Subijana began working with clay after having a child two years ago. It grounded her and gave her a creative outlet. But, she says, “It turns out I’m a production potter. I naturally think in terms of collections or groups.” Before long, her “hobby” had taken over every ledge in her house. So she invited her friend and fellow ceramicist, Sunkel, to partner in a business.

The pair brings a spiritual sensibility to their studio work. “The thing about ceramics,” says Subijana, “is that you have to cultivate a sense of trust and surrender.” She and Sunkel laugh over the plates they’ve lost through trial and error. Their goal with Altar Ceramics is to rekindle a sense of ritual, and bring intentionality to everyday meals. They aim to create aesthetically pleasing pieces that also radiate a sense of wellbeing. “Ceramics is silica, a crystal,” says Subijana. “It’s going to take on the vibration of the person who makes it.” If that sounds too far out, she says, “Think of a well-loved mug, the energy it holds. You can sense that.”

For the Mill House, she and Sunkel produced pewter and aquamarine dishes, creamy yellow bowls, and triangular dessert plates. They used clay laced with iron to create an attractive speckled saucer.

Scheer is delighted with the results. He helped design the pieces to his specifications, so that they’d best fit his portion sizes and sit nicely on the table. He wanted shallow bowls that could hold broth or rich sauces while allowing the other ingredients to remain crisp. “I could put the exact same ingredients on a regular dish and it wouldn’t taste as good,” he says. “I love bowls. They force you to eat everything together. I have components that are extremely salty or acidic and if you taste them separately, you’re not going to understand the dish.”

Handmade tableware perfectly complements Scheer’s farm-totable philosophy. Much of the restaurant’s organic produce grows onsite. The wood for the tables was sourced from nearby trees. It makes sense that Scheer would search out local ceramicists. Subijana and Sunkel are just two of several he’s worked with. Ideally, he’d like to see a full-time ceramics studio and shop on the property. “It’s just cool,” he says. “It’s what this whole project is about: making things from scratch.”

Upscale restaurants aren’t the only ones supporting the clay arts. On the casual end of the dining spectrum, Café Ono has an earthy, eclectic atmosphere. Set amidst the Volcano Garden Arts Gallery on the Big Island, the café is a serene spot to grab a vegetarian lunch. Owner Ira Ono’s commitment to handcrafted plates and bowls elevates the experience.

A prolific artist himself, Ono came to Hawai‘i in 1968. “I left a fabulous avant garde life in NYC,” he says. He did his best to recreate it on Maui, founding the Maui Crafts Guild, the Hui No‘eau’s ceramics program, and the annual Art of Trash exhibit before moving to the Big Island. Fourteen years ago, he purchased a 1908 cabin in Volcano and lovingly transformed it into an art gallery and restaurant. At Volcano Garden Arts, he says, “the goal is everywhere you look, you’ll see beauty.”

He serves Kona coffee in hefty, hand-thrown mugs stamped with the café’s insignia. Local ceramicist Ron Hatani supplies the kitchen with handcrafted plates, bowls, and tea sets. Hatani lives tucked away down a dirt road nearby, and splits his time between Volcano and Japan. His main exposure as an artist is during the town’s annual ceramics sale and here at the café. His color palette recalls a sandy tropical beach in the rain, speckled taupe and streaks of grey melt into muted turquoise. The collection provides an elegant backdrop for Ono’s homespun food. The mushroom barley soup with flecks of hijiki seaweed looks especially inviting cradled in one of Hatani’s bowls.

“Ceramics is an expensive hobby here in Hawai‘i,” says Ono. “Our utilities are the highest in the nation and artists have to pay shipping for clay. When you see a teacup or bowl for $20, they’re not making any money. That’s a labor of love.” But like Scheer and Kajioka, he thinks the extra cost for custom pottery pays off. “Everything tastes better in handmade pieces.”

Miri Sunkel and Karina Subijana of Altar Ceramics


Written by Sinead Byrne

Hawi is a town of artistic redemption. Spend an afternoon strolling along this small town’s main drag and you’ll agree; there’s a charming, bohemian-chic vibe to the place that’s undeniable – but this wasn’t always the case. Originally known as the birthplace of King Kamehameha I (unifier of the Hawaiian Islands) the town’s identity was later molded by the Kohala Sugar Plantation, which operated for over a decade until the company’s closure in the late 1970s. It would have been easy for Hawi to fade away alongside the sugar industry were it not for the long-time residents and hippie new-comers who joined forces to help reinvent it. Together, Hawi’s crafty inhabitants transformed a monoculture farming community into the sweetly eclectic town it is today. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite businesses for you to check out, and we encourage you to take a drive up to the Big Island’s northern-most town and Visit Hawi!

55-3411 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, Hi 96719

55-256 Hoea Rd
Kapa’au, HI 96755

Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3415 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3413 Akoni Pule, Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-517 Hawi Rd
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3406 Akoni Pule, Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3406 Akoni Pule, Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3406 Akoni Pule, Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

53-378 Pratt Rd
Kapa’au, HI 96755

55-498 Hawi Rd
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3412 Akoni Pule Hwy, B
Hawi, HI 96719
(808) 889-5577

55-3419 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3412 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-515 Hawi Rd
Hawi, HI 96719

55-448 Hoea Rd
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3410 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3419 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3419 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3435 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, Hi 96719

55-3406 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

55-3419 Akoni Pule Hwy
Hawi, HI 96719

Butcher Shop Revival

A new look at butchery in the Hawaiian Islands


It’s often said that everything old is new again and this is especially true with the surging interest in locally sourced meat and the art of butchery. Just a few generations ago small butcher shops could be found all over Hawaii, but over time people’s relationship to food and buying habits changed.

“There used to be three butcher shops in Kohala, three in Waimea, plus another three in Kona on top of three to four in Hilo,” says Mills Stovall, owner of Waimea Butcher Shop, one of two new butcher shops that recently opened on Hawai‘i Island.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Frank Kramm, chef and co-owner of Kona Butcher Shop. Kramm grew up in Honaunau and remembers going to the small local butcher shop at Greenwell Farms where his family bought meat from local ranchers. “Then they closed about 19 years ago and Safeway and other big box stores came into play.”

“We’ve lost that relationship to where we get our meat from,” adds Stovall. “We go to the farmers market and talk to people about where our fruits and vegetables come from, but not our meat.”

Not since the rising popularity of farmers markets has there been such a food shift and it’s hitting all the main Hawaiian Islands nearly simultaneously. In addition to the two new Hawai‘i Island butcher shops, VJ’s Butcher Shop on Oahu, itself only a few years old, is opening a franchise on Maui in 2017. And last March, Hanai Kauai opened in the old Kojima Store in Kapaa. While Hanai Kauai isn’t a butcher shop, (it’s a full service market of locally sourced food), co-owner Adam Watten says local meat sales account for roughly a third of their business and they plan on opening a butcher shop within the store in the next year or two.

These new businesses join Makaweli Meat Company on Kauai, Maui Cattle Company, and Pono Pork on Oahu, which provide meats for restaurants and butcher shops around the state. Maui Cattle Company works with several ranches, butchering and processing beef, and selling prepackaged meats in retail outlets. Makaweli, which works with Ni‘ihau Ranch and Maui Nui Venison, doesn’t sell retail, but people can order custom meat cuts directly from them, which they’ll FedEx to you the next day. Pono Pork works as the middleman with ranchers, butchers and processors on Oahu to provide pork primals to restaurants and institutions – the company provided 2,000 pounds of pork to the chefs participating in the 2016 Hawaii Food and Wine Festival.

While it may look like a new trend, the new butcher shops have been years in the making.

“Anyone that’s opening a butcher shop right now, they’ve been working hard for years and years waiting for the right moment,” says Robert McGee of Pono Pork, himself a veteran butcher. “We have so much opportunity here right now with so many fantastic ranches.”

Mills Stovall, Waimea Butcher Shop, Hawai’i Island

“I’ve been wanting to do this for about the last seven years,” says Kramm. “One of the first things I said to [co-owner and fellow chef] Connor Butler when I met him was that Kona needed a butcher shop.” The two men have been laying the groundwork for the Kona Butcher Shop since 2013. For his part, Stovall has also been planning his butcher shop for several years and it just so happens that both businesses opened within a month of each other.

These local efforts follow the national trend of increased popularity in organic food and sales of organic meat and poultry. According to the Organic Trade Association’s 2016 Organic Industry Survey, 2015 saw a record breaking $43.3 billion in sales of organic food nationwide. With more and more people concerned about the quality of the meat they eat and wanting to avoid food containing antibiotics and hormones, organic meat sales are also growing. In 2015, sales of organic meat and poultry increased by 32 percent, accounting for $569 million in sales in the U.S., according to a survey from the North American Meat Institute and Food Marketing Institute. The same report stated that natural meat and poultry sales were valued at $2.9 billion in 2015.

“I don’t think people were as conscious five years ago about where their food comes from,” says Watten, of the increasing popularity of local meats. “People are now more cognizant of where their food comes from.”

Adam Watten, Hanai, Kauai

“The truth of the matter is that people care more and more about what they put in their mouth now,” says McGee.

“It’s what the people want,” adds Stovall.

Response to customer demand is what led Jenny Gaffer and her husband Justin Javier to open a butcher shop in Haleiwa when they moved back to Oahu in 2011. Jenny says the couple sought out non-GMO “clean meats” and foods when they moved to Oahu. They opened a food truck and demand was such for the Molokai beef and venison they served that they opened a separate butcher shop soon after.

One of the benefits of butcher shops is increasing sustainability in the islands.

“Back in the day, chefs would get a whole animal and have to break it down in their kitchen,” says Jehu Fuller, general manager of Makaweli Meat Company.

“The chefs understand, they know that the animal has more than a middle section; it has legs and shoulders,” says Fuller.

“It’s more sustainable because we use the whole animal,” adds Fuller. “You don’t just use the rib eye and the tenderloin. You have to find ways to use the shanks, bones, even the tongue. That’s what makes butcher shops so special because you can get any kind of meat or bones.”

Stovall has taken the concept one step further with the goal of being a zero-waste butcher shop. “ We’re using 100% of the animal.”

Left: Connor Butler and Right: Frank Kramm of Kona Butcher Shop, Kailua-Kona Hawai’i Island

“We offer soup bones, smoked sheep bones for dogs, even dog closed treats. Meat bones we can’t use, we turn into bone meal. We even have artists that want to use some of the bones for carvings.”

McGee sees sustainability in another way, working with pigs because they do not require food brought in from beyond the islands and unlike cattle, do not need to be sent off island for finishing. McGee also teams up with farmers using natural practices. As a wholesaler and distributor, he works with Mountain View Farms in Waianae Valley on Oahu, which specializes in raising pigs using the Korean Natural Farming method.

“I work with Mountain View because of the way they raise their pigs, they’re great pigs. Mountain View Farm is the largest farm using Korean Natural Farming in the state.”

Renewed interest in buying locally sourced meats has led to an increased appreciation for the art of butchery and hunting practices in Hawaii.

As a life-long hunter, Stovall points out that there’s a tradition of self-reliance in Hawaii. “There are tons of families that don’t buy meat because they share a cow or because uncle can hunt. We’re trying to make it easier for people that don’t hunt to get access to these amazing products.”

Even though he learned how to butcher as a hunter, Stovall says he does not consider himself a butcher and is working with a fellow hunting partner, who is a master butcher.

“I don’t plan on calling myself a butcher for a long time. I’m a chef that has a butcher background.”

The same is true for Hanai Kauai. Watten buys meats from several local ranches, including bison raised in Hanalei and pigs from Oama. Since the ranches sell only the whole animal, Watten teamed up with a local butcher who comes in and prepares the meat cuts, which Hanai then sells packaged within the retail store.

“We have a great butcher, Adrien Pu’u, that comes once a week,” says Watten. “Adrien grew up immersed in cattle ranching and hunting. He’s well versed in animal husbandry and butchery and is a consummate professional.”

Last October, Hanai Kauai offered a five-hour class on the art of butchery with renowned butcher Francois Vecchio. Watten notes that the class drew 12 attendees, including local chefs, hunters, and novices wanting to learn how to cut their own meat.

VJ’s on Oahu regularly offers workshops to school groups showing kids how to make their own hot dogs, made up of only five ingredients and local spices – even the hot dog and sausage casings are GMO-free. Interest in butchery has reached such a point that at last year’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range, one of the largest agricultural events on Hawaii Island, organizers offered a free workshop on how to butcher half a side of beef.

At the heart of the butchery trend is knowing where your food comes from, be it venison from Molokai, lamb from Niihau, chickens from Hawaii Island, pork from Oahu or beef from a nearby ranch.

“We aren’t saying eat steak every day,” says Stovall. “If you have a steak once a week make sure you get it from a local butcher shop and know where it came from.”

“The opportunity is here in spades,” adds McGee. “There’re a lot of good ranchers in Hawaii with so many fantastic ranches. [As butchers] we have a responsibility to deliver a wholesome, quality product consistently.”

Kohana Wai shares Liquid Nutrition


From his company’s 700-square-foot production space and retail store at the KTA shopping center in Kamuela, Brian Otting stays true to his mission of “connecting community and lifestyle through nutrition.”

“It takes a village to be a healthy community,” says Brian, founder of Kohana Wai, a cold-pressed juice enterprise based on Hawaiʻi Island.

Producing up to 2,500 bottles of “Pure Liquid Life Force” (a.k.a. juice) per week, Brian pursues a “full-circle” approach to his business that includes donating dozens of gallons of green waste thrice weekly to the elementary school garden at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy. The donation helps reinforce the benefits of sustainable practices and community partnerships.

“It’s good to have nutritionally rich green waste for our compost pile,” said Jessica Sobocinski, afterschool garden teacher at HPA. “We want our students to learn how to take care of our resources and how to be sustainable. Kohana Wai’s contributions go hand in hand with our program.”

Born and raised in the Hollywood Hills, Brian is a former producer of TV spots, commercials and theatrical trailers. Living abroad for several years, he noticed positive changes in his health and well being after eliminating processed foods from his diet and embracing the sheer abundance of fresh, locally harvested foods available as a matter of course in other countries. He then embarked on a 46-day juice fast, and from there, researched the best process for creating juice.

Brian founded Kohana Wai in Kamuela three years ago, utilizing hydraulic-press technology to develop his first five beverages. “It was important to me to have a high-quality product on the market,” he said. “I consulted with traditional and holistic doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors and local farmers. The original drink recipes were ‘grass-rooted’ at the farmers’ market in Kamuela before I decided to open a store. I have close to 30 drinks right now, including nut milk as well as Liquid Life Cleanse packages.”

Brian says it takes a minimum of three-to-seven pounds of produce to yield a 17-ounce bottle of juice. With a 72-hour shelf life, the juices feature everything from kale and spinach to fennel, Tahitian limes and Meyer lemons, plus beets grown by local farmers specifically for the company. Ninety-percent of the ingredients come from Hawai‘i, said Brian.

You don’t have to live in Kamuela to access Kohana Wai’s fresh juice offerings. The company offers door-to-door delivery throughout the Big Island, as well as direct pickup locations at Dr. Joan Greco’s offices in Kona and Hilo. An oral surgeon, Dr. Greco provides the liquid nutrition to her patients for speedy recovery after oral surgery.

Additionally, Brian has just announced that by the end of 2016, Kohana Wai’s products will be available to all islands via online ordering. Plans are also underway to open a 2,000-squarefoot wellness, chiropractic and yoga center adjacent to the production facility.

“I would never have guessed that this would be my path, to provide liquid nutrition to the state of Hawai‘i,” said Brian. “It’s hard to talk about it without getting emotional. A big part of my day is spent interacting with each and every customer. Our entire team loves coming to work. They are passionate about what they are doing, even if it’s cleaning the produce. There is an abundance of love that comes back to us from our customers.”

Dr. Joan Greco – Signature Blend

Watercress, Kale, Fresh Harvested Aloe (peeled), Pear, Cucumber, Meyer Lemon.

Infection Fighting, Strengthens Bones and Teeth, Meal Replacement.

ABC – Unwanted Toxins No More

Green Apple, Beet, Carrot, Ginger, Meyer Lemon.

Detoxifies, Antioxidant Push, Relieves Joint Pain.

Enlightenment – Body & Mind

Carrot, Pineapple, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Red Apple, Rangpur Lemon.

Detoxifies, Antioxidant, Relieves Joint Pain, Blood Pressure.

Statewide food events becoming aware of Zero Waste


Tables are set. Chefs are busy portioning out culinary creations. The doors fling open and a hungry crowd flocks in to wine, dine and enjoy good company—often for a good cause.

Hawai‘i’s many festive events and gatherings, often fundraisers for non-profit organizations, are popular in the Aloha State, where hotels and outdoor facilities abound. But what about the after-party…the used plastic forks and cups? The discarded water bottles? The empty liters of wine? And then there’s all the uneaten food left on plates.

Waste from the state’s growing number of events is impacting our landfills from Hilo to Hanalei. So how can organizers better manage the messy art of discard diversion to keep waste from filling up our landfills?

The answer lies in the tenants of Zero Waste (ZW). According to the Zero Waste International Alliance, ZW “is a goal that is ethical, economical, efficient and visionary, to guide people in changing their lifestyles and practices to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use.” In a nutshell, it means designing products and processes to avoid and eliminate waste and recover all resources. ZW aims to eliminate all discharges into the air, land and water that are a threat to the planet’s health.

Implementing the values of Zero Waste at Hawai‘i gatherings is the goal of several organizations and event organizers across the state. We share their successes, challenges and beliefs in hopes more events will jump on the ZW bandwagon.


About 2000 people sprawl both inside and out of Hawai’i Island’s Hilton Waikoloa Village’s conference center for Taste of the Hawaiian Range. A “grazing” event where attendees visit over 30 culinary stations and 40 food producer booths and exhibits, the agricultural showcase has been practicing ZW since 2010. Guided over the years by Recycle Hawaii and the County of Hawai‘i’s Department of Environmental Management, Taste has diverted sizeable amounts of waste out of the landfill.

The event relies on volunteers, primarily from Kanu O Ka ‘Aina charter school, to staff twelve discard stations equipped with bins for discarding food waste, compostable serving ware, HI-5 recyclable bottles, mixed recyclables and trash. Stations are positioned along walls enabling students to stand behind them for better monitoring. The youth make sure attendees discard their waste in the appropriate bin, including scraping food off plates.

It requires more money and effort to go ZW according to Marla Fergerstrom, Taste’s logistics coordinator and manager of UH’s Mealani Research Station—where the event began in 1996. She cites the equipment purchase of special frames, covers and compostable waste bags for the ZW discard stations. “The bags cost $1 each,” she details. “We purchase and provide sustainable serving ware for all the chef stations.”

Additional efforts include finding a resource to take the food waste (like the local piggery), securing a resource to take the compostable discards, and arranging for pickup.

Marla reports the amount of compostable supplies used at the 2016 Taste were a whopping 19,200 plates, 1,862 bowls, 12,250 forks, 1,700 spoons, 1,000 chopsticks, 13,000 napkins and 1,350 12-oz cups. After the event, she goes back to each culinary station to retrieve whatever supplies aren’t used as she can return unused supplies to Sustainable Island Products. The 2016 bill for compostable supplies was $1,188.53.

Since 2012, Taste has partnered with UH’s College of Agriculture Forestry and Natural Resource Management to monitor the volume of waste generated, collected, separated and recovered during the event. In 2016, Taste generated 1,514 pounds of waste with a 96 percent recovery— that’s 1,456 pounds of waste diverted from the landfill. Under the watchful eye of UH’s Dr. Norman Arancon, who supervises the weighing of all waste, Taste’s ZW recovery efforts from 2012 to 2016 have ranged from a low of 85.1 to 98.5 percent.


Presented by Hawaii Sea Spirits/Ocean Vodka, the annual Ocean Vodka Showdown attracts over 400 guests to the Sheraton Maui to sip cocktails and graze food stations. According to Shonna Pinheiro Baltar, director of marketing at Hawaii Sea Spirits, all event serving ware is compostable with guests receiving a reusable bamboo “spork,” a spoon-fork eating utensil. Sporks are purchased from the #Sporkitup campaign hosted by Maui Huliau Foundation, a non-profit founded in 2010 to provide unique environmental education programs for youth.

“We had four composting stations with the help of Malia Cahill from Maui Huliau …without her lead this would not have taken place,” notes Shonna about the 2016 event. Volunteers at each station encourage guests to divide their trash into food waste, recyclables, compostables and trash. She says attendees are receptive to the ZW effort and “it was the talk of the event.”

The goal of Ocean Showdown is to keep 90 percent of the waste out of the landfill. Kupa‘a Farm removes and processes the compostables. “At the end of the event we were left with four bags of trash for the entire night,” continues Shonna. “The remaining items were composted. No straws, no stirring sticks and no plastic utensils were used. Hopefully this was the first event of this size on Maui that will help lead the movement—with the help of the community and supporting organizations—to reduce the waste that comes out of large events.”


With five markets on O’ahu, FarmLovers bills itself as a “green market,” asking food vendors to use only bio-compostable serving ware and customers to bring their own shopping bags.

Pamela Boyar, FarmLovers development director, who is also president of the Hawaii Farmers Union United’s (HFUU) Oahu Chapter, says market customers don’t seem to mind the ZW efforts but she has to repeatedly check on vendors to enforce using compostable serving ware. “It’s more expensive so we have to police them,” she says, adding that the process “has raised the consciousness of our vendors because a lot of them didn’t do it. We don’t want to see any Styrofoam at any of our markets.”

At HFUU meetings, food is served on compostable World Centric serving ware Pamela buys at Containerland or Malolo in Honolulu. Meetings located on farms have compost bins for appropriate waste. “Everyone is cooperative,” states Boyar.

She adds, “Zero Waste is the only way to go for our future and our children’s future. The need for it is magnified with living on an island.”


Matt Lane is the founder of Cultivate; it organizes, assists and promotes events, plus facilitated the implementation of more than a dozen school and community gardens on Maui. The Valley Isle resident has been involved for many years in the ZW effort of the Lahaina Town Clean Up, the Source Interactive Arts Festival and beach cleanups. He served as a ZW coordinator for Jack Johnson’s 2014 tour spanning 24 venues across North America and is the on-site ZW and volunteer coordinator for Kokua Hawai‘i Festivals.

With so much involvement, Lane has many useful ZW ideas to share, most of which he learned through volunteering with the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation and beach cleanups. These include having water stations instead of plastic bottle sales, providing attendees with reusable Klean Canteen-style cups, using nature- made “plates” like banana leaves, limiting vendors to locally made products with little packaging and using grain sacks from a local brewery instead of trash bags.

When planning a ZW event, Lane cautions to begin with a realistic approach as “most people are heavy consumers of plastic… you need to be flexible, understanding and reasonable with little expectations…set realistic goals.” After you have realistic plans for ZW, he suggests finding partners “that truly believe in this to support you…Ask for help!” He suggests researching Plastic Free Hawaii, Sustainable Coastlines, checking with your county office for local resources, or contacting him at http://cultivatemedia. org. Also, choose a venue that supports your ZW effort, purchase locally with little or no packaging and recruit volunteers to staff waste stations. Lane suggests having ZW volunteers serve as event greeters at an eco-village, which serves as the educational entryway to an event and puts attendees in the ZW mode.

Zero Waste is important to Lane who feels Hawai‘i is a great place for ZW events as “people understand and are trying to create change.” Living on an island brings the realization that choices must be made to create less waste and support local businesses and food producers.

He explains: “I started to realize the way we are taught to consume at an early age affects the way we consume in our homes, at the beach and at our favorite events. We need to create examples by teaching our children to consume locally and organically at a young age. It helps create a lot less waste. Not only for their health but also to limit the waste stream that is connected with consuming products from all over the world… Why wouldn’t we want to eat better food and drink better drinks that are produced right here in our beautiful home in Maui? There is much less waste created and you support your local community’s economy.”


With a mission to advocate, educate and promote the benefits of ZW on the Garden Isle, Zero Waste Kauai (ZWK) has assisted numerous events in managing the waste stream, including private celebrations and political fundraisers. The organization has been involved with several food events for many years: Kaua‘i County Farm Fair, the Garden Island Range and Food Festival, Taste of Hawai‘i and Desserts First.

The president of ZWK is John Harder, who also works as a contractor overseeing the building of a materials recovery center for the County of Kaua‘i. John has been a solid waste manager for over 25 years, overseeing operations on three Hawaiian Islands and in the Western Pacific. An ardent supporter of recycling and composting, he feels ZW is the ultimate tool for managing our discards.

While ZWK is involved in various green initiatives, helping events is one of its most time-consuming endeavors. As every event is different and ZWK’s volunteer base is stretched thin, the organization focuses on the pre-planning of events and leaves it up to event organizers to provide coordination and management. ZWK “tries to catch most events early on,” by guiding organizers through a pre-planning questionnaire, menu choices and options for compostable serving ware. It also trains volunteers.

“We like to walk through the event site and see what it looks like,” adds John. ZWK then gives recommendations for the number and placement of waste stations, which is also determined by projected amount of attendees. ZWK focuses on three areas of waste separation: recyclables, compostables and trash.

Explaining the goal of ZWK’s event effort, John says, “We aren’t trying so much to divert material from the landfill. Our primary focus is to demonstrate to event organizers the potential for diversions and show programs that can be replicated at future events. We want to show that if you pull out the organic and the reusable, then there’s very little left.”

ZWK offers event resources online; find a Zero Waste Event Manual, the setup for a ZW display and brochure for event use at:


Statewide events and organizations practicing the principles of ZW are leading the way for others. Show you appreciate these efforts by attending events that are responsibly managing the waste stream and become a ZW event volunteer. At home, use compostable serving ware at celebrations. In addition, the smart kitchen EatBy App, available from iTunes and Google Play, helps users waste less, eat fresh and spend less. Happy Partying!

For more info on Zero Waste:

Plates and cups begin the compostable process at Kupa’a Farms.
Maui Zero Waste Stations, Sheraton Maui

A Kōloa Rum Dinner


On a perfect Sunday afternoon we gathered several of Hawaii’s most thoughtful chefs and one talented cocktail chef, Matthew Biancaniello, to feed a group of Kauaʻi’s business leaders. The mission was to showcase 100% locally sourced food and drink on Kauaʻi while maintaining an emphasis on zero waste.

The dinner, held at the breathtaking McBryde Garden on Kauaʻi’s south shore, sought to honor Kōloa Rum and their efforts to support the Kauaʻi community. We encouraged the chefs to create courses that would pair with specially crafted cocktails featuring Kōloa Rum. For recipes and more stunning photos of the event please visit our website at

Matthew Biancaniello, Cocktail Chef

Pupu by Executive Chef Lee Anne Wong, Koko Head Café, Honolulu, O’ahu

Pai’iai Sui Gok – Island Pork, Lilikoi with Kōloa Rum and Pepper Sauce.

Vegetable Poke – Coconut, Finger Lime and Inamona with assorted Fresh Vegetables.

E Komo Mai Cocktail by Matthew Biancaniello – Sea Moss infused Kōloa White Rum, Cucumber, Tarragon, Lime, Agave and Lilikoi

Salad Course by Executive Chef Michael Young, Sheraton Kauai

Kailani Farms Arugula and Kunana Dairy Goat Cheese with Roasted Beets, Pear Tomato, Mango, Papaya, Koōloa Rum soaked, grilled & chilled Pineapple with Macadamia Nut & Tahitian Lime Dressing topped with North Shore Poi Mochi Croutons and Chicken Chicharron.

Cocktail by Matthew Biancaniello – Rosemary infused Kōloa Gold Rum Aperol, Tangerine, Beet Juice, Lime, Agave and Ghost Pepper Salt garnish with fried ‘Ulu with Poppy Seeds.

Bob Gunter, President and CEO of Koloa Rum



Beef Rib with Allspice Berries, Smoke, Chocolate, Fruit and Chili.

Confit of Uala – Turnip, Beet and Preserved Limequat

Cocktail by Matthew Biancaniello- Bay Leaf infused Kōloa Gold Rum with Macadamia Nut Milk, Jackfruit, Parsley, Liquid Aminos, Lime, Agave with Multi Citrus air on top.





Cocktail by Matthew Biancaniello – Candy Cap infused Kōloa Dark Rum, Coconut Milk, Egg and Honey.

Cocktail by Matthew Biancaniello – Kōloa Coffee Rum, Lime, Agave, Mango and Balsamic.





Entrée Cocktail by Matthew Biancaniello- Bay Leaf infused Kōloa Gold Rum with Macadamia Nut Milk,
Jackfruit, Parsley, Liquid Aminos, Lime, Agave with Multi Citrus air on top.

World’s Best Ocean Vodka Cocktail 2016 Keokea Park



Recipe Courtesy of Ka'ai Fong.
Photography by Jessica Park.
The 3rd Annual Ocean Vodka Showdown has crowned another of its “World’s Best Cocktails.” Created by bartender Ka’ai Fong of the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, the “Keokea Park” cocktail was selected as the winner by a panel of judges. This drink will be featured at all outlets at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa for a year. A dollar ($1.00) of the sale of each KeoKea Park cocktail ordered will benefit the charity Fong was partnered with, Imua Family Services.
Course: Drinks
Author: Ka'ai Fong


  • 2 oz. Ocean Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fresh Red Bell Pepper Juice
  • ½ oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice
  • ¾ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 oz. Adoboloco Mangoes Bumbye Syrup


Prepare Adoboloco Mangoes Bumbye Syrup.

  • Make a simple syrup 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. After making the simple syrup, mix the simple syrup with the Adoboloco Mangoes Bumbye hot sauce 4:1 (4 parts simple syrup and 1 part hot sauce).
  • Mix everything together and garnish with a red bell pepper slice.
  • Serve and enjoy.