Photo & Story by Margy Love
Marmani Alspach is a typical ten year old girl in South Kona. She loves Monster High, animals, hula and Japanese animation. But frequent visits to the nearby home of Grandpa and Granny are anything but typical. There, instead of sitting at the table eating spam masubi, Manami is more likely to don chef hat and apron and assist in making products. Her grandparents, owners of Love Family Farms, make 150 products from lilikoi syrup to jackfruit marmalade that are sold at the weekly Keauhou Farmers Market and online at Localharvest.org.
Manami began honing her culinary skills when she was only three and had to stand on a chair to reach the counter. She enjoyed helping out so much it has become a regular activity during her frequent visits. She even has a recipe / scrapbook book made from photos of her endeavors. Also she helps with pickling, making Waimea strawberry jam and a host of other exotic fruit jellies. Her favorite activity is making chocolate mint candies with grandpa for the holidays.
Her love of cooking was passed on to her by Grandpa, tropical fruit specialist and chef Ken Love. He began his own career at the young age of 4 when he made his mother a special breakfast of Crepes Suzette, complete with batter on the ceiling. Since coming to Hawaii he has become immersed in the agriculture and culinary fields, having served as president of ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assoc. and is currently Executive Director of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers.
Manami also enjoys assisting Granny in baking gluten-free fruit loaves that are made weekly for sale at the market. Also, every Christmas Manami devotes an entire day in baking goodies that are passed out to friends at local banks, post offices and library as well as family and friends.
Whenever Manami craves a snack, she is in luck because Grandpa, is happy to share whatever exotic fruit is in season.