Last Fall, I had the privilege to be sent to Italy by Slow Food Maui as a delegate to Slow Food International’s Terra Madre and Salone De Gusto conference. The lessons and connections made there were innumerable and the infl uence of this event seems to grow with each passing day.
The driving focus this past year at Terra Madre was family farming. Throughout the week the importance of the family farm to a thriving community was communicated in a variety of ways. Smaller sustainable farms feed the specifi c and diverse needs of a particular community and land, and also serves to nourish and perpetuate a unique culture and sense of place. This is something that we see more of in countries where cuisine is very specifi c to the land and environment people live in. In the U.S. where so many different cultures converge, it’s much different and we rarely see cuisine that is purely regional and tied to the land.
I carried this idea with me as we ventured into our GROW issue this Spring and became acutely aware of the unique circumstance we have here on the islands of Hawai‘i. Not only does our remote and separate location provide us with very specifi c food sustainability needs, it also creates a very real potential for us to grow exactly what we need and want to eat.
This issue takes us through a new but ancient way of growing greens in Hydroponics and Aquaponics, the creation of a new generation of farmers in our Meet Your Farmer department as well as our interview with Jack Johnson about the work he does with children and farming in his foundation, Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation. We’ve also included our 2nd Annual Farm Guide. It’s a gorgeous insert designed to be pulled out and taken with you as you tour farms in your area.
You’ll also notice a very intentioned focus on the crops that are natural to our land. Scott Hiraishi created four amazing recipes for us using canoe crops in our Cooking Fresh department. And for our features, we couldn’t resist highlighting the growing Cacao industry we are developing here in Hawai‘i and sharing a very special look into W.S. Merwin’s new partnership with Hawai‘i Island Land Trust to create a conservancy of his gorgeous palm tree collection in Ha‘iku. There are also a handful of delicious drink recipes using locally sourced coconut and a variety of fruits.
This issue is both about the diversity of the foods we have on this land as it is about connecting all of us consumers, to the farms and its farmers. We are a community tied by land and sea in a very special way. I invite you all to join us on Saturday May 23rd for Edible Hawaiian Islands Statewide Farm Day.
We’re heading out to meet our growers and you’re invited! Join the fun by visiting a farm, taking a farm tour with your family or shopping at a farmers market. Share your experience on social media using the hashtag #EHIFarmDay15. We’ll be tracking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for great photos and stories.
Let’s come together and celebrate food and those who grow it for us!
Skin. It protects, it breathes, it shines and is a tell tale of what lies beneath in terms of our health and figuratively in how we choose to adorn ourselves. When we created the theme for this issue we contemplated between the return to using butter and lard with eating skin of animals from a cultural point of view coupled with the growing chef culture of tattooing food related images onto their skin.
In the end, as the stories came together for our Winter 2015 is a common thread of a renegade food culture centered around risk taking, revealed itself to be about something deeper. Passion.
Passion is flavor. It’s the drive and commitment to eating high quality, good tasting food. Passion is in the compulsion to keep learning, to keep refining and to keep feeding others because there is no other life for those that cook.
This issue is a gallery made to honor those that love what they do so deeply, it’s become a way of life. You see this in the department, Meet Your Farmer with Doni Chong of Oahu, who is not the kind of farmer you’d expect. You’ll also see this in the passion and dedication with Pastry Chef/Owner Michelle Karr Ueoka of MW Restaurant, and of course in the latest creation by Isaac Bancaco of Ka’ana Kitchen at Andaz Wailea and his monthly Maui Chef Bloc dinner series which promises to be a culinary laboratory for the next wave of dishes to inspire the restaurants throughout Hawaii.
We interviewed a handful of chefs from across the Hawaiian Islands on what inspired their food tattoos. The stories we uncovered were inspiring and took our appreciation of the power of food to a whole new level. We made our own butter and returning lard to the table, recipes for eating skin, foods that feed your own skin and a highlight of natural skin products that are sourced and made locally in the islands.
This is the Skin Issue, but it’s also very much about eating and passion, transformation and stepping outside of the food box in order to enjoy bigger flavors with each meal. Skin is the rebel, the innovator and a return to deeper flavor.
I’ve always been drawn, fascinated and fed by the capacity of food to bring people together. The ways in which we share our bounty, our stories and our experiences with one another around the dinner table have propelled me into the world of food writing and cooking. It speaks to the heart of what and who we are as a society.
How the gathering happens varies, but we have all been called to sit down at the dinner table to share a meal with others. We are called to come together and Share.
This Fall issue will give you a look into a meal shared after the main dishes were hunted for in The Hunter, The Chef, a local chef’s menu for a home grown thanksgiving dinner in Cooking Fresh with Chef Sheldon Simeon, a community coming together to support a documentary about the cultivation, harvest and eating of taro for three meals a day in Pass the Pa‘i ‘Ai, recipes using foods we can forage for on the islands in Foraging Hawai’I with Sonny Savage along with recipes and fresh farm produce to share with others in your life through a meal.
No matter the reason or occasion, the act of coming together to share food creates the setting for us to share our lives with one another. This to me is a perfect metaphor for my joining the Edible Hawaiian Islands table. I have come to sit here now with its staff and with all of you.
It’s an honor to join Edible as its new editor and share with you the stories of our local fresh food culture here in Hawai’i. Join me, subscribe to the magazine and be here with us as we move forward into the delicious world of Edible Hawaiian Islands. We have exciting things ahead of us.
COOK. It’s a skill, an art, an act of love. If you like to eat, it matters. Our job this issue is to inspire you to cook. It does not need to be complicated or complex; just find a recipe in these pages and simply cook.
This summer I’ve got my mind on barbecuing with family and friends in the backyard or outside at the beach. We do it all year ‘round here in the islands, but somehow, in the heat of summer it’s different. I’m always looking for new ideas, which is why I love our feature on easy summer entertaining with private chef Jana McMahon. Be sure to read her advice; I learned a number of good tips and have already brought a few of her delicious recipes to my home table.
Most people would assume that my kitchen is fancy and full of the latest cooking gadgets. The truth is, all I have is a set of good knives, a few quality pots and pans, and an overused coffeemaker. (Okay, and a secret obsession for artisanal cutting boards—I’m revealing my current favorite here in this issue!) I love preparing simple, clean food, and to do so I rely on excellent knife skills and little else.
James Beard said, “Next to hands, the most important tool in the kitchen is a good knife.” We asked acclaimed Hawai‘i food writer, Wanda Adams, to talk to the pros and bring back some useful words on what, exactly, this means for the needs of us home cooks. Turns out it’s nothing fancy. No, really.
Given the spirit of the summer, we had to heat things up a bit. In these pages is our HOTTEST centerfold yet. It’s saucy, spicy and guaranteed to shake up how you are serving grilled meats, fresh fruit, even ice cream.
As we celebrate our 8th year publishing Edible Hawaiian Islands, I’m thrilled to continue sharing stories and following our food passions across the islands. I want to give thanks to each of our readers, and to everyone that contributes to creating this publication: every writer, photographer, designer, stylist and salesperson. And to each and every one of our advertisers, mahalo nui loa! It is only with your support that this magazine is possible.
GROW: a simple concept that is so important to life. We can grow a community, an idea, or a single plant each step rippling long term effects along the way. Within the pages of this issue are stories of growing ideas that we hope will educate and inspire. We turn the spotlight on Kaua‘i chef and restaurant owner Ron Miller of Hukilau Lanai, who grew his love of cooking to include his neighbors and community; three entrepreneurs who are growing business by following their passion for good food (and drink!); how the garden classroom movement is helping our keiki bloom; and the art and science behind seed saving—because without seeds how would we grow anything?
The expert growers, our farmers, are having to master so much more these days in order to keep their farms viable and in the black: everything from social media to SEO, agri-tourism, and the creation and marketing of value-added products. The modern farm isn’t what it used to be; journalist Britt Yap took a closer look for us.
Exciting things truly are sprouting up at your local farms: You really need to go meet your growers! The heart of this issue is our first annual Hawai‘i Farm Guide, a statewide resource of food growers, including who they are, where they are, and what they offer. We feel so strongly about this that we’re calling for a statewide Farm Day on Saturday, May 24. Schedule this afternoon to go visit a local farm you’ve been meaning to. Meet the growers, get to know their operation, taste their food, and document it all on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #EHIFarmDay. More about this on page 34.
Lastly, we tip our hat in congratulations to the winners of our annual Local Heroes awards. These are the people, businesses, and organizations in Hawai‘i that make a difference in our food scene, as determined by community vote. You’ll find the results on page 8. Please, take a moment to thank and congratulate each member of this impressive bunch for his or her important contributions.
Edible Hawaiian Islands is growing, too. Our new website just launched. I am incredibly proud of it and invite you to browse www.ediblehi.com and leave your thoughts and comments. If you are so moved, subscribe! We’d love our relationship to grow into a beautiful and long-lasting exchange.