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Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Wednesday, April 6, 2022

ʻŌhai, Sesbania tomentosa, is one of Hawaiʻi's endangered endemic coastal species and is featured in the monthly
Lāʻau Letters: Native Plants of Kaʻū, with this illustration by Volcano artist Joan Yoshioka.
'ŌHAI IS THE APRIL NATIVE PLANT OF THE MONTH IN KAʻŪ for the column Lāʻau Letters by Jodie Rosam, with illustration by artist Joan Yoshioka. The monthly contribution is about Kaʻū’s native plants and their moʻolelo (stories), uses, preferred habitats, and opportunities to adopt them for stewardship. This column seeks to encourage making new plant friends and to reunite with others.
    ʻŌhai, Sesbania tomentosa, is another one of Hawaiʻs’s endangered endemic species (like last month’s featured friend, hala pepe), and belongs to the Fabaceae family (a cousin to wiliwili and māmane). This lovely lāʻau is variable, growing as a sprawling ground cover or even an upright shrub. Similar to other Fabaceae, each ʻōhai leaf is made up of many small, oval-shaped leaflets which in some cases are covered in tiny silver hairs. This trait is called tomentose (note that the species name of ʻōhai makes a connection to its namesake), and it is an evolutionary adaptation to the intense sun and heat. On sunny days, these leaflet clusters smell like sweet tangerines. 
    The flowers commonly form in pairs, and are most often a crimson red, scarlet, or salmon color, although a very unique Kaʻū population bloom a lovely pure pastel yellow.
    Uses: The bright and showy flowers of ʻōhai were historically used to make a gorgeous lei, although that was when the plants were more abundant. Because ʻōhai is an endangered species, there are legal protections which restrict collection of plant material. With that said, if you are able to purchase ʻōhai and
ʻŌhai is found along the coastlines in Hawai'i Volcanoes
 National Park and
Kamāʻoa Puʻuʻeo Ahupuaʻa in Kaʻū.
  Photo from U.H Botany

cultivate it, the flowers are okay to pick (if you can bring yourself to pluck them - they are such a beautiful sight on the plant when in bloom). In addition, ʻōhai leaves can be placed under your pillow before bedtime to induce the dreamscape and help open up the space of learning and receiving messages.
    Habitat: ʻŌhai have the potential to inhabit coastal and lowland dry areas from sea level to 2,500 feet elevation, though local populations today tend to be restricted to undeveloped coastlines (and are under the constant threat of habitat loss, displacement by invasive species, and feral ungulate pressures). ʻŌhai have been successfully outplanted in the Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve (go visit them!) and protected along the coastline within Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. In Kaʻū, a wild population remains along the coast within the Kamāʻoa Puʻuʻeo Ahupuaʻa. This area is known for off-roading, which, if not done responsibly, can ultimately decimate Kaʻū’s beloved ʻōhai population.
    Growing and Purchasing: Because ʻōhai are endangered, it is not pono to collect seeds or plant material from wild plants. However, some nurseries specializing in native species are able to obtain the necessary permits to grow and sell them. ʻŌhai are nitrogen-fixing plants (as are all Fabaceae), so planting them in the landscape will enrich the soil and benefit surrounding plants. They prefer full sun and well-drained substrates, and enjoy being planted with a bit of clean beach sand. ʻŌhai would undoubtedly make a gorgeous addition to any landscape, preferably planted with plenty of room to sprawl and near other native plant friends.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.

THE WEEKLY COVID UPDATE FROM HAWAI'I COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE AGENCY says that as of Wednesday, April 6, there were 107 new cases of Covid during the last seven days, a total of 176 active cases and two persons hospitalized. "This is a Weekly COVID-19 informational update for Wednesday, April 6.
    In the last seven days for Hawai'i County, the Department of Health reports 107 new cases, 176 active cases, and two persons hospitalized. "While the Island of Hawai'i is categorized by the CDC as Low Risk,
coronavirus is still within our community and it is recommended as a Best Practice that masks be worn around vulnerable populations, when in crowded areas, or where there is little to no distancing available in public. Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly. Stay home if sick - are all best practices we can live by."
    While most public venues have made mask wearing optional, such places as Mizuno's Superette in Pāhala, the Will & Grace store in Nāʻālehu and 'Ōhelo Cafe in Volcano have kept their mask-wearing requirement.
    The statement also said, that "County of Hawai'i will continue to have available hand sanitizing stations and you are welcomed to wear masks at county facilities."
   For a comprehensive calendar and list of all pharmacies and clinics providing vaccination and testing, visit the Civil Defense website. www.hawaiicounty.gov.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.

Big Island Chocolate Festival, which goes live this May 13 and 14, following the Covid shutdown, featured a booth from 
Kaʻū High School's culinary class in 2019. Students presented their Smoked Meat with Kaʻū Coffee Chocolate Barbecue
 Sauce and their Kaʻū Gold Orange Chocolate Drizzle. Photo from Kaʻū High School

THE BIG ISLAND CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL IS LIVE THIS MAY 13 and 14, following a two year hiatus during the pandemic. Kaʻū has been featured in the past. In 2019, Kaʻū High School's culinary class mentored by 'Aina Akamu, presented its Smoked Meat with Kaʻū Coffee Chocolate Barbecue Sauce and its Kaʻū Gold Orange Chocolate Drizzle. The 2016 Big Island Chocolate Festival honored the centennial of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park with the theme Lavalicious.
    A statement from the Big Island Chocolate Festival says that "the ever-popular Big Island Chocolate Festival is presenting a reimagined edition May 13-14, 2022 at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The in-person festival offers a guided plantation tour May 11 at Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Kona, cacao growing and processing seminars by industry experts, culinary demonstrations for the home cook and a fun, reformatted VIP evening gala.

    "As our valued culinary festival partners are busy reopening restaurants and securing staffing, we are changing our format to forego multiple food stations and instead provide a VIP experience featuring a chocolate-inspired, multi-course, sit-down dinner," announces Stephanie Beeby, event chairperson. "And while this yearʻs festival wonʻt be as large as yearʻs past, it will be enjoyable and tasty for our guests."

    The Saturday evening gala will offer the rich taste of chocolate in both its sweet and savory forms in the air-conditioned ballroom. In addition to a cocoa-inspired, three-course dinner plus dessert platter, diners 
can partake in a towering chocolate fountain complemented with your choice of fruit and pastries.
    Guests will groove on the cool jazz, blues and hot Latin stylings of the Blue Jade Band featuring Ann Hoku Lyn and Binti Bailey. Fun includes dancing, an artist who uses chocolate to sketch in-the-moment 
portraits, a silent auction and surprises. Guests can enjoy unlimited wine, beer, iced tea and coffee.
    In its ninth year, the celebration of chocolate is presented by the non-profit Kona Cacao Association. "Itʻs great to be able to gather together in person again and support our enterprising, local cacao growers, processors and chocolate confectioners," says KCA president Farsheed Bonakdar of The Cocoa Outlet & The Chocolate Guy Hawai'i.
    All VIP gala tickets, with seating at tables of eight and service for a three-course meal plus fourth-course dessert platter, are $200. Also available is a one-night hotel package with two VIP gala tickets for $750. Friday educational activities and prices will be announced on the website. All event tickets are sold
online and additional tax and ticketing fees apply. Details: https://bigislandchocolatefestival.com.
    The Chocolate Festival's statement says, "The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Island of Hawai'i by presenting the Big Island Chocolate Festival as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts." Visit http://konacacaoassociation.com. @BIChocoFest.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.

PLANS FOR THIS YEAR'S KAʻŪ COFFEE FESTIVAL REMAIN VIRTUAL, as some farmers and organizers take off for the annual live Specialty Coffee Association Expo to be held April 8-10 in
Boston. Hawai'i Coffee Association Executive Director Chris Manfredi and other representatives from the statewide coffee industry will man a booth at the SCA Expo. They return for the live Hawai'i Coffee Association annual convention in Kona May 19-21, followed by a live Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Nov. 4-13. 
     Manfredi planned for the virtual Kaʻū Coffee Festival to be launched some time in April. Hawai'i Tourism Authority has provided a $20,000 grant for the project, as part of its Community Enrichment Program for 2022. 
    Manfredi recently took the job as Executive Director of the Hawai'i Coffee Association after serving as its volunteer president for years, at the same time serving as one of the organizers of Kaʻū Coffee Festival, which first went virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic.
     In a March 11 letter to Kaʻū Coffee farmers and Kaʻū Coffee Festival organizers, Manfredi wrote, "The virtual content we created and promoted during the last virtual festival reached thousands of people across the world and we hope to create yet another successful event this year." He also wrote that the "online content is more durable than a live event. I love live events as much as the next person, but they are over in a few days. The virtual content is available essentially forever and is being shared year-long on a global scale."
      Check for Kaʻū Coffee Festival 2022 virtual event progress at www.kaucoffeefestival.com.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/.See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.

See The Ka'u Calendar April edition at 
on newsstands and in the mail. 

                              SEE UPCOMING EVENTS IN KAʻŪ & VOLCANO

        at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html