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Monday, October 16, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs Monday, Oct.16 , 2023

Ancient Valley Growers in Wood Valley, featured in a new Hawai‘i Tourism Authority story,  has found a stable market for its produce through food hubs that sell to restaurants, chefs and other entities around the island. Photo from Ancient Valley Growers
ANCIENT VALLEY GROWERS IN WOOD VALLEY is highlighted in an Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority story entitled Farmers, Chefs Rely on Food Hubs for Consistency in Supply and Demand. It quotes Matt Drayer who, with his wife Andrea, owns the Ancient Valley Growers farm and manages the adjacent mamaki tea farm. Matt Drayer said, "With farming, everything revolves around time and food hubs enable us to grow crops in bulk without finding a customer." 
    Drayer is a former chef, who gave up his 11-year profession in California's culinary industry, started farming in Wood Valley and works with the food hubs Adaptations, Kohala Food Hub and Hawai‘i Food Basket, Da Box CSA.
    Drayer told the Visitors Bureau, "I don't have time to sell direct to chefs though I miss going into restaurant kitchens to see what's going on,." He detailed that "chefs make a lot of sauces and stocks," and that he purposely grows celery and carrots for them to make mirepoix, a sautéed mixture of those veggies, plus onions, to build flavor. "We have the carrots and celery down, now we need to work on growing onions, which require a greenhouse."
Audrey Meyerhofer harvests Selanova butter lettuce at Ancient 
 Valley Growers in Wood Valley. Photo from Ancient Valley Growers
    Drayer, wife Andrea and their crew of work-for-trade farmhands grow a dozen types of veggies, and sell eggs and poultry. Plans are ito put in an apple orchard at their 2.400-foot elevation in Wood Valley and Ancient Valley Growers may also cultivate some stone fruits: plums, cherries and peaches, said Drayer.
    Emphasizing that he likes to grow crops that Hawai'i imports, Drayer said he would like to see the amount of food imported here reduced to at least half in his lifetime. "We are reliant on a fragile importation system and if the 2020 pandemic taught us anything, it's that we are very susceptible to a cataclysm of our food system," he emphasized. 
    Ancient Valley Growers works with food hubs Adaptaions, Kohala Food Hub and Hawai‘i Food Basket Da Box, CSA. Other food hubs featured in the story are OK Farms, Hawai‘i ‘Ulu Cooperative and Ho‘ola Farms. 
    Other farmers featured in the story:
    Luis Rincon, who has operated Rincon Family Farms in Waimea for 35 years and now grows carrots, beets, spinach and kale, along with some strawberries, Halloween pumpkins and sometimes green beans.
    "Seed" Tyler Levine, of Nāhua ‘Āina Farms in Āhualoa, grows sprouting cauliflower, radishes, baby beets, carrots, salad turnips and cilantro on a quarter acre.
    Adam Miranda, with his 23-acre Makana Raw Farms in Hilo, grows a variety of veggies and herbs and has planted a fruit orchard. His operation features seven greenhouses.
    The story also quotes restaurant chefs and restauranteurs like Soni Pamaski, of Moon & Turtle in Hilo, former Hilton Waikoloa Village chef Dayne Tanabe with his private chef company DYNE by Chefbuddha, and Dan Robayo, chef de cuisine at the Beach Restaurant at Kona's Kohanaiki Private Club Community and at his own Pā‘ina Pantry.
    The story quotes rancher and state Sen. H.M. Tim Richards III: "By marketing products for growers, increasing food security and providing chefs with a reliable supply chain, food hubs act as a crucial intermediary — effectively marketing products on behalf of farmers and allowing them to focus on cultivation. By doing so, they build essential bridges between producers, chefs and ultimately the consumer, strengthening the entire food ecosystem."
    The story, written by Fern Gavelek, who also helped to promote the Kaʻū Coffee Festival for many years, is sponsored through Hawai‘i Tourism Authority's Destination Management Action Plan.
Matt and Andy Drayer of Ancient Valley Farms in Wood Valley sell their produce to chefs and other outlets through food hubs.
  Photo courtesy of Ancient Valley Farms

Kekuhi will lead a session on mo‘olelo, oli
and hula on Tuesday at After Dark in the Park.
KEIKUHI  KEALI‘IKANAKAOLEOHAILILANI will host the teaching of mo‘olelo (story), hula
(dance), mele (song and poetry), and oli (chanting) during After Dark in the Park on Tuesday, Oct. 17 in Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium at 7 p.m., at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
    Kekuhi will guide participants to connect to the landscapes of Hawai‘i on a deeper level. A statement from the Park says, "Passed down from her grandmother, Edith Kekuhi Kanakaʻole, her hula, chant, and stage performances have touched thousands of lives."
    This event is expected to be well attended. Doors will open for seating beginning at 6:30 p.m.
    The program is co-sponsored by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. A $2 donation helps to support park programs. Admission is free but Park entrance fees apply.

AN UPDATE FOR THE COFFEE TEA WATER: ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS EXPO, this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Nāʻālehu Park, was issued on Monday from the festival coordinator, host and founder/CEO of Stargazer Industries, Christine Kaehuaea.  
    Kaehuaea wrote, "In the District of Kaʻū, the southern tip of Hawai‘i island, decades after the large plantation generated 'free festivals' for the community, Stargazer Industries of Nāʻālehu is hosting the Coffee Tea Water: Essential Elements EXPO to celebrate the Kaʻū Coffee & Tea farmers, offer island bottled water from Waiakea Water, have live musical artists perform from across the state, welcome food and retail vendors from around the island, and thanks to sponsors, make this a FREE event for all residents and visitors to Hawai‘i island."
    She said, "The concept of the Coffee Tea Water: Essential Elements EXPO is a celebration of coffee farmers, and now, Kaʻū tea farmers coupled with Hawai‘i island bottled water. The term EXPO is being used to offer vendors and products that are tied into the themed categories of Coffee, Tea, and Water; from accessories for brewing, tea and water infusion containers and condiments to products made with those ingredients, or created in relation to those categories.
    "The next step to this event was secured LIVE musical performers and vendors from around Hawai‘i island and beyond to create a well balance event for everyone to enjoy."
     Kaehuaea wrote, "This event, as it materialized, seemed to generate a buzz in the community not seen in decades. People liked that this event would benefit vendors as an outlet for their products, sponsors towards taking part of a feel-good event that also gave them a return on their sponsorship through media visibility, and open the door to communities and visitors on or coming to Hawai‘i island so that they get the chance to enjoy a FREE event of this nature. This event will be giving back to the local community by donating trash cans and making a monetary donation to ʻO Kaʻū Kākou for their role in keeping the event clean and providing overflow parking at their Nāʻālehu Farmers’ Market space."
    Kaehuaea said that "orange fencing and T-Posts delineating public parking will be donated to the Hawai‘i County Parks & Recreation Maintenance for Nāʻālehu Park. The 10-foot and 20-foot cattle gates from Hawai‘i Wholesale Fencing in Kailua-Kona being used to separate the backstage and artist/EMS parking lot from event-goers, will be raffled off to those that sign up. The raffle winners must be present at 5:05pm to pick-up their gate as the event is disassembled. A monetary donation will be provided to the Nāʻālehu Methodist Church for use of their parking lot for overflow event parking. 
    "The event will also be promoting the Kaʻū Wish List Fund to help kids in Kaʻū and Lāhainā, Maui continue to soar." Kaehuaea said, “Not only is this event designed to 'Give Back' to the local community on a variety of levels, but with sponsors like KTA Superstores, Paradise Helicopters, Hawai‘i Med-Spa, the WS Restaurant at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and HPM Building supply, it has helped to pay for the some of the expenses for the event and fuel the media plan, however at this 11th hour, we are still reaching out to businesses hoping to find sponsors to help us cross the finish line.”
     “The Kaʻū Wish List Fund will give 75% of donations to Kaʻū schools and educators via Stacey Bello, Superintendent East Hawai‘i DOE and 25% of donations go to the Hawai‘i Teacher’s Association of Lahaina, via Christopher Chang, UniServe Director," wrote Kaehuaea.
Vendors to be in Kaʻū Coffee Tea Water Essential Elements EXPO this Saturday at Nāʻālehu Park.
Image from Stargazer Industries

SECOND BEST COLLEGE IN HAWAI‘I IS UH HILO, according to WalletHub, which issued rankings nationwide this week. University of Hawai‘i Manoa ranked first, Third is Hawai‘i Pacific University and fourth is U.H.- West Hawai‘i. According to the assessment, UH Hilo is the most affordable and boasts the
lowest student-to-faculty ratio. It ranks third in graduation rate and on-campus crime, fourth in gender and racial diversity and post-attendance median salary. Many Ka‘ū students take a hybrid curriculum, with online classes and traveling to Hilo for live classes on certain days of the week.
    With the first "early decision" college application deadline looming on Nov. 1, and tuition and nationwide room and board at a four-year college costing $27,940 – $57,570 per year, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its 2024's Best College & University Rankings report, as well as commentary, in addition to separate rankings for colleges and for universities.
    WalletHub compared over 800 higher-education institutions in the U.S. based on 30 key measures grouped into seven categories, such as Student Selectivity, Cost & Financing and Career Outcomes. The data set ranges from student-faculty ratio to graduation rate to post-attendance median salary.
    UH Manoa ranked first in admission rate, graduation rate, post-attendance median salary and gender and racial diversity, second in cost and student-faculty ratio and fourth in on-campus crime.
    Hawai‘i Pacific University ranked second in graduation rate, post-attendance median salary, on-campus crime and gender and racial diversity and third in net cost, admission rate and student-faculty ratio.

A MAN WAS SHOT IN THE FACE IN OCEAN VIEW and Hawai‘i Island police are asking for the public’s assistance regarding the attempted murder investigation. The shooting took place on Sunday evening, Oct. 15.
    At 8:50 p.m. on Sunday, Ka‘ū patrol officers were dispatched to the area of Aloha Boulevard and Paradise Parkway in the Hawai‘i Ocean View Estates subdivision for a report of a male in need of medical assistance after possibly being assaulted. Arriving on the scene, officers found the victim, believed to be a 53-year-old Ocean View man, with severe facial injuries lying on the ground near a gold Toyota van. Due to the severity of his injuries, police were unable to ask the victim how he had been injured.
    The victim was transported by Hawai‘i Fire Department medics to the Kona Community Hospital with life-threatening injuries. At the hospital, it was determined that the victim sustained a gunshot wound to his facial area. He was later transferred to the Queens Medical Center on Oahu for further treatment and is currently in stable condition.
    As part of their ongoing investigation, police are seeking leads on what led up to the incident and who may have been responsible for the shooting. Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigation Section are asking for residents in the vicinity of Aloha Boulevard and Paradise Parkway in the Hawai‘i Ocean View Estates subdivision to review their home security camera footage and report anything suspicious.
    Anyone with information regarding this incident or who may have witnessed it is encouraged to contact Detective Donovan Kohara at (808) 960-3118; or via email at donovan.kohara@hawaiicounty.gov. They may also contact the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.
    Citizens can also make an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300 and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers does not record any calls or subscribe to caller ID.