The Food Provider ~ June | July | Aug 2011

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In This Issue


Aloha Kākou

Welcome to the Summer issue of HānaiʻAi, the sustainable agriculture newsletter of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The mission of HānaiʻAi is to provide a venue for dissemination of science-based information to serve all of Hawaii's Farming Community in our quest for agricultural sustainability.

As we complete our second year of publishing HānaiʻAi, it is a good time to stop and look back. In each issue, our Featured Farmer column highlights successful agribusinesses in pursuit of their goal to achieve the "triple crown" of sustainability: profitability, environmental stewardship, and a positive quality of life for those involved in agriculture. In Growing Your Business from the Field, Drs. Radovich and Cox revisit these innovative growers, their opinions, approach and advice to other growers on sustainability and agriculture in Hawaii.

In our Sustainable and Organic Research News feature, we highlight the work of CTAHR researchers who continue to focus on practices that promote plant health, a vital soil, and a strong market for local products. The Organic Update highlights the recent HFBF Organic Symposium, which brought together growers, researchers, educators and administrators to discuss how to better support our certified organic growers and take the industry to the next level.

Make sure to visit the "back pages" of the newsletter as well. New posters and publications relating to sustainable agriculture are linked in Publications & Programs, and several upcoming Workshops, Conferences and Meetings are announced, including the 'Ulu Festival and Taste of the Hawaiian Range. We also congratulate (and list) the 2011 WSARE Program grant awardees, including 3 teams from CTAHR who were collectively awarded almost $500,000.

We hope you find this issue of HānaiʻAi useful, and welcome your input.

Featured Farmer: Rick Tamanaha
Kaleikoa Farms, Ho'olehua, Moloka‘i

Kaleikoa Farm

Area Under production: Currently 16 acres - soon to be 23 acres (100% certified organic), Dept. of Hawaiian Homes homestead agricultural lot

Years farming in Hawaii: 40 years backyard farming, currently in 5th year of commercial farming.

Crops: As a start-up farm, we selected and concentrated on growing strawberry sunrise papaya - a type developed specifically by Cooperative Extension Service (CES) agent Alton Arakaki for Ho'olehua soil and weather. Because of high demand and an established distributor equipped with fruit fly treatment located right here on island, the papaya generated the necessary cash flow to acquire the proper equipment and expand production acreage quickly.

As we started our 3rd phase of expansion (additional equipment, buildings, and production acreage) at the end of 2009, we encountered a problem with axis deer that grew increasingly worse throughout 2010. We tried everything we could think of and eventually we managed to plant a successful acre in October 2010 surrounded with a 3,000 volt electric fence. The fence is 5 feet tall and the deer are already starting to realize that they can easily jump it. We are in the process of installing an 8 foot hog wire fence around our 23 acres and hope to have it completed by mid August this year.

As soon as the fence is completed, we will be planting butternut squash and varieties of mini eggplant and hope to keep them on a par with our papaya output.  We plan on experimenting with cantaloupe and mini-watermelon.

Fertility Management: In this area, we rely exclusively on our CES agent for our education.  With papaya, we plant 3 seedlings per hole to reduce the odds of having a female or male tree.  We hope to end up with one hermaphrodite (self-pollinating) per hole. We also use bone-fish meal (from Island Commodities), dolomite, crushed coral, and gypsum.

Pest Management: We are bound by the organic farming rules which encompass the entire operation.  Again we rely solely on CES as to what to do when we encounter problems. We have experimented with tropical sunn hemp in the past and plan on utilizing more sunn hemp on resting fields to help with nematodes as well as to try and fix nitrogen into the soil.

What does Sustainability mean to you?  How did the next generation integrate into the family farm? The decision to farm was made by three generations of the Kaleikoa family that have direct roots to the homestead. Discussion involved:

  1. Did we have the passion necessary to ensure success in all aspects of the enterprise?

  2. Did family members and potential future beneficiaries of the homestead consider it to be simply an entitlement to be utilized at our discretion? We decided that it was much more. The homestead provided all of us an opportunity to accept the responsibility of stewardship of the land.

  3. We had to define success. We needed to be profitable in 3 years and the operation was set up to allow for additional family members who wanted to become a part of the farm. We keep no proprietary secrets and open our farm to all who want to learn or experience farm life. To date we have had hundreds of people of all ages come to visit, tour and work on our farm as well as Senators Inouye and Akaka and a senate agricultural committee on a fact finding trip.

How do you price your products?  Where do you market your products?  How do you promote your products?  How do you adapt production to meet the needs of clients?
During the down time caused by the disruption of the axis deer, we severed ties with our local produce distributor and are seeking ways to enter the local and Canadian markets on our own. We realize that there is a premium on organic produce outside of the island and seek prices based on the current high demand for organics. Whenever possible, we go to stores such as Whole Foods and talk to shelf stockers to find out what is needed. We open discussions with people wherever we go and have made quite a few Canadian contacts just through conversations and e-mail. The handful of homestead farmers on the island are a very close knit group and we talk all the time. We all have the same mindset that new opportunities for one is an opportunity for all of us. We rely heavily on each other sharing information on new equipment, farming techniques and will always promote our produce as a group. There is absolutely no competition among us, and instead a willingness to share the same goal of having homestead family farms becoming the economic engine of the island.

What does the future look like for your farm? The future is a little fuzzy right now as our papaya grows bigger each day with no firm market. We are planning trips to Canada to try and narrow our market options and hope to be sending out sample shipments by this winter. We still need to develop a logo and web site, but the fact that we have so many options just through conversations with people provides us with the confidence that we will enter the market in good shape and hope to be fully operational by the start of the summer of 2012. With the other farmers, we look to be shipping out 10,000 lbs of papaya and 5,000 lbs of squash and melons each week.

READ the full article here.

Mahalo nui loa to Rick Tamanaha for this interview.Kaleikoa Ohana

Hot Tip from Kaleikoa Farms

Don't ever do it for the money. Do what you are passionate about. It is your passion that will allow you to overcome the mistakes that you will undoubtedly make and barriers and obstacles that await. If you do what you are passionate about, the money will follow!

Oh, also for young adults on Molokai: If you want to farm and are going to a community college for a 2 year degree - get an accounting or business degree. We have the resources right here on the island to teach you all you need to know about agriculture.

Growing Your Business From the Field

Outstanding in Their Field:
Farmer Perspectives on Sustainable Agriculture in Hawai'i

People Profit Planet

Hanai'Ai includes an article in every issue about how a farmer’s operation has become successful over the years. The articles have many great suggestions for new and existing producers. This valuable input is summarized here so our readers can get an overview of what our field experts recommend for everyone interested in sustainable agriculture.

READ the full article here.

FMI: Ted Radovich, Email: theodore@hawaii.edu; Linda Cox, email: lcox@hawaii.edu

Sustainable & Organic Research News

Field Evaluations of Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Resistant Varieties for Commercial Production

Tomato Trials for TYLC Virus resistance

Jari Sugano, Email: suganoj@ctahr.hawaii.edu; Michael Melzer, Email: melzer@hawaii.edu; Archana Pant, Email: apant@hawaii.edu; Ted Radovich, Email: theodore@hawaii.edu; Steve Fukuda, and Susan Migita, Email: migitas@ctahr.hawaii.edu

Tomato yellow leaf curl, caused by Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), is a devastating disease of tomato worldwide and was first detected and identified in commercial tomato plantings around Oahu and Maui in 2009. In 2010, a replicated field trial was conducted at the Poamoho Research station using 11 commercial varieties with putative resistance to TYLCV. The varieties were evaluated based on total marketable yield, total marketable count, grade A yield, grade A count and tolerance to TYLCV. Overall, data indicated variety VT-62940 and VT-62966 had the highest marketable yields followed by Adonis, Tygress, Pik Ripe 461 and Tovi Star.

READ the full article here.

Improving the Status of Sunn hemp as a Cover Crop for Soil Health and Pest Management

Butterfly on sunnhemp

Koon-Hui Wang, Email: koonhui@hawaii.edu; B.S. Sipes, Email: sipes@hawaii.edu; C.R.R. Hooks, Email: crrhooks@umd.edu and James Leary, Email: leary@hawaii.edu

Sunn hemp as a cover crop can meet most of the N, P, K nutrient requirements for many vegetable crops. In addition, sunn hemp leaf extract has been shown to assist in nematode management. However using sunn hemp in a conventional cropping system has limitations. This article summarizes these limitations and provides suggestions to improve the use of sunn hemp as a cover crop for soil health and nematode management.

READ the full article here.

Growing Local Beef Products

veal image

Glen Fukumoto, Email: gfukumot@hawaii.edu and Linda Cox, Email: lcox@hawaii.edu

In March 2011, the Honolulu Magazine ranked Hawaiian Red Veal, which is marketed by the Hawaii Cattle Producers Cooperative Association as "the best local meat" in the State of Hawai‘i. This article highlights the close working relationship with the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR)’s Cooperative Extension Service and the beef industry that has resulted in many ‘industry-driven’ research projects in the area of meat science and technology, which contributed to the development of Hawaiian Red Veal.

READ the full article here.

For more information about CTAHR's research, see CTAHR Research News Magazine and website.

Organic Update

HFBF Organic Symposium

HFBF Organic Symposium

The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation’s (HFBF) Organic Committee organized an Organic Symposium on May 27, 2011, in Mānoa. Three different panels shared information with the 75 people in attendance and answered questions from the audience. The last task accomplished was a brainstorming session to identify issues that need to be addressed in the future for organic agriculture to thrive in Hawaiʻi. This article summarizes the events that occurred at the symposium.

READ the full article here.

Publications & Programs

Most Unwanted Pests in the United States

New from CTAHR

Other Great Resources

This introduction guides those interested in agritourism on O'ahu through the process. Topics include permitting requirements, how to identify and market to your target audience, health and safety for visitors, and resources to get started.

Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands

Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands is a reference book for gardeners and small farmers in the Pacific and throughout the tropics who are interested in new economic opportunities from specialty crops. The new resource book will be released July 2011 and covers 27 important specialty crops, value-added processing, enterprise development, accessing unique markets, sustainable local food production, economic and ecological viability, multi-crop agroforestry systems and local systems with export potential. The book is illustrated with over 940 color images and each chapter highlights a different crop.

Workshops | Conferences | Meetings

The Kokua Hawaii Foundation seeks volunteers to serve as Nutrition Docents or School Garden Docents for their ‘Aina in Schools. Contact Kelly Perry at volunteer@kokuahawaiifoundation.org for more information.

Workshops on breadfruit propagation, tree care and maintenance, economic opportunities, the Hunger Initiative and other topics will be given by experts Dr. Diane Ragone and Ian Cole of the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden.


Lawrence Yamamoto

Director Lawrence T. Yamamoto is retiring July 1st after serving 34 years with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  A graduate of the University of Hawai‘i, he began his career when NRCS used to be the Soil Conservation Service. A strong supporter of locally grown agricultural products and caring for our islands resources, Larry will truly be missed.

Following the retirement of Lawrence T. Yamamoto, the NRCS Chief announced that Angel Figueroa is the newly selected incoming Director of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for the Pacific Islands Area. Mr. Figueroa will take the reins as Director in late July. 

READ the full article here.

The Kohala Center has received funding to hold beginner and intermediate seed-saving workshops over the next two years on five islands. They are looking for seed-savers, farmers, and gardeners across the state to assist with meeting logistics and with hands-on or farm demonstrations. To learn more, contact Hector Valenzuela (hector@hawaii.edu) or Nancy Redfeather (nredfeather@kohalacenter.org).

New landscaping materials, cover crops, and ground covers can become invasive in Hawai‘i. The Weed Risk Assessment for Hawaii and Pacific Islands Website is a tool to help gauge the potential invasiveness of a plant for our local environment.

Funding Opportunities

Since 1992, OFRF’s grantmaking program has awarded more than $1.5 million for over 200 projects. OFRF’s grantmaking objective is to generate practical, science-based knowledge to support modern organic farming systems. OFRF-funded projects emphasize grower-researcher collaboration, studies conducted on-farm and/or in certified organic settings, and outreach of project results.

Western Region Sustainable Agriculture and Education Program (WSARE) WSARE logo

Western SARE Funded Projects 2011

Grant information, profiles of cutting-edge, on-farm research, state and protectorate activities, conference proceedings, videos, books, and much more – it's all available with a click of your mouse at the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program's (SARE) new website: http://westernsare.org.

Learn more about WSARE’s activities in their quarterly newsletter Simply Sustainable.

Since 1988, the WSARE program has been supporting agricultural profitability, environmental integrity and community strength through grants that enable cutting-edge research and education to open windows on sustainability across the West, including Hawaii. The goals of WSARE are:

For more information, please see: https://wsare.usu.edu/ or contact Hawaii WSARE coordinator Dr. Ted Radovich at theodore@hawaii.edu.

This e-publication has been prepared by CTAHR research scientists and extension staff to deliver science-based information about sustainable and organic production systems to serve Hawaii's farming community.

Mahalo nui loa,

Dr. Ted Radovich and Dr. Linda Cox
Jody Smith, e-Extension Manager
Sustainable and Organic Agriculture Program
Cooperative Extension Service
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources