Welcome to our “Hawaii Grown Fruit of the Month” Blog series. Hawaii is an amazing place to have an adventure. Wherever we go and whatever we do there is always a first time and a first impression. Experiencing new foods is no exception. There is some pretty unique looking fruit available on the islands, I encourage you to explore the fun and exciting realm of exotic fruit. This blog is new to 2019, to learn more about last month’s featured fruit, Lilikoi, click here.
The first time I had papaya I was very young, and to me it tasted terrible. Years later I tried it again and meh. I didn’t love it but knowing it was healthy – I ate it. Then, I got to Hawaii and re-discovered Papaya to be one of my favorites. The point I am making is that our taste buds change and no two fruits, even from the same tree, taste exactly the same. As far as knowing what to expect, know this, papaya can be pretty inconsistent. Please let me share some of what I have learned about papaya.
What is Papaya:
Papaya fruits vary greatly in shape, size, and flavor. They can be round or oblong and weigh between 1/4 pound and 12 pounds.
When to Harvest Papaya:
Papaya is a fast growing plant that is easily grown from seed. Some varieties will reach 30’ in height and provide fruit in as soon as 6 months. One plant will produce almost year round for up to 3 years at which time the plant will become so tall that harvesting will no longer be convenient. For this reason it is important to continue planting those seeds in order to maintain a consistent rotation of delicious papayas.
How to eat Papaya:
The papaya should be firm and give slightly to pressure. Cut the papaya in half long ways. Scoop the seeds out. You can eat the seeds, they have a peppery flavor and are great for digestion. The papaya can be eaten with a spoon using the skin as a bowl or peeled and cut into slices or chunks. Compost the skin, and eat, blend or plant the seeds. Enjoyable blended in smoothies or on its own.
There are several varieties of papaya and often even 2 papaya from the same tree will taste different. This is one of those foods that may need to be tried and tried again because you never know what you are going to get. If your papaya tastes a little to flowery, squeeze some lime juice over the fruit. Mmmm, delicious! Read more »
Whether you live on Maui or are here on vacation the farmer’s market is something worth exploring. If you come to Maui for vacation be sure to include the farmer’s market as a must do activity, especially if you are a foodie like me. Not sure? Read on, give me a chance to convince you that there is a reason the farmer’s market is the place the locals really go.
1. No Carbon Footprint – Almost no fossil fuels are used in transportation of local produce to the farmer’s market. Maui is about 2,400 miles from the Mainland. Fuel consumption for food to travel by air cargo from the Mainland to Maui creates an obscene carbon footprint compared to the 15 minute drive from Kula to Pukalani in a van or pick-up truck.
No packaging! If produce is needing to be bundled, take kale or chard for example, some of the Maui farmers use the biodegradable stringy material from a banana tree to create bundles. Brilliant! Bring your own basket or bag. In fact, bring more bags than you think you will need. I often have to make two trips back and forth to my car because I find so many amazing things to try. And I have a family of only two! Read more »
Fruits and vegetables are only as good as the soil in which they grow. Back in the old days the soil contained more minerals and nutrients. Plants don’t create their own nutrients, they take it from the soil. Eventually the soil runs low of nutrients, that is why it is so important to put organic nutrients back into the soil. Composting is especially beneficial when farming on land that is repeatedly being used to grow food crops.
Most households generate a generous amount of compost every day. The kitchen produces an abundance of Coffee Grounds, Tea grounds, Egg Shells, Banana Peels and many other fruit and veggie scraps. When deciding to compost you can make it as complicated or as simple as you want. For the sake of this blog I will share three of the simplest ways that I know.
1. Dig a hole and throw it in. Either cover the hole with dirt or an upside down trash can to keep critters and pets out of it.
2. Start a pile. The beginning of the pile can be grass clippings, small sticks and twigs and then garden waste. If you want to make better but more complicated compost, add some dirt from the yard to the pile. This way is likely to attract rats so keep this away from your home. In the spirit of being a good neighbor, this is not an option unless you live on a couple of acres.
3. Make a large compost basket. This can be done by building a frame on top of a pallet. and wrapping the frame with a wire mesh. Chicken wire works and is a more affordable option as opposed to a hardware cloth. Read more »
From a very young age children in Hawaii are taught a very important concept called Kokua.
Kokua is the word the people of Hawaii use to describe the spirit of kindness accompanied by a desire to help one another, without expecting anything in return.
Showing consideration and kindness towards others in the community without expecting anything in return is part of what makes life on Maui so satisfying. This is Kokua.
Whether you were born here, transplanted here or just stopping by for a visit you are part of the Maui community.
To learn other Hawaiian words visit our blog titled Everyday Hawaiian Words and Phrases.
Here are 3 examples of ways to practice Kokua: Read more »
Maui is a wonderful island to visit. It is exotic, tropical, and easy going. For people coming from Mainland USA, visiting the islands is an amazing opportunity to experience and learn about another culture without the confusion of learning another language or trying to make heads or tails of an entirely foreign alphabet. Many languages are spoken in Hawaii.
The two “official” languages, if we can call it that, are Hawaiian and English, we will also share a little bit of information on Pidgin, an unofficial, yet prevalent language. While you do not need to speak Hawaiian to enjoy your time here, becoming familiar with a few common Hawaiian words and phrases will only add to your understanding of the beautiful culture and way of life on Hawaii.
In the Hawaiian language a word may have several meanings or a single Hawaiian word could be used to convey a complex feeling or emotion depending on the surrounding context. Understanding a few Hawaiian words will make your time in the islands more enjoyable.
The Hawaiian alphabet, aka piapa, has 12 letters.
Five Vowels (A,E,I,O U) and Seven Consonants (H,K,L,M,N,P W).
The ‘Okina (‘) can be counted as the 13th letter, it marks a sound break, sounds like the break in airflow when in English saying uh-oh.
a sounds like ah as in aloha
e sounds like ay or eh as in say
i sounds like ee as in bee
o sounds like oh as in open
u sounds like oo as in boo. Read more »
The following post is an opinion written by me Erika Hampton. It may not reflect those of ConsciousMaui.com or its affiliates.
Often I am asked why people on Maui work so many jobs. It is common in my experience on the island to have one person hold down 3 jobs. For example, one might be working a retail job during a couple of days during the week, while waiting tables at a restaurant on the weekend and preparing live orchids for retailers a couple of mornings a week. Once a person has attempted to become part of the workforce on Maui, they will see that there are many employers hiring for only two days a week. A quick search on Craigslist and you will see this in black and white.
There is more than one reason to explain why so many residents work multiple jobs.
Reason number 1. Maui is expensive. Housing, Food, Clothing, Vehicle, Vehicle registration, fuel etc.
Reason number 2. Health Insurance, this takes more explanation so, fasten your seat-belts.
Why so much of a need for part time help?
Employers are required by the State of Hawaii to offer health insurance for their “regular” employees. “Regular” employees are those that work more than 20 hours per week and may earn a monthly wage of 86.67 times the minimum wage. As of January 1, 2018 the minimum wage is $10.10 X 86.67 = $875.37 per month. The employee health insurance benefit goes into effect after the 4th consecutive, 20 hour work week. Under the HPHCA, Hawaii Paid Healthcare Act, an approved prepaid health insurance plan must be provided by an employer to a “regular” employee who worked more than 20 hours per week for 4 consecutive weeks. Health Insurance does not include Dental or Vision coverage plans (those are an extra, usually to the worker). Read more »
Spraying weeds is an ongoing event. The chemicals being sold are of questionable safety and effectiveness. The weeds get all frizzled up and appear dead for a short time and then before you know it – they’re back. These chemicals cost a lot of money and depending on who you ask many answers will be given in regards to their effect on humans and the environment. The ‘Ohi’a forest is being affected by fungus that is causing large numbers of trees to die. it is unknown what roll landscape chemicals play in this event. Here are a few chemical free ways to keep weeds and cane grass under control while ensuring that the garden is a safe place for the keiki (children) and pets to play.
1. Bamboo leaves as mulch –
Bamboo leaves make an excellent weed barrier, not much other than bamboo will find its way up through a good thick layer of bamboo leaves. Also, bamboo leaves allow water to pass through, while preventing evaporation, allowing moisture to remain in the soil longer.
2. Old fashioned weed pulling by hand –
Pull the weeds by hand. It is very meditative and effective. Weeds can be composted adding more organic matter to the soil, great for the earthworms; healthy earthworms = healthy soil.
3. Hire a few chickens –
Not only will chickens remove every weed in your yard and your neighbors yard, they will thank you by giving you eggs. Chicken weed removal crews are great multi-taskers. While scratching up weeds these feathered exterminators are eating up your less desired bugs, you know the ones; the roaches, grubs and centipedes. Chickens are intelligent enough to know not to mess with the bees. Chickens can’t catch dragonflies. They will try to chase down a butterfly though and it is hilarious. Got a centipede problem, get chickens. Centipedes are a delicacy to chickens. The birds will actually work as a team taking turns pecking at the centipede until it is dead, then one lucky lady will run off with her prize. Thus lessening the chances for centipede pinches while taking care of the garden. However, you will need to put a fence around anything you do not want the chickens to destroy.
The Sacred trees of the ʻŌhiʻa forests of Hawaii and now Kauai are dying off in large numbers. These trees…
What if the herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and fertilizers being used are causing the problem for the ʻŌhiʻa?
When visiting the Corporate owned hardware stores, have you ever noticed that there is an entire aisle dedicated to poisons for the garden. There is also an entire section of fertilizers, many are synthetic chemical fertilizers. Each one of these products contain a different combination of chemicals. Let’s just ponder the ingredients in herbicide products for a moment. Two different herbicide brands can have two completely different active chemical ingredients.
Is it rational to consider that there could be an unwanted synergistic effect happening between any combination of man made chemicals causing certain species to thrive in the absence of another. Or visa versa. It is definitely worth looking into. But who will look into it. One must admit, having the manufacturer of such products investigate themselves does create some temptation to be dishonest in order to keep profits up and shareholders happy.
Let’s also consider for a moment that the Earth herself is made up of her own countless naturally occurring chemicals, chemical combinations, and temperatures variances. Is it even possible to test in a lab the effects of a man made chemical when introduced to an environment full of unknown “surprises”. What if man made chemical “A” mixes with the chemistry in the sap of a plant. What then? Does this new chemical combination support the life of a new strain of fungi that can wipe out an entire forest? We just don’t know and can not rule it out yet. Read more »
The ʻŌhiʻa trees (Metrosideros polymorpha), make up approximately 80 percent of the Hawaiian rainforest canopy. The forest’s canopy filters sunlight and disperses large raindrops into a mist so the moisture arrives on the forest floor more gently not causing damage to delicate plant life down below.
Additionally, these tall canopy trees and their root systems direct water into the ground. Since ʻŌhiʻa trees are much less thirsty than many other plants, they allow much of the rain that falls to pass by them and end up in the aquifer. The birds are nourished by the flowers and the rough bark is home to tiny bugs, lizards and plant-life, like orchids and moss.
In 2010 on Big Island, Hawaii, in Puna specifically, residents in that area began to notice that the ʻŌhiʻa trees were dying in their yards and surrounding areas. Hundreds of thousands of native ʻŌhiʻa trees began dying across tens of thousands of acres.
In 2014, the culprit of this die off was discovered to be a fungus, tentatively known at the time as Ceratocystis fimbriata. This fungus already has a reputation around the world for causing problems for coffee, cacao, and mango plants. It’s worth noticing because all three of these crops are being grown on Hawaii’s Big Island and on Maui.
Later still, in what was referred to by researcher scientists as “a surprise twist,” it was discovered that there are two kinds of Ceratocystis fungi attacking the ʻŌhiʻa, neither previously known by scientist,s until the ʻŌhiʻa forest began to die.
What if the the chemicals farmers are spraying to kill weeds are also killing helpful bacteria, bacteria that protect the soil from fungus. I came across some research that indicated just that. The article states, “Farmers fighting weeds with herbicide” may also be unintentionally killing bacteria that benefit the soil and guard against fungus, new research suggests.” There has to be a better way.
In addition to the fungi problem scientists have confirmed that the fungus killing the forest is being assisted by a non native Ambrosia beetle. The beetle eats the wood and the fungus, carrying the unwanted fungus to other trees. The waste of the beetle has been tested by scientists and shown to contain 62 percent of the Ceratocytis lukuohia fungus DNA.
Since these two fungi were first discovered in Hawai’i, Hawaiian names were given to reflect what is happening to the ʻŌhiʻa tree. Read more »