Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Farm, Farm Bureau, fish, Fishing, food, Hawaii, hunger | Tags: Agriculture education, american farm bureau federation, beef, Farm Bureau, fish, Food, food distribution, hunger, pork, raising cattle, shrimp industry
On my recent American Farm Bureau Federation trip to Hawaii I got into a few discussions about the food available in paradise. When we are in such a lush area we may think that getting food would be no problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First off you have to remember that Hawaii has a limited amount of land that is suitable for farming. Much of the big island of Hawaii is covered in lava rock and has trouble supporting a goat. The areas that are in production are mostly for raising cattle. The largest cattle ranch in the United States is in Hawaii. Little of the island is either suitable, or gets enough rainfall for production of food.
While on Oahu we drove past large areas that do get enough rainfall, and do have good soil for food production, but these areas are fallow. Since sugarcane and pineapple production moved to other countries where labor is cheaper, no one wants to farm the land.
Hawaiian acres that are farmed are mostly used for the production of high cost items like coffee and macadamia nuts. There are areas that seed companies use to get a winter crop of corn or soybeans, but again these are high value crops. Very few are raising the staples needed for everyday life. There is an abundance of tropical flowers, but most flowers cannot be eaten.
You would think there would be an abundance of fresh seafood in Hawaii as they have a tradition of farming the sea. The shrimp industry is supplied by many farm raised shrimping operations, as well as both fresh and salt water ponds for fish production. Most of these are sold to tourists at roadside seafood shacks.
But my conversation with a chef in one of the larger restaurants in Honolulu showed me some cracks in the food supply.
- Despite having the largest cattle ranch in the country, there is nowhere to process these cattle. Cattle must leave the island to be processed, so there is no major source of locally grown beef.
- The islands large chinese population eats a lot of pork, but there are no large pork producers on the islands, and pork must be sourced elsewhere.
- While Hawaii seems to be a fisher mens paradise, most of the fish eaten in Honolulu is shipped from other countries.
- Despite the large amount of vegetables used in cuisine for those who like the oriental cooking preferred by so many in Hawaii, most is imported.
- Rice, a stable in most of the meals eaten in the islands, is not grown here.
The list goes on. In short, Hawaii is a land on the edge. One person I talked to estimated that there was enough food on the islands to last 5 days, perhaps less in the more populated regions. Wow, what will it take to put Hawaii over the edge, not much. In fact, Hawaii, like most other large cities in the world cannot survive long if we have a major transportation problem.
Our modern world has become so dependent on so few to be sure it is fed everyday. A shortage of transportation fuels would doom so many unprepared people. I live in an area of abundance of food, yet a large snowstorm can decimate the shelves of the local grocery.
Hawaii and its food supply is a warning. Where is your next meal coming from. Are you sure there will be food to eat if something happens to our food distribution system.
Filed under: Hawaii, rain, travel | Tags: garden, Hawaii, Honolulu, memorial, Oahu, rain, water
OK, so after three trips to the island of O’ahu, and several people asking me what they thought should be seen, I decided to put together a top picks list. All of these are on any major tourist map of the island, but few of these are “commercial” tourist stops. Most require a fee to enter or at least park, but not all. Note, finding places in Hawaii is not always easy. Roads are narrow, traffic is a mess, and many really good sites are on the end of dead end roads.
Since many of these are from past trips I did not include photos. Check back to earlier posts. I did not feel I needed to cover all of them again.
Many place names seem the same. Wai, in any name means fresh water, Kai, means salt water. With water being such a large part of Hawaiian culture it is no wonder that it figures into so many place names.
Yes, I have ranked them according to the ones you MUST see and those you should see. There are many other wonderful places to visit, not all of them famous, spend some time and explore. Get off of the beach.
10) Makapu’u Point – On the eastern end of the Island of O’ahu, this overlook could be a place to see whales in season. When the weather is nice you can see several of the islands to the east of O’ahu. There is a parking lot and a paved trail to the overlook. I’ve been past here, but not to the top. It’s a reason I need to go back.
9) Lanikai and Kailua Beaches – On the north east side of the island, this is a really great beach. It has none of the hype of Waikiki, and is not easy to get to, but worth the trip. This is where the locals go.
Take a jacket and hang on to your hat. When the ocean breeze meets the mountains you can have a real wind here. The over look can be reached from the Pali Highway as you cross the island from Honolulu to Kailua and Lanikai. I’ve visited this site every trip to the island.
The site of a famous battle for the union of the Kingdom of Hawaii under one ruler, the cliff face looks north towards the side of O’ahu that many tourists never see.
7) Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. If you want to snorkel with the fishes, this is the place. Sorry, I’ve never been here, I’m just going on reports of those who have been here. Another reason I need to make another trip.
6) Iolani Palace -
The only royal palace in the United States, come here to find out how this noble Victorian Era Kingdom was run and prospered until some of the influential Anglos decided to take over. At one time this palace looked out over the harbor, now buildings and fill have moved it far inland and hide the sea from its windows. After the death of the queen it was used for government offices, but it has now been restored and has many of the original furnishings and artwork. Check out some of the other buildings in the area, you may see some you recognize from movies and TV shows.
5) The National Cemetery of the Pacific, aka The Punch Bowl
You’ve seen this statue if you ever saw a commercial for the TV series Hawaii 5-0. Situated in an old volcanic crater, this memorial to the dead of WWII and the Korean Conflict is a place that needs some time.
The stunning mosaics of the major battles of the Pacific are worth the trip alone. Do wander around and see all of the sights. Don’t miss the walkway to the Honolulu overlook.
4) Diamond Head – The first travelers here saw the reflection of light off of this extinct volcano and thought it was covered in Diamonds. Do find your way around to the tunnel and parking lot inside. It’s a bit of a hike to the top, but the view of the city and the reefs out in the ocean are worth it. Don’t stop at the first view port, crawl through and continue the trail to the top.
3) The Bishop Museum – You’ll need time to explore this place. Just the museum of Polynesian artifacts can take the whole day. Displays include a whale hanging in the main hall, and displays of everything from flowers to clothing making. There are five buildings here, try to make at least two.
2) Waimea Valley – For flower lovers everywhere, you need to visit here. On the north west side of the island, this one is about as far from Honolulu as you can get. While Honolulu gets only inches of rainfall, this valley gets feet. Bring a raincoat, umbrella and perhaps a swimsuit to swim in the pool at the top of the valley. You will wander through an amazing amount of Pacific Island flora. There is a wide variety of birds flitting and walking around the grounds. You’ll need hours to get just an overview of the place. The restaurant has an interesting menu, enjoy.
1) Pearl Harbor Historic Sites – Everyone knows about the USS Arizona Memorial. It’s a free tour out to the memorial for which you need to pick up your tickets in advance. If you are not on a guided tour, you should be there early in the morning to be sure of a shuttle time. While you wait for your shuttle you can visit the memorial to submarines, look at old rockets and torpedoes or visit the USS Bowfin, a WWII sub. There is also a new visitors center where you can learn all about the attack on Pearl Harbor. On nearby Ford Island you can visit the USS Missouri where the war with Japan ended.
Well, there you have it, my top ten. This is by no means a complete list of places to visit on the island. I did not include Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church where my daughter acquired her Hawaiian family, or Waikiki beach, where the tourists usually outnumber the locals at all hours of the day. There are any number of commercial enterprises that want to take your money for “once in a lifetime” events. I could have told you about the convention center or the shopping malls or any of a number of parks, the aquarium or the zoo. I did not include such eating places as the north shore shrimp and seafood shacks, the mac nut farm, or the ranch. I could have told you about the highest grossing restaurant in the islands, Duke’s, or the neighborhood BBQ’s where most Hawaiians go for a quick meal. There are hiking trails and climbing areas, mountains and forests, hunting and farming. There is so much more here than Waikiki. I hope you get out and see some of it.
Filed under: Farm Bureau, Hawaii, travel | Tags: american farm bureau federation, beach, beaches, Farm Bureau, hike, Oahu, oahu hawaii, overlook, travel
My recent trip to Honolulu for the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention was my third trip in the last three years. With a daughter living there I have a local tour guide to show me around. Although I have seen some of the usual sights, I’ve also been able to visit some out-of-the-way places too. You see, the locals do not spend their time at Waikiki beach. It is far from the best beach on the island of Oahu, much less the whole state, and yet many come to Hawaii and never see anything more than Waikiki. A beach in Hawaii cannot be owned, it is public property. Even in the most expensive housing areas, openings must be left so that anyone can walk down to the Pacific to surf, fish or sit in the sun. If you have a multi-million dollar home, you will usually have a fence between you and the beach. I’m going to show you a few of the places I visited this last trip, some beaches, some not, some famous, some not, but all Oahu, Hawaii.
First of all you have to realize that Honolulu is squeezed between the mountains and the sea. There is not a lot of place to put the city. It has a good harbor which is what helped the city grow in this place. The Kings of Hawaii had their favorite spot here, but it is now so overfilled that there is no sign of the wonderful beaches that kings and their families once played on.
All of these hotels are built on fill. Even the sand is hauled in, they were bringing in more when I was there. Waikiki is almost all artificial these days. The waves are gentle and the temperatures are great, hotels and marinas crowd the edge of the Pacific.
This is a sight many come to Waikiki for, sundown on the beach, this one is from the terrace of one of the more famous watering holes, Duke’s. The beach was crowded, the music was loud and the wait for a table was about an hour and a half.
The next night we snapped this one from a eatery in the marina area called the Shorelander. Again a beautiful tropical sunset. Fewer people because there was no sand.
Here’s a small neighborhood park that is hard to find. It’s on a dead-end street, there is no parking, it’s difficult to walk to, but it is no less spectacular. Getting to the ocean is not the plan here. Spending time surf side is the reason, and when the waves are right….
The waves this day were mere three footers. It would be interesting to be here when the surf was really up.
Here’s my guide at another out-of-the-way park. There are hiking trailheads all over the place. Most are way back in the neighborhoods with no parking. This popular hiking trail was busy with families and young singles. The views were excellent.
Here’s the beginning of the hike. It’s not very promising is it. It’s steep, it’s rough, and it is not well maintained, but look at what comes once you get above the trees.
Stop and catch your breath, this is the first pillbox, it is not our destination. It’s straight down if you go left, and a long tumble if you go right. This is considered an easy hike by the young ladies who were showing me the path.
Rare flowers can be hiding where you least expect them.
Do you blame these young ladies for making the hike, the view is wonderful, and a breeze takes away the sweat from your hike. It only took about 20 minutes to get here. That’s Lanikai down on the beach, and Kaneohe off in the distance.
Here’s a nice little beach that doesn’t get much traffic. It is a favorite of ours since you access it from Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church.
The view towards the mountains from the beach here is not as well known as the one the other way.
Most of the beaches on the windward (northeast) side have a long ways out to the reef. The area from Chinaman’s Hat to Kaneohe is a large bay that is a local playground.
This picture from the Pali Overlook shows much more open land on the Windward side (north) than you see near Honolulu (south). There are even larger areas of open space on the west side of the island where all of the pineapple and sugarcane fields used to be.
On the right side of the picture you can see the island where they filmed the TV series Gilligan’s Island. It’s easy to walk to the island, not at all a remote place.
There are many more beaches on Oahu than the kiddie pool that is Waikiki. Next time you are in the islands check out a few. Most have a lot more sand and a lot fewer people than Waikiki. Do look for notices of danger spots. There are beaches here that only daredevils use. Stop awhile to appreciate the natural beauty. Ask about local eating spots and seafood shacks. Check out Shave Ice. Perhaps you can even get your Shave Ice at President Obama’s favorite spot. Perhaps one of the locals will show you the real Hawaii that is so near yet so far from Waikiki.
Filed under: Ag education, Ag promotion, Animal care, Farm, Farm Bureau, Hawaii, Minnesota, Politics, travel, weather | Tags: Agriculture education, american farm bureau federation, biofuels, Corn, farm, Farm Bureau, farm bureau federation, Food, friends, Hawaii, hawaii convention center, machines, Minnesota, politics
it’s 2012, the time has come again for the American Farm Bureau Federation to meet in Honolulu, and this year I decided to take advantage of the fact. Now I’m not a delegate or an exhibiter so I’m not getting my way paid by anyone, but I am a Farm Bureau Member and I do have a daughter who lives in the Aloha state, so I had at least two reasons to go.
As with any organization there were meetings for the whole group and meeting for special groups, like the Minnesota Breakfast for the about 100 of us from Minnesota, or the County Presidents Luncheon which I attended.
There were also breakout sessions on subjects that members might find interesting like these;
- Food and Farm Facts, Navigating Waves of Change in Advocacy and Agriculture Literacy
- American Farmer: Heart of Our Country
- Election 2012
- 2012 Farm Bill
- It’s Not What You Say, It’s What They Hear
- Business Development
- 2012 Crops Outlook Conference
- 2012 Livestock Outlook Conference
- Asia in the Present and Future of U.S. Agricultural Trade
- Celebrating Differences:How to Capitalize on Diversity in Times of Change
- Protecting your Estate:Essential Questions to ask your Estate Planning Professional
- Operating in and Era of Hyper Regulation
- Farm to Table, Aloha Style
Whew, I only had time to get to three of those, I wanted to go to many more.
All of this was held in the Hawaii Convention Center in Ala Moana neighborhood of Honolulu.
The Hawaii Convention Center is a four level combination of open air spaces and closed meeting rooms with all that the over 6000 farm folks could want, and plenty of space to do it in. The exhibiter area was large, There were multiple areas for breakout sessions and meetings as well as banquets and grab a quick meal areas. Several restaurants were just across the street.
The beauty of Hawaii is that the temperatures are usually good. Closed rooms usually have air conditioning, but all hallways are open to allow the out doors in. Dress code for Farm Bureau conventions is Business Casual, but in Hawaii casual is the Sunday-go-to-meeting-norm, a Hawaiian shirt is dressed up. To Hawaiians we were over dressed.
Inside and out the building was beautiful. Even from the back, everything was designed to welcome. This water wall was hidden away where few conventioneers had to go.
I expect that in about ten years the American Farm Bureau Federation will be back again to visit the Aloha State.
Filed under: cold, Farm Bureau, Hawaii, travel | Tags: american farm bureau federation, family, Farm Bureau, farm bureau federation, grilled cheese sandwiches, Hawaii, home, honolulu hawaii, sick, tomato soup, travel
Home! It really is a great word. It’s the place we long for, and always seek to be in the end. When we get sick, there is no place like home.
This last week I had the opportunity to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. It’s a bit of a trip and not one of the cheapest convention sites, but I have a daughter there so this year I went.
I arrived Thursday evening, Em met me at the airport, and we went off to eat. I got settled into my room and tried to sleep. Now my plane landed at what for me would have been 9:30 p.m. so I should have been tired, but the “not home” bed and the noise of a city that is very late to quiet down kept me from getting a good nights sleep. I took a morning walk, and before having lunch got some cough drops for a bit of a sore throat.
The next nights were not much better. Yes, I went to all of my meetings, I had a good time meeting and getting to know new people, but my body was in rebellion. I never did get a good nights sleep the whole time I was there, and the cough got worse. I don’t think I ever slept for over 4 hours straight the whole time I was there. Although food smells good, I can only eat a small amount and every restaurant portion is HUGH, each day I’m eating less. I’m starting to run a low grade fever. A trip to the drug store for some stronger cough, cold medicine didn’t help much. Here I am in paradise and I getting sicker by the day.
Wednesday, the last day, I pack up, check out, and call Em to come take me to a doctor. This day that was to be my last chance to see the sights and I’m seeing a doctor! Prognosis, don’t know. Em took me to her place where I got some sleep. Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for lunch, ah, comfort food.
The flight out is late, 9:40 and I’ve been in bed by that time most nights. I try to sleep some when we are in the air, and must have, but I don’t remember it. Before we got to LA I had the chills so bad I got a jacket out of my bag, I was COLD. We had a two hour layover in LA and all I wanted to do was sleep. Got some food for breakfast, a bagel and a banana, I was full after the banana. The flight into MSP arrives just before noon. Beth picks me up at the airport. I was traveling light so no checked luggage. She takes me to her place where I have a light lunch and sleep.
Now, I’m home. I’m still not feeling the best, but a full nights sleep did help. After breakfast, I went to sleep again. I feel like I might make it. I spent some time outside, wrestled our new water heater into the house, and am taking some time to write.
It’s GOOD to be HOME!
Filed under: family, garden, Hawaii, school, summer, travel | Tags: children, farm, garden, school, summer
We’ve been blessed with our youngest daughters presence for a few weeks this summer, but that is coming to an end. School children in Hawaii will soon report to class and the teachers need to be ready. With that in mind our baby is heading back to Honolulu.
Youngest has been spending her summer mowing lawn, picking garden produce and catching up with friends and family. Her sister and brother will arrive tonight for their last goodbyes, and a trip to see the grandparents is planned. Then it will be off to the islands until Christmas.
Both excitement and sorrow are part of living and working so far from home. She really misses her kids and is looking forward to see how much they have changed in the last months. The distance from family is a challenge. Thank God for Skype and cell phones.
Many changes come in our life and the departure of children is a bitter sweet one. We are lucky to have happy, employed children. We know we cannot keep them forever. They have flown from the nest and now are making it on their own. That’s a fact of life.
A very common comment I hear is how expensive things are in Hawaii, and that can include food. But it doesn’t have to. With a little research you can eat well in Honolulu or anywhere on the islands for not much more than on the mainland.
I’m not much of a fan for hotel restaurants. No matter where they are, they can be expensive, but not always. Your best bet for finding good food at a reasonable cost is to buy a guide book on Hawaii and look through it for places to eat. If you find a place that says something like “The locals eat here,” check it out.
We came across one of our finds on food in one such place. On a busy street corner in Waikiki is a restaurant that the locals stop at for breakfast. It was there we discovered coconut pancake syrup. Every trip to the islands now means we need a resupply.
Fish and Chips in Hawaii is a wonderful easy meal. This is fish and chips in the British model with a Hawaiian twist. The fish usually is the catch of the day. We had tuna as our fish in one small roadside cafe that was really wonderful. I ate fish and chips three times in a week and had a different fish each time.
Little roadside cafes may not be much to look at, but can have some really wonderful food. Take a chance on them. Food from a road side BBQ or Shrimp shack will give you a great chance to try local food. Stop by and take your meal to the beach.
Rice is a staple in Hawaii. A “Plate Lunch” meal will come with rice where we on the mainland would expect potatoes. A plate lunch is usually large enough for one very hungry person, or two who don’t want so much.
The Asian influence in food is everywhere. Sushi and other food choices we think of as Asian are very common. Octopus and squid can be found in small corner grocery stores.
Barbeque in Hawaii usually means Kalua pork. This is the pit cooked whole hog that you see at luaus. It can be served with many different BBQ sauces making it different at each location.
Leonard’s Bakery, several blocks inland from Waikiki on Kapahulu, is the place to go for breakfast baked goods. Be sure to try one of their varieties of molosada’s, a portuguese donut that is really good.
Farmers markets in Hawaii are well worth the visit. There is one every Saturday on a college campus near Diamond Head that you need to check out. Expect to walk, as nearby parking is limited. Come hungry and sample your way up one row and down the next. This is not the place for cheap eats, but is a way to taste much of what the islands have to offer. Food will vary season to season, but not much. After all, this is paradise.
Above all be willing to try new things. Fresh fruits and veggies are available here that are not found elsewhere. The laid back attitude of Hawaii does not apply to their food. There is lots to choose from and so many places to get it in.
On our last full day on Oahu we headed north out of Honolulu on 99 and then 83 to the Waimea valley. This 1800 acre site is a repository of Hawaiian culture, plants and wildlife. It’s also a place where plants from through out the Pacific islands are on display.
The wet leaves of plants all have a different sheen when wet. Some leaves had trapped water in their leaves.
In some cases what looked like a flower was actually colored leaves. When they had a flower coming out of the colored leaves the effect was dramatic.
The bottom of the valley gets much more rainfall than the mountains above. This makes for some dramatic changes in plants from the valley floor to the rim of the valley.
As you go further Ma Uka (towards the mountains) you reach the Waihi, the Waimea Falls.
The distance from the entry to the falls is about three quarters of a mile on a paved path. At the falls there is a changing house and a life guard so that you can swim in the pond at the bottom of the falls. Many come just for the swimming area.
There are many walking paths off of the main path that are not as easy to walk, but they are well worth the effort. Signs near many of the plants help you understand where they came from, and if they were hybrids produced by man.
Check out the Waimea Grill and the book store. The grill has an interesting menu that is better than many of the smaller restaurants on the coast.
Although it is a ways from the main tourist areas at Honolulu this is a must see sight. The wonderful flowers and wildlife make this an area of interest for many. Make a point to visit the Waimea Valley when you are on Oahu.
If you have any interest in the history of Hawaii, you have to visit the Bishop. If you would like to learn about other islands of the Pacific, you should visit the Bishop. If you would like to see Hawaiian or contemporary art, you must visit the Bishop. If you are interested in the sports figures of Hawaii, you should visit the Bishop. If you are interested in how to steer by the stars, you need to visit the Bishop.
I had read about the Bishop Museum in my guide book and decided to visit one afternoon. I could have spent all day. I spent four hours in the Hawaiian hall and did not finish the exhibit in that room and it’s balconies. In short, it is a wonderful place.
I would recommend that everyone take the time to visit the Bishop Museum. If you get a chance, plan on more than one visit.
Diamond head towers over Honolulu. It’s hard to miss. Because of that many directions on Oahu are given as toward or away from Diamond head.
We started our hike up Diamond Head in what we thought was early in the morning, but the parking lot only had a few spaces left. The path was already full of people.
The path starts out easy, and steadily gets more difficult. This a fairly easy hike, but not for anyone who is not in decent shape. Most of the hike is on a switch back trail, just wide enough to allow two people to pass. As you near the top you start up a long stairway, then a tunnel, then a spiral staircase. This takes you to the observation room used by the spotters in charge of cannon protecting Pearl Harbor. Your next step is to crawl through the spotters view port.
Around the corner, and up a few more feet and you are on the upper observation deck. A very crowded and not very big observation area. The view is wonderful.
The view down on the ocean was great. I spent some time checking out a scuba diver fishing on the reef.
The hike is long, and not that easy. The view is great. Have patience once you reach the top and on the trail. The area is popular and could be crowded. I think they control the crowd on the trail by the size of the parking lot. The trail can be crowded, but the view is worth it.