Nohoʻana Farm has graciously accepted our request to host a Slow Food Maui gathering at their taro farm in Waikapū on Saturday, June 18, 2011. This is a free membership event. Full details by March 15th.
Hōkūao Pellegrino and his family have been living on their kuleana land in Waikapū, the first ahupua’a of Na Wai ‘Eha, for over 150 years. The 12 lo’i kalo that they are restoring at Noho’ana Farm are 450 to 500 years old. The Slow Food Maui Farm visit will center around the cultural importance of taro and its link to Hawaiian heritage. Weʻll learn whatʻs required to grow and prepare taro and, for those willing, you may come earlier or stay later to work in the loʻi kalo.
This is a locavore potluck, so bring a dish, preferably locally sourced.
This is also a trash free event. Bring your own plates, cups, utencils, napkins, etc.
About taro (kalo): Defined by heart-shaped, shimmering leaves that quiver on slender blackish stalks, taro, or kalo, remains one of Maui’s most precious crops, providing physical and spiritual nourishment. The staple of ancient Hawaiians, believed to be their ancestor and a vital link to the Hawaiian heritage, throughout the centuries taro has brought communities together in the lo‘i (taro patches) and families around large bowls of poi (smashed, cooked taro corm).
Taro production in the State was estimated at 4 million pounds in 2007, but this statistic hardly illustrates the infinite potential of this hearty, succulent herb, scientifically known as Colocasia Esculente, which knows over 300 varieties worldwide. About 85 varieties are grown in Hawai‘i. The whole plant is edible, and the leaves, or lū‘au, packed with vitamin C, are an essential ingredient in laulau. The non-allergenic starch in taro corms provides fiber and wholesome carbohydrates, as well as minerals such as calcium. Grated, mashed, diced, or sliced, the cooked corm can enrich breads, stews, soups and meat or fish with a nutlike, warm taste. Savoring the rich flavors of taro keeps our roots in island agriculture.
About our host: Hōkūao is an educator with experience at St. Anthony High School, Kamehameha Elementary, Maui Campus and UH-Hilo. He was also an instructor for the Hawaiian Language College at Hilo, teaching Hawaiian Ethnobotany. Hōkūao was also employed as the Cultural Landscape Curator at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi in Hilo. In 2009, Hōkūao was named one of the Maui County Farm Bureauʻs Next Generation Leaders in Agriculture on Maui. He currently works at Kamhemeha Schools Maui as Cultural Resource Coordinator which oversees all Cultural Extension Education Programs on Maui.