Categorized | Agriculture

HTFG taps supporters of fruit industry

The conference field trip on the Big Island was a plantation visit to Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)


The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers has announced the recipients of its appreciation awards, given annually to supporters of Hawaii’s tropical fruit industry.

They are Chef Stephen Rouelle of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii; Chef George Gomes Jr. of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; Russell Ruderman and Island Naturals; Randyl Rupar of the annual mango and avocado festivals and Dr. Angela Keppler and Frank Rust, authors for the up-and-coming book, “The World of Bananas in Hawaii: Then and Now.”

Recipients were named at the recent 21st Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference that opened at the Keauhou Beach Resort and continued on Oahu, Kauai and Maui. Joining the HTFG board is Ian Cole of Maui and Dave Longacre of East Hawaii.

With the theme, “The Time for Quality and Profitability,” the four gatherings headlined Shree Padre of India. The farmer/journalist is known for his passion for water conservation and rainwater harvesting. He is a specialist in value-added products.

Other presenters, who also met with growers on all four islands, included fig expert Howard Garrison and pomegranate guru Jeff Moresfelder, both of the USDA in Davis, Calif.

The three-day meeting on the Big Isle included a report on “Understanding Risk Management and the Cost of Production” by Dr. Kent Fleming of UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

In addition, there were 12 breakout sessions on topics like Selling to Wholesalers and Ag Tourism; a lively Farmer-Chef Roundtable with members of the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn.; and a sweet plantation tour of the Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory in Keauhou.

On Kauai, attendees visited the National Tropical Botanical Garden to visit with Dr. Diane Ragone, director of HTBG’s Breadfruit Institute.

Other field trips included stops at Kupaa Organic Farm and Pali-o-Waipio on Maui and Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo.

During the roundtable, James Babian, executive chef at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, advised growers to give chefs a weekly market list of fruit available now and in the near future.

“Relationships with growers have allowed us to embrace the use of local products and grow our menu around what’s available,” he said, adding that the use of fresh fruit in beverages is trending.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion.

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