Aloha Oahu Fresh clients! We are very excited to have a delicious and unique bag for you this week. We will be including a new item from Hana Herbs and Flowers on Maui, Hawaiian Fern shoots (pohole). We’ll also have organic starfruit from Poamoho Organic Produce, hydroponic lettuce from Maunawili Greens, Ho Farms tomatoes, & cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes from Pit Farms.
Pohole, or Hawaiian Fern Shoots, are typically eaten with `alaea salt, â€˜alaâ€™akai (Maui onion `aka`akai lau leaf) dried aku, dried he` (octopus) and nioi (Chili pepper).
Ho’io (Hawaii’s edible fern): this recipe comes from a blog by a local girl living in Italy
Sauteed Fresh Shrimp with Fern Shoot and Vine Ripened Tomato Salad This one comes from the Hawaii Farmers’ Market site: scroll most of the way down the page, it’s close to the bottom.
Watercress Pesto Also from the HFBF page, this one is the very last one!
My husband and I saw a sign: â€œLand for Sale.â€ Land in this area of East Maui, Hawaii was very high even in 1982, but this land was one mile off the main road. I went in to talk to the realtor. She said, â€œMy Son will take you up this weekend.â€ Well, it was one of those very rainy weekends and we didnâ€™t get up to see it. But I did say I would see her on Monday. I was just going to pop my head in to say weâ€™d do it the next weekend. She said, â€œI am sorry but I have a man outside who said he would like it. But I told him we had this appointment. If you are not going to take it he will.â€ I knew the price was good, so I said a little prayer and told her I wanted it. â€œWhere do I sign?â€ I signed our life away and went home to tell my husband what I had done. I just brought land weâ€™d never seen.
The road was awful and it was a very thick jungle. It was barely a road, more like a hunting trail. Hunters with dogs came to hunt pigs and gather mountain foods for their families. This road was a â€œline road,â€ Meaning the government came in and drew a line where the road could be. Well, the hunters didnâ€™t follow that pencil line. When I asked the county to help repair the road I was told that they did not physically put the road there, so they were no responsible for it. State said the county owned it. County said the state was responsible.
Lucky for me, my husband could see great potential in the land. We fixed the road with our own four-wheel drive military weapons carrier and with the help of other people that had bought into this mountain.
In the beginning, we had no amenities just a hole for an outhouse. We cleared a 20 X 24 site for a small house. My husband, who had only built chicken coops, was nervous, but I said, â€œHoney, think of it as a slightly bigger chicken coop with windows.â€
Weâ€™re on a water catchments system. We started out with a very small water tank, catching water from the heavens. Since that time we have put up 5,000 and 10,000 gallon water tanks, and this year we put up a big 23,000-gallon tank. Since there was no electricity, we used solar lights and a gas refrigerator. Showering was an adventure. We built a fire under an old hot water tank, and then hooked up some pipes and a showerhead. Butbecause it was outside it proved to be a little tricky when the wind blew. The water would slant left or right, so we spent a lot of time trying to catch the hot water before it ran out.
Wanting to be a â€œstayâ€“at-home Mom,â€ I started a fresh herbs business. This was 24 years ago when fresh herbs were just starting to catch on with the general public. We sent 100 pounds of Basil to Oakland, CA, once a week. My husband Rene` worked full time at a nursery close to home and on weekends we harvested basil. He began to grow tropical flowers, too, and we shipped gift boxes of flowers via FedEx. The basil business was good until free trade with Mexico made prices drop below the cost of shipping, all this in the middle of the growing season.
We were up late one night, having a few drinks, eating Pohole (Maui Fern Shoots) and crying the blues, when Rene` said, â€œWhy donâ€™t we sell this Pohole?â€ at first, we laughed because it grows wild all over this mountain. We tossed it around for about a week then said, â€œWhat the heck, letâ€™s give it a try.â€
That was in 1994, and in the years since then we gotten many hotels and restaurants, to name a few Longhi in Hana Maui, Pineapple Grill, Seahouse, Makenna resort, Feast a LeLe, in most Natural Food stores, Hawaiian moon,Mana Food, Alive and Well and WholeFoods. Along the way we discovered we needed approvals from the Agriculture Department and the FDA. In 1996, we received our Export stamp both Pohole and Flowers. That year we also, lunched our website, www.hanaherbs.com. Two years later, we got into Food & Wine Magazine and on two PBS programs, one with Graham Kerr and other with Roy Yamaguchi.
For those who donâ€™t know Pohole, it is in the family of the fiddlehead fern but prepared very differently. You do not need to cook Pohole; it is best eaten raw or by blanching shoots in boiling water for a fast minute and then quickly immersing them in very cold water. Itâ€™s best served with tomato and onions in a vinegary salad dressing.
In 2002 we were certified organic by the Hawaii Organic Farmers Association.
Congratulations to Hana Herbs and Flowers! We are happy to support them and hope you enjoy this unique produce.