Back to School Meals Made Easy

I can eat purple sweet potatoes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! And today I did just that, back to the weekday routine of full days of farm, institute, and family.  It is full on here at HIP Ag, preparing for the internship, strengthening the team cohesiveness through meetings, communications, and council, plus prioritizing the list of to-do’s. Did I mention taking care of my three children too? GOOD thing I pressure cooked a pot of whole sweet potatoes last night!

The only sweet potatoes that all my children will eat are the purple ones.  I ask Cyrus, “will you eat them in your lunch with butter?” He replies, “Yes, I will eat them in my lunch WITH butter.” “Yes!,” I think to myself, one meal that I can pack for my kids school lunch with little effort, but with the greatest reward as a mom on a mission to pack healthy and tasty lunches. (It is not easy, especially when other kids at school are accustomed to Costco organic snacks and sandwiches. I bet it is tricky, too, having a mom that puts foods in your lunch that aren’t like everyone else’s!  Cyrus has confided in me that he is embarrassed when friends come over and they do not want/like to eat the foods we eat like cheesy cassava bread, fried plantains, kalo pizza, or blue corn muffins that are actually yellowish from turmeric. I continue to set the bar for ‘ai pono in the home, but I also feel that I need to balance it with American foods so that my kids do not reject it altogether. As with everything, I am continually seeking balance.

I hope you enjoy, and are inspired by all the simple ways that our family has consumed sweet potatoes!

 1. Pre cook whole the sweet potatoes in a steam basket or bake.  If you plan to have extra throughout the week, whole potatoes will last longer, compared to ones that have been sliced and cooked (more open surface area, more room for bacteria to grow).

2. Warm with butter wedged in the middle and a dash of sea salt.

3. Cold and cut to resemble an ice cream cone.

4. Sliced and pan fried on the skillet with coconut oil.

5. Spanish Tortilla: cook onions and add diced sweet potato. Add whisked egg to cover, allow to cook by covering pan. Add cheese at end to melt, if desired.

6. Again, sliced with butter on top. 

7. Treat it like a baked potato, and have several toppings for the keiki to choose from: sour cream, sprouts, furikake, nutritional yeast, garlic chives, steamed vegetables…. 


Kumari enjoying sweet potato special #4.

I am grateful for organic sweet potatoes grown in Kohala, thank you Dillon Trumpy for continuing to grow these.  Conventional sweet potato production involves fungicides and pesticides, I know this having spoken with farmers that have worked on these farms in Hawaii. Sweet potatoes are prone to nematodes and disease if crops are not properly rotated and amended.  

Wishing you all the best for organic fresh local foods!

Introducing the Mahi‘ai Scholarship Award 13996102 878477205618295 2860776946927891570 o

The Hawaii Institute of Pacific Agriculture is excited to announce the Mahi‘ai Scholarship Award being offered to North Kohala and Kanu O Ka Aina high school students. The award will also be given to North Kohala High School sports teams for their laulima (many hands / cooperation) in their school garden. HIP Ag will be giving a total of $5,000 away to high school students and sports teams during the 2017-18 school year. All awards will be distributed during the last month of school, May 2018.

Sauerkraut: Simplicity with a Twist

Erika Kuhr, Co-Director

kraut web

I recently completed a Master Food Preserver Class, offered by UH Hilo, College of Continuing Education and Community Service (CCECS), to expand my skills and knowledge, and bring that back to my work at HIP Agriculture and the greater Kohala community.

The class was set at the new commercial kitchen at Kohala Institute's GRACE Center with 12 inspiring adult students from all walks of life and two passionate instructors. The class covered food safety, jams and jellies, preserving fruits & tomatoes, meats, pickling & fermentation, drying & freezing, and charcuterie. The best part was connecting with fellow classmates and bringing home a jar of each item we made (I was able to bring home 14 jars of goodies to share with my family).

Inspiring Food Independence in our Keiki

Lauren Ruotolo, Program Manager

Summer garden programs are so much fun! From nurturing the plants with plenty of water to harvesting the abundance of fruits and veggies that were planted in the spring - we have found ourselves busy and nourished. We've enjoyed partaking in the Kohala Elementary Discovery Garden Summer Blast Program. We stayed hydrated by drinking plenty of coconut water and energized by eating lots of the meat. Can you believe that a few of these students had never tried coconut before?! Another delicious drink we generated was sugar cane juice! With HIP Ag’s manual cane press and sugar can stalks, the students helped crank out more than a gallon of sweet sugar cane juice. Additionally we brought a few interesting fruits for the students to try such as jackfruit, sweet limes and dragonfruit. Education can come in all forms… exploring with the tastebuds is certainly one of them! With all the nourishment, together we planted a pomegranate tree, pineapples, and a miracle berry bush in their school garden.

Planting the Seeds of Health in our Local Youth

Lauren Ruotolo, Program Manager

In recent years, schools have been embracing the garden movement. If you have ever witnessed students enjoying fresh produce straight from the garden or the excitement students express when they find sprouts pop out of the ground, it is easy to understand why. That type of excitement about growing food is infectious. But the real potential of school gardens to reduce obesity, encourage a healthy lifestyle, reconnect youth with the food system, and to build healthier, more vibrant communities is something we can get excited about - tangible and impactful difference that should be a priority in all schools.