It’s hard to believe that 2019 is already coming to a close. This year was one of tremendous growth, both in the loʻi and in our organization. We harvested from Zack patch (patch #21) for the first time and were able to get about 3,000 lbs of kalo and over 250 lbs of lau. Patch #22, Jared KKP patch named after our Kūkuluhou program participants, was completely built out by them this quarter and has now been planted! Our goal has been to plant two patches per month, as we get ready for next year. More people like yourselves are choosing to eat kalo and so the demand is ever-increasing! We want to make sure there is always kalo available for you when you call us on the kalo hotline. Speaking of which, have you heard of the kalo hotline?! Now you can text us anytime (808-351-1666) with your raw kalo order. How awesome is that!
Recently, we’ve just shifted from the time of Kū to the time of Lono, and we’ve noticed this same transition within our loʻi. Usually, we find ourselves in an ongoing battle with the weeds; winning in one patch only to find them taking over another. But this time, things are a little different. When you look around the loʻi, everything looks in order. I mean there’s still plenty of work to do, but we aren’t chasing after those weeds. We’ve had some awesome volunteer groups and such productive workdays that we’ve been able to manage it all. Now I’m sure that by the time you read this, the weeds will be back and well established, but it was nice while it lasted. Weeding is one of the best activities for talking story with one another; it’s a relationship builder. This Fall, we were fortunate to be able to hire three interns and have also taken on a dedicated volunteer who comes just about every day.
Outside of the loʻi, our poi production is getting more efficient. Our cleaning and bagging process is going smoother and so for the first time, we are waiting on the mill! We are looking into upgrading to a bigger mill that will speed up production even more! As a staff, we enjoyed a hilarious food safety certification class and can now say that we know the ins and outs and how to best keep our poi kitchen safe. We also went through safety training on how to properly use our chainsaws. We even got to see these new skills in action as our instructors for the day fell one of our biggest trees.
A lot is in store for 2020. We have plans to finish building out all of our loʻi (2-3 more) and to construct a traditional hale that overlooks the patches. This will be a much prettier gathering place than our current heavy-duty tent! And a great place to host our guests for the bi-annual fundraiser on August 15th, 2020. Save the date! We look forward to seeing you on poi days or in the mud. Me ke aloha, Rachel