2018 has been our highest yielding year since we began planting in 2008. Closing out the year, we have harvested nearly 30,000 pounds of kalo. 17,000 pounds went out to families, restaurants, and suppliers in the form of raw kalo. The remainder was sold as poi or kalo paʻa. Due to large harvests early on in the year, (4,000 pounds of kalo harvested in the month of May alone) we had to cease poi production during the summertime. It was a nice break from pulling kalo. Sometimes we would spend most of the week just harvesting kalo, doing nothing but pulling and cleaning kalo for several days in a row. Plus, this break allowed our crew more time to work on the many other necessary tasks at the lo`i and take two weeks off to go on a life-changing expedition with the whole crew to the island of Rurutu in the Australs. (If you havenʻt had a chance, make sure to watch the video of our experience.)
With the help of our great summer intern crew we were able to clear, prepare, and plant patch number 21: Zack Patch (chee!). This was the second lo`i we built out this year, after Paepae patch which was cleared in a single workday with the Paepae crew earlier this spring (all of our patches are named after crews or individuals who have spent significant time helping to build out a particular patch). Next, to Paepae patch we have also prepared an area for our future hale, where we will hold lessons and host community groups. Construction and thatch work on the hale are set to begin early in 2019.
And of course, we dedicated much of our time to usual farm work, making sure we caught up on planting and fertilizing cycles and knocking down the jungle of weeds that always show up when we aren’t looking. Unfortunately, with all the wet weather we had this year and the increased flooding which resulted from it, we experienced some crop losses, especially in those patches planted in the beginning of this year. It’s a bit of a bummer when we spend time preparing and planting a patch only to have all the huli die after spending an entire weekend completely under water. That is simply the nature of farming. Our labor certainly helps the kalo to grow but ultimately so much is decided by the `āina and is completely outside of our control. Times like those are a reminder to keep humble in light of our record kalo production and sales.
Written by Zack Pilien Lead Co-Farm Manager