Friday, March 30, 2012

Hilo Hawaii - Edible Landscaping - Community Gardening

Let's Grow Hilo - Edible Landscaping in City's Median Strips

Stay at Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast and visit Hilo, sweet pearl of the Pacific, - only 30 minutes away:

Taking the notion of “going green” to a whole new level, a group of folks in Downtown Hilo have started a program aimed at simultaneously beautifying downtown Hilo while filling a vital need for feeding residents.

“It started out as a guerilla gardening project,” Alice Moon, Executive Director of Hilo Downtown Improvement Association (DIA) says with a chuckle. “We just started doing it. Then we had four-foot kalo plants growing, and people started realizing what we were doing.”

‘It’, is the “Let’s Grow Hilo” project, designed to show people how easy it is to go green while providing free food for local residents. Hilo is unique in that people strolling along downtown streets can now pick fruits and vegetables for free and take them home to eat.

“Let’s Grow Hilo” came about as a result of the Envision Downtown Hilo 2025 Plan, which calls for enhancing the area’s natural beauty through landscaping, plantings and related improvements. The project started a little over a year ago with then-student, now graduate from UH-Hilo College of Agriculture, Samantha (Sam) Robinson.

While still in school, Sam started community gardens at University of Hawai‘i-Hilo and wanted to expand the idea on a community-wide basis. Teaming up with Alice Moon and the Hilo DIA, Sam’s been working for over a year with youth groups, including Girl Scouts and students at Connections Public Charter School, on several planters along Kamehameha Avenue and in front of the old Hawaiian Telephone Company building on Kalākaua Street. Dozens of area youth are learning how to grow food and take pride in their community.

Hilo DIA is helping Sam seek community gardening grants to expand this part of the project and make Downtown Hilo a model project for other small towns on the island.

At the same time, Chiko Arakawa with DIA’s Senior Training Employment Program has been the driving force for the plantings around palm trees and in other planters around town. Chiko uses space behind the East Hawai‘i Cultural Center as a greenhouse and nursery. You can see his work on the pocket park at the corner of Waianuenue Avenue and Keawe Street. Another group, Natural Farming Hawai‘i, using Korean Master Cho’s method, has joined the effort by planting taro. Drake Weinert and volunteers from the farming group have spent many a weekend planting and nurturing a kalo garden at the small triangle shape where Kīlauea Street and Keawe Street merge at Mamo Street. As this magazine goes to press, DIA and Natural Farming Hawai‘i are planning a harvest celebration for the kalo tentatively scheduled for March 10.

Plants are donated by area businesses, their employees or members of the community. Sam and Chiko have developed relationships with area gardeners and groups, with many supplies being donated. What plants aren’t donated Sam grows from seeds organically. Alice notes that there have been some instances of theft and vandalism, but the damage has been minimal and offset by the tremendous benefits.

She recalls a recent incident where she was walking downtown and a woman admired some tomatoes growing in one of the community gardens. Alice told her she could pick them and take them home, but the woman didn’t believe her. After explaining the community gardening plan to her she was finally able to convince her to take the ripe produce home.

Now that the program has taken root, Alice and others are going about creating more structure for the program. “We’re working with the County Planning Department to formalize the program and its strategic planning,” explains Alice.

“Let’s Grow Hilo” community workdays are typically held the last Sunday of every month.

For more information on the “Let’s Grow Hilo” program, to donate supplies or start your own community garden downtown, e-mail Sam Robinson at or look at the website .

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hilo Hawaii - Downtown Dynamo - Meet Alice Moon

Hilo Downtown's Dynamo - Meet Alice Moon 
- One of the Big Island's Most Impressive Personalities - 

Stay at Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast and visit Hilo, sweet pearl of the Pacific, - only 30 minutes away:

Article by Denise Laitinen
It’s a postcard-perfect morning in downtown Hilo, with bright blue skies and Hilo Bay sparkling in the sunlight—the kind of day that makes you feel lucky to live in Hawai‘i. With the Farmers’ Market in full swing and a cruise ship docked in the harbor, downtown Hilo is bustling with activity. Nowhere is it more so than around the Mo’oheau Bus Terminal and the office of the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association (DIA). Tourists and residents are walking about, many stopping in the DIA office to ask questions. A Hilo Hula Days performance, sponsored by Hilo DIA every day a cruise ship is in town, has drawn a crowd at the Mo’oheau bandstand.

In the midst of all this activity, Alice Moon is pointing out times and places on the County’s bus schedule to a pair of visitors outside the Hilo DIA office. The couple has no idea that the unassuming, friendly redhead is actually the Executive Director of DIA or that she is the powerhouse behind many events that have become synonymous with downtown Hilo.

Anyone who has lived in Hilo for any length of time has probably attended an event established and coordinated by the creative, passionate and persuasive Alice Moon, whether they realize it or not. From Shakespeare performances in the park to slack key music, World Heritage Days to Chinese New Year festivals and her signature Black and White Night, Alice has dreamed up and tackled the massive job of coordinating a litany of community events that help make Hilo a special place to live. It’s a testament to the power of one person that over the years tens of thousands of people have enjoyed special events in East Hawai‘i because of Alice.

For her, it’s about “creating a place where the quality of life is high for everybody because the people who live here are all part of the community,” she says taking a break during a lull in activity at the DIA office. “Downtown Hilo is such as small area and it has so much to offer. I want to bring people together to celebrate what we have.”

“This is my dream job,” says Alice. “I’d like to be here till I can’t be anywhere else. I want to continue to enlighten and enliven the area.”

It’s a dream job that keeps her on her toes. In addition to managing the Hilo Information Center at the bus depot where she and her staff answer tens of thousands of questions a year, Alice is in the midst of planning an upcoming community festival, collaborating with a variety of folks on downtown Hilo’s new community garden program (see sidebar), assisting with the Envision Downtown Hilo 2025 project as one of its vision keepers, working with a myriad of agencies on various community programs, and reporting to the DIA Board of Directors.

With Alice at the helm, Hilo DIA has been busy in recent years. A promotional banner program was implemented to brighten Kamehameha Avenue and promote special events. To improve public safety, Alice helped obtain a grant from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to install security cameras downtown. A beautification project was undertaken with a mural painted along the side of KTA in partnership with artist Kathleen Kam, East Hawai‘i Cultural Center and KTA superstores.

Her position is one where someone could easily get mired in politics and ego, bogged down dealing with so many different organizations and agendas. Or she could coast on the past glory of her many successful events. But Alice is neither a slacker nor one to take on airs. She sees her job as one that truly “helps improve the quality of life for everyone in the community. Whether rich or poor we all deserve a high quality of life. It has a lot to do with building events and building a sense of pride in where people come from,” she says.

Alice is proud to call Hilo home. Her family moved to Keaukaha when she was four years old. Upon graduating from Hilo High School in 1974, Alice spent several years working in the restaurant business, including stints at then-popular locales such as KK Tei and Apple Annie’s, where she worked her way up to assistant manager. In the 1980s she moved to Chicago, got married, and continued to work in the restaurant industry until health issues forced her to take an office job. She found herself working in the alumni and development office of the National College of Chiropractic. It was a turning point in her career, even if she didn’t realize it at the time.

“We did events in the restaurant business, but I got much more involved in event planning at the College,” says Alice. That experience served her well. In 1990, she returned to Hilo with years of fundraising and event planning experience under her belt.

Looking around for a job, Alice’s father, a University of Hawai‘i-Hilo English professor, told her that the university had just hired a Development Coordinator at the college. “At the time, schools in Hawai‘i were just starting to understand the need for alumni fundraising and development,” says Alice. “I interviewed with the new development director and she hired me as her assistant.”

While working in the university setting, Alice soon recognized the need for a college degree for herself. So she went back to school full time and earned a Bachelors degree in English at UH-Hilo. As might be expected, Alice was very active in the Student Activities Council and helped plan several large festivals for the school. Among the events she created was the Community Resource Fair, an event that continues to this day. She also got involved in the Big Island Slack Key Festival, helping coordinate the event and writing grants to cover its expenses.

It was also during college that Alice started coordinating an event called Black and White Night. At the time, the event was sponsored by the Keawe Collection:  a group of businesses along Keawe Street in downtown Hilo that wanted to draw customers to their various businesses.

“They worked collaboratively to bring people up to Keawe Street from the main drag [of Kamehameha Avenue]” says Alice. “That hui understood the power of collaborative marketing and pooling their dollars.” At the time she had no idea that Black and White Night would become her signature event or that it would turn into an annual celebration drawing thousands of people to downtown Hilo. Back then she was just trying to juggle studies and work.

Throughout college, Alice worked as a bartender at the former Harrington’s to pay her way through school.  “In addition to working and coordinating events, I still managed to graduate,” says Alice with a laugh.
After graduation Alice continued working in the restaurant business until she got a job with the Hilo Main Street Program as Project Manager for DIA. Alice wound up working at the Association from 1995 to 1997.  It was, she admits, a tough time both for the organization and the community.

“It was kind of a heartbreak job,” says Alice. “Funding for the program had been cut drastically, we were in a recession, and the last of the sugar plantations were closing, causing Hilo to sink into its own recession.” Times were tough. Events like Black and White Night ceased happening because most of the businesses on Keawe Street that had been involved in the project had either moved or gone out of business. When the organization ran out of money in 1997, Alice found herself once again looking for a job.

Borders Books was about to open in Hilo and they were in need of a community relations coordinator. For the next three and a half years, Alice planned dozens of events at the store, from book signings to live music and theatrical presentations of Shakespeare. “Working at Borders helped to reconnect me with the artistic community in Hilo,” says Alice.

During her years at Borders, Alice continued to help coordinate community events such as the Big Island Slack Key Festival. In 2001, she decided to make the leap to work on her own and launched her own promotions and event planning company: Alice Moon and Company. Her first client was Dr. Bob Ballard (famous for discovering the wreck of the Titanic) and they soon produced the Jason Project: a program designed to connect kids around the world studying the same thing at the same time.

With her own company, Alice started putting on more and more events. She revived Black and White Night and was finally able to implement her longtime dream of turning it into a town-wide event. Meant to draw people to downtown Hilo, it now has a decade of successfully achieving her goal.

Attendees are encouraged to wear black and white clothing, with a costume contest and prizes for creative outfits. Many businesses stay open late and offer special promotions and/or entertainment. Live music echoes throughout the streets and sidewalks. A map/stamp game helps draw people into businesses. Participants are given a map of vendors and a stamp card. They visit vendors around downtown Hilo, collecting stamps on their card, which is then entered into a contest to win prizes. It’s an excellent way to learn more about businesses in downtown Hilo.

“I’m pretty certain that when asked, anyone who attends Black and White Night will say they discovered something new about downtown Hilo, whether it be a restaurant, community garden, or gift shop.”
“In 2001, we had about 20 businesses on the map and about 500-700 people participate,” says Alice. “In 2011, we had 70+ businesses on the map and 14,000-15,000 people attended.”  This past year Alice, in partnership with the Hawai‘i Alliance for a Local Economy, added a “Think Local, Buy Local” campaign as part of the event to encourage people to buy from local merchants.

Another well-known community event for which Alice is responsible is the annual Chinese New Year Festival. February 2012 marked ten years of the popular, free festival at Kalākaua Park that features Chinese and Hawaiian cultural displays, entertainment, demonstrations, crafts, food and, of course, lion dances.
The two events were just some of the many that Alice oversaw at her business. Putting on one large-scale successful event per year can be a strain for anyone. To manage two large events with a myriad of other ones throughout the year can take a toll on a person year after year. A debilitating economic downturn didn’t help things either. So in 2009, she returned to DIA as its executive director. An event planner to the core, Alice had one condition: to continue running Black and White night and Chinese New Years.

Like other small, non-profits, Hilo DIA struggles to do more with less while still responding to the needs of the community and local businesses. Alice is proud of the work that DIA has accomplished through its many community initiatives. “We’ve built a reputation as a ‘go-to’ place,” she says.
What’s next for Alice Moon? She points out that November 2012 marks 50 years for the Hilo DIA. “I’d like to think DIA will be around for another 50 years and I’d like to be part of that growth.”
Contact writer Denise Laitinen at

Hilo Downtown Improvement Association website:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hawaii Merrie Monarch Hula Festival 2012

Merrie Monarch - The world's largest Hula Festival in Hilo (2012)

30 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast in Hilo the famous annual Merrie Monarch Hula Competition will take place from April 8-14. It is a magical time, when all of Hilo town is in a festive ambiance celebrating the art of Hula and the Hawaiian Culture. It is a community event with everybody involved from the Keiki (children) to the Kupuna (Elders): Hula performances in parks, public places and all around town, fabulous arts and crafts shows, the smell of fresh flowers everywhere, beautiful leis, everybody out in their finest Aloha wear, cheerful and happy. It is one of the most wonderful times here on the East side of the Island and as a visitor this magic is contagious and carries over to all open to be taken in by it. What makes this event so special is the fact, that it is not put on as a festival for visitors. It is genuine and authentic. It is the perfect time to experience Hawaii, its cultural richness and overabundant beauty. It's also a time to closely experience some of Hawaii's most famous performers, entertainers and musicians: Keali'i Reichel, Robert Kazimero, members of the Beamer family, Sonny Ching, Kekuhi Kanahele & the Kanakaole Ohana, and many other kumu hula and their halau from around the world.

The event starts on Wednesday night (April 11) with the Ho'ike Performance, a free exhibition night of hula, international performers and music. Thursday night (April 12) features the Miss Aloha Hula competition of individual women for the title of Miss Aloha Hula. Contestants perform hula kahiko (ancient hula), hula 'auana (modern hula) and oli (chanting). On Friday night (April 13) groups of women and men perform Hula Kahiko. Saturday (April 14) night, the final evening, presents women and men groups dancing the modern style hula ('auana). At the end of this evening the overall winners of both group hula nights are celebrated.

The week-long event finds its finale in the Saturday parade (April 14th) through downtown Hilo as one of the festival's most entertaining and fun parts for the whole family.

Tickets are mostly pre-sold, but may still be available at the door of the Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium on the evenings of the competition events. More information is also available on the official Merrie Monarch website

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - April Programs

Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs - April 2012

Stay at Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast and visit the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - only 30 minutes away:

Hawaii National Park, HI – Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors throughout April, including extra events during Merrie Monarch week. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

When: Tues., Apr. 10, 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium
Eruption Cycles at Kīlauea. Don Swanson, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will explain how Kīlauea’s eruptive cycles were recently recognized, what they mean in terms of how the volcano works, and what are the hazards implied by long explosive periods. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.

When: Wed., Apr. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai
Kalo and Lā‘au Lapa‘au. Sam and Edna Baldado share the many cultural uses of the kalo, or taro, plant. Learn about the hundreds of varieties of kalo in Hawai‘i and how each plant is identified. Ka‘ohu Monfort also shares her knowledge of lā‘au lapa‘au, and how Hawaiian medicinal plants can help heal and nourish. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Wed., Apr. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai
Musical Performance by Rupert Tripp, Jr. Singer/songwriter Rupert Tripp, Jr. brings his love of music and decades of experience as a performer to the park. Rupert has played with many of Hawai‘i’s top recording artists (the Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, Roland Cazimero, Kapena to name a few) and is an accomplished soloist. He also plays acoustic guitar with the trio, Kohala. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Wed., Apr. 11 and Thurs., Apr. 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai
‘Ohe Hano Ihu (Bamboo Nose Flute) Workshop. Park Ranger Adrian Boone and National Park Service volunteer Ed Shiinoki will demonstrate and make traditional three-holed bamboo nose flutes for visitors. The ‘ohe hano ihu is played by blowing air into a hole with one nostril and holding the other nostril closed. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Thurs., Apr. 12 and Fri., Apr. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai
Makuakāne ‘Ohana Arts & Music. Celebrate Merrie Monarch with the Makuakāne ohana as they share the arts and music of Hawaiian culture. Mother Violet May and daughter Helene will teach the art of making a feather kahili, a symbol of royalty. Brother Kenneth, a singer, songwriter and producer, will play original songs from his albums, The Dash and Makuakāne as well as from his other award-winning compositions. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Thurs., Apr. 12 and Fri., Apr. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai
Nā Lei with Patricia Kaula. Hawaiians use lei for blessing crops, adornment for hula dancers, in healing and sacred rituals, and to show royal status or rank. Lei are also given to honor guests or as peace offerings, to celebrate a birth, and as expressions of love and expression. Join master lei artist Patricia Kaula as she shares nā lei, the art of traditional and modern lei making. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free.

When: Wed., Apr. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium
Pomai in Concert. Contemporary Nā Hoku Hanohano award-winning singer, songwriter and recording artist Pomai Longakit shares her original songs and her latest hit, “Another Rainbow,” at Hawai‘i Volcanoes. Pomai is one half of the brother and sister duo, Pomai and Loeka, known worldwide for their song, “Come ‘A‘ama Crab,” and she hosts a popular radio show on Hawai‘i Island’s KWXX every Saturday and Sunday morning. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free.

When: Tues., Apr. 24, 7 p.m.
Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium
Endemic Hawaiian Flowers: A Celebration of World Heritage. In 1987, Hawai‘i Volcanoes was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due in part to the high number of endemic species it protects. This year the park celebrates 25 years of World Heritage by offering a series of special programs about the natural and cultural resources in the park. U.S. Geological Survey botanist and author Linda Pratt presents the story of Hawai‘i’s amazing and beautiful native flowering plants. Isolated by thousands of miles of ocean and cut off from the rest of the world for thousands of years, Hawai‘i boasts one of the highest rates of endemic species.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hawaii Big Island - Farmers Markets

Hawaii Big Island - Farmers Markets

Stay at  Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast and visit some of the best Big Island Farmers Markets close by: Pahoa (Sunday), Seaview (Saturday), Maku'u (Sunday), Keaau (every day except Sunday), Hilo (every day, with big market days on Wednesday & Saturday) 

There's no better way to experience the amazing cultural diversity of Hawaii Island than to visit one of the many farmers’ markets that take place all around the island. You can't beat the prices or the selection.

Just before dawn, as the sky begins to lighten at the rim of the horizon, the farmers markets come to life all across the Big Island. Trucks and vans and cars congregate at the stalls, as farmers and fishermen and craftspeople begin unloading boxes and crates and buckets and bags of the most wonderful produce, baked goods and handicrafts.

A trip to the local farmers market is a bi-weekly necessity for most island residents, and it's a must-see experience for any curious visitor. Nearly every community has at least a roadside stand offering fresh fruits and vegetables, but at the larger markets you may also find fresh-caught opakapaka (snapper) and smoked ahi (yellowfin tuna), spectacular floral arrangements and blooming orchid plants, locally made goat cheeses and hot sauces.

This is family agriculture at its very best. Many farmers grow their fruits and vegetables on small plots, using sustainable farming techniques. Organic farming is popular in Hawaii, and organic growers are proud to state their policies of no-pesticides and no commercial fertilizers.

Visitors from outside of Hawaii often don't recognize half of the fruits and vegetables grown here, and that's part of the fascination of the farmers markets. The eclectic mix of produce reflects seasonal availability, of course, as well as the many different ethnic groups that have contributed to the fascinating mix of foods found here. You may find ferns from Waipio Valley, used in Chinese and fusion dishes; Japanese daikon (radish), eggplants, cucumbers and edamame (soybeans); Hawaiian chili peppers; Thai basils and curries; Peruvian sweet potatoes; Portuguese sweet bread, sausage and malasadas (no-hole donuts). And there's always lots of fresh ginger, introduced by the Japanese but now used by everyone.

And bananas! You may think that you can ignore bananas because they're so familiar, and focus on the more exotic fruits-but you may not have seen bananas like these before. Bananas sold in mainland supermarkets are usually Cavendish, a bland, slow-ripening variety that withstands the rigors of shipping. Here on the Big Island, however, you'll find a wide range of delicately flavored varieties such as diminutive apple bananas, vanilla-flavored ice cream bananas, robust Thompsons, and plantains for cooking.

In most of the world, bananas are, after all, a staple food, a vital part of the local diet. Worldwide, the banana ranks fourth (after rice, wheat and corn) as the planet's most economically important food crop. And bananas, of course, are perfectly portable, the ideal snack to munch on as you strong through the rest of the market.

But don't forget the flowers: cut blossoms, growing plants, and intricately strung leis of every color and design. Gorgeous bunches of orchids, anthuriums, ginger blooms, and exotic bird-of-paradise burst from their buckets. At the lei stands, fragrant plumeria and gardenia leis swing from overhead displays or adorn stylish woven-straw hats. Prices are tantalizingly low, and many orchid growers specialize in shipping plants to the mainland, so you can purchase beautiful plants and arrange to have them land on your doorstep as soon as arrive home.

It's a real feast for the senses. Take your time to browse, and be ready to "talk story" with the folks behind the tables. Many vendors will offer samples of their wares, so you may be able to sip fresh roasted coffees from Hamakua and Kona, sample flavored macadamia nuts, taste guava jellies or freshly made fudge. Fruit sellers may offer a slice of avocado or mango or cherimoya, or show you how to pop the top to eat a furry rambutan.

For a fun and delicious experience, look for a coconut stand. Choose a green coconut, not a hard brown one, and ask if there's someone who can open it for you. Often, a coconut seller will oblige by wielding a machete to lop off one end so you can insert a straw and drink the clear, sweet liquid. (That's coconut juice, not coconut milk, which is pressed from the ripe nut.) If the liquid is a little frothy and has a delicate, slightly fermented flavor, that's a "champagne" coconut. The meat will be almost baby-food soft and quite sweet, not hard and dry like the brown coconuts in the supermarket.
Farmers markets are also great places to find unique items created by local artists and craftspeople. Koa and coconut wood carvings, distinctive clothing and quilts, glass sculptures, paintings and photographs, one-of-a kind jewelry pieces-all are on display in the open-air markets, and you'll often get a chance to talk with the artists themselves. You're also likely to find live music; perhaps there will be a planned concert, but more often it will be a morning serenade by street-corner troubadours.

A note about schedules: Many farmers markets are open for only a couple of days each week. For example, the award-winning Hilo Farmers Market-the largest and best-known farmers market in Hawaii-is open only two days a week. A few vendors staff their stalls in the marketplace every day, but Hilo Farmers Market unfolds in all its full splendor only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Begun in 1988 with just a few produce sellers, this open-air market has grown to feature nearly 130 vendors selling everything from exotic fruits and flowers to specialty foods, jewelry, island-made clothing and traditional Hawaiian crafts. Any visit to Hilo is incomplete without a trip to this market!

Check the list below for the most current information (as of November, 2005) on farmers markets around the Big Island; be aware, however, that days and hours may change at any time. See the list below for information about the major farmers markets on the Big Island. Then, enjoy!

Honokaa Farmers Market
Old Botelho Bldg., Honokaa
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

Laupahoehoe Market
Verifone Building, 9652 Kaumalii Hwy, Laupahoehoe
Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon

Hilo Farmers Market
Corner of Kamehameha Avenue & Mamo Street, Hilo
Wednesday & Saturday, 7:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Panaewa Hawaiian Home Lands Farmers Market
Puainako & Ohuohu Streets, by Walmart in Hilo
Daily, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Rainbow Falls Market Place
Across from Rainbow Falls, north of Hilo, HI
Monday and Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Fern Forest Town Market
Fern Forest
2nd Saturday of the month from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Ka'u Farmers Market
Naalehu Theater, Ka'u
Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 noon

O'Suzanna's Farmers Market
Highway 11 at Road to the Sea, Ocean View
Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Volcano Farmers Market
Cooper Center, 1000 Wright Road, Volcano
Sunday, 8:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m.

Hawaiian Homestead Farmers Market
Kuhio Hale Building, 64-759 Kahilu Road, Waimea
Saturday, 7:00 a.m.-12:00 noon

I Ka Pono Farmers Market
Parker School, at I Ka Pono Community Garden, Waimea
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-12:00 noon

"Under the Banyans" Farmers Market
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

North Kona
Ali'i Garden Market Place
Ali'i Drive, 2 miles south of Kailua Pier, Kona
Wednesday-Sunday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Kailua Village Farmer's Market
Across from Hale Halawai, Kailua-Kona
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Kona Farmers Market
Old Industrial Park, Kaiwi Square, Kona
Saturday & Sunday, 8:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Akebono Farmers Market
Akebono Theatre, Pahoa
Sunday, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Caretakers of Our Land Farmers Market
Sacred Heart Church, Pahoa
Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-12:00 noon

Island Fruits
12 Mile marker on Highway 11, Mountain View
Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Kea'au Village Farmers Market
Daily, 7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Highway 130, Pahoa
Sunday, 8:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m

South Kona
Kealakekua Flea Market
Haleki'i Street, Kealakekua
Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Kona Pacific Farmers' Coop
82-5810 Napoopoo Rd., Captain Cook
Fridays, 8am-4pm.

New Open Farmers Market
By the Pink Donkey sign, Captain Cook

South Kona Fruit Stand
Near the old Higashi Store, 84-4770 Mamalahoa, Captain Cook
Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potato - Delicious

Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potato - Delicious

 Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast serves Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes as one of its Island Gourmet breakfast specials: 

Article by Sonia Martinez

When walking around the framers markets that dot our island you might notice some strange-looking sweet potatoes or, as they are called in Hawaiian, 'uala. Some vendors will have a couple of them cut in half so that you can see the color of the flesh. Although the outside of the sweet potato can be light brown or almost white, the inside will be a deep purple! We call these Hawaiian or Okinawan sweet potatoes.

The taste is sweeter than the orange sweet potatoes you might be used to eating. The purple sweet potatoes are free of fat and cholesterol; an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6, potassium plus iron; loaded with antioxidants and minerals, besides being a good source for carbohydrates and fiber.

According to studies and research done by the College of Agriculture, University of Hawaii, the sweet potato is the seventh most important food crop worldwide and, along with taro, was a major staple of the early Hawaiians. Originally, there were about 230 varieties of sweet potato cultivated in old Hawaii. Of these 24 were still cultivated in the 1940s, with about six varieties growing today.

Sweet potatoes are very versatile as they can be boiled, roasted, sauteed, fried or baked; dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried; mashed and mixed with coconut cream and ginger and made into a delicious soup, and prepared in many more different ways, from simply mashed, in salads and also as delicious filling for sweet potato pie!

The leaves and tender shoots can also be eaten by throwing them into soups or stews or chopping them into a stir fry. Sometimes the same vendor selling the purple sweet potatoes will also sell the green shoots..

Recipe: Purple Sweet Potato and Watercress Salad with Citrus Viaigrette

Sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed, fresh watercress sprigs, served on a bed of garden greens. Sprinkle with the citrus vinaigrette.

Citrus Vinaigrette: 2/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon honey, freshly ground pepper. Whisk all ingredients together and keep refrigerated. may be kept refrigerated for up to a week. 

The citrus vinaigrette is very light, slightly sweet; neither the rice wine vinegar nor the mustard are overpowering.

By writer Sonia Martinez,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mauna Kea Visitor Center - Hawaiian Cultural Nights

Hawaiian Cultural Nights on Maunakea

90 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast: 

Onizuka Center for International Astronomy
Mauna Kea Visitor’s Information Station
Phone: (808) 961-2180 Fax: (808) 969-4892

Malalo o Ka Po Lani
Hawaiian Culture night on Maunakea

Saturday, March 17, 6:00 pm

The Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station’s free monthly program, “Malalo o ka Po Lani,” will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2012 at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station’s presentation room, beginning at 6:00pm. The presentation will take place for approximately one hour, with our stargazing program following shortly thereafter.

From Niuolahiki, the ancestral coconut tree, to `Ulu Ku who saved his family from starvation, to `Ohi`a-Lehua, the lovers who could not be parted, there above the treeline of Mauna Kea, Manu Josiah and storyteller Leilehua Yuen will share mo`olelo, ka`ao, chant, hula, and song of Hawai`i’s trees.

Come up for Malalo o ka Po Lani, Hawaiian Culture Night on Maunakea, for an evening of Hawaiian music, chants, stories, and science as we learn how the traditional Hawaiian relationship with the sky guided the relationships with the land and sea. After the program, join the star party on the Onizuka Center lanai!

For details, and for upcoming cultural events, visit:

Or phone: 1-808-961-2180

Each month, a different Cultural Practitioner shares perspectives on an aspect of Hawaiian culture, history, and or arts relating to the natural history of Maunakea. The “Malalo o ka Po Lani” cultural program is held on the third Saturday of every month in the Ellison Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station’s presentation room at the 9,300 ft eleveation on Mauna Kea. For more information on programs at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station please visit our web site: or call us at (808) 961-2180. Aloha.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hawaiian Cuisine - iPoi

Hawaiian Cuisine - iPoi

Stay at Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast, enjoy Hawaiian Cuisine in nearby restaurants and explore the area, including lava viewing from the Kalapana Viewing area (10 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast): 

Story by Dave Choo
Photo by Ann Cecil

Learning to make a local favorite like seared 'ahi poke salad is now easy (and free) at Island food fanatic Frank Abraham's new web site.
Like many Island expats, Frank Abraham misses Hawai‘i cooking, a nostalgia that gets stronger with every passing year. “Now before my family and I visit Hawai‘i, all we do is talk about what we’re going to eat,” says Abraham, who moved to California nearly thirty years ago. “And once we get there all of our activities are planned around where we’re going to eat.”

Last summer Abraham, a computer consultant, decided to share his love of Hawai‘i food, so he launched cookinghawaiianstyle. com, a free web site that enables users to swap recipes and videos. To start he persuaded celebrated local chef Chai Chaowasaree of Chai’s Island Bistro and Hawai‘i entertainer and foodie Melveen Leed to contribute some of their favorite recipes, e.g., Melveen’s Crustacean Polynesia, a seafood stew of lobster, crab, shrimp and coconut that she learned from her hänai (adopted) auntie. The producers of the local cable television show Hawaiian Grown TV contributed, and Abraham hired Deirdre Todd, the culinary advisor for Macy’s Ala Moana Center, to provide a steady supply of recipes new and old. The web site, which highlights at least five new recipes a day, also features how-to videos, prize giveaways and monthly contests.

Abraham figured it would take at least a year to build an online community of five hundred, but within just one month of going online, more than three thousand users registered, which has left Abraham shaking his head in disbelief and scrambling to keep up. While the web site attracts users from across the globe, the majority are former Hawai‘i residents who miss Island comfort food, so not surprisingly the web site’s most popular recipes aren’t tony Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine creations but homey favorites: guava chiffon cake, “killer” brown gravy and Spam fried rice.

But sometimes a good recipe just isn’t good enough. From a recent trip to Hawai‘i, the Abraham family returned with a culinary cache that included manapua, kalua pig, squid lu‘au and twenty pounds of Chinese noodles. “It seems kind of ridiculous to bring all that back,” says Abraham, “but no one around here makes noodles like they do in Hawai‘i.”

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Hawaii Volcanoes - Fire and Ice

Hawaii Volcanoes - Fire & Ice

Stay at Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast and explore Hawaii's Volcanoes and see lava flows from the Kalapana Viewing area (10 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast): 

Lava has been erupting from the Pu'u O'o Vent, which is part of Kilauea Volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, since 1982. Recent flows into the ocean had stopped on January 9, 2012. Since then the lava has been close to the crater and started to progress down the slope a few days ago. For the last two days it has again entered the subdivision of Royal Gardens that had been inundated by lava many times over the last 30 years. The last house standing was infamous Jack Thompson's Bed & Breakfast. According to latest reports, Jack's house has been swallowed by lava yesterday. He evacuated just an hour before a vigorous flow of lava came down the hill and burned his house to the ground. 
It was the final act in the destruction of a vast but sparsely populated neighborhood dating back to the earliest phases of the Pu'u 'O'o-Kupaianaha eruption in 1983. Over the years, flows from Kilauea had burned Jack's neighbors' homes and cut off the roads leading to Royal Gardens. A professional photographer and friend, Leigh Hilbert, happened to be staying at the house and was able to help Thompson evacuate. Hilbert had been documenting the progress of the flow on his blog, Arriving by foot on Thursday, he noticed one threatening branch and told Thompson, who continued to hope it could miss his house, as others have in the past. A detailed report of Jack's last few hours and his evacuation by helicopter are available in today's Hawaii Tribune Herald's article

The lava is now continuing to flow farther down the pali and is visible from the Kalapana Viewing Area at the end of Hwy. 130, which is just about 10 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast, close to Pahoa in Leilani Estates.

The Island of Hawaii is a place of contrasts and as lava is flowing down the slopes of one volcano, a winter storm dropped inches of snow on Muana Kea and Mauna Loa this weekend, as an upper low near the islands brought sub-freezing temperatures to Big Island summits.

 A winter storm warning was in effect for most of the weekend into Monday morning. The Mauna Kea Access Road was closed to the public at the Visitor Information Station due to the ice and snow on summit roads. The Mauna Kea Rangers planned to conduct an early morning inspection today. but the road was expected to remain closed due to the pending weather.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - March Programs

Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - March Programs

30 minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast: 


Friday, March 9, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.
ALOHA FRIDAY” BOAT DAY FUNDRAISER. Experience the nostalgia and aloha of Hawai‘i’s old-time boat days, replete with colorful flower lei, graceful hula ‘auana, and Hawaiian music. Aboard Holland America Line’s m.s. Rotterdam, which docks in Hilo Harbor, you'll enjoy an elegant shipboard atmosphere. Join us on board for a delicious four-course meal served with wine in the La Fontaine Dining Room. Enjoy music by the Kuahiwis and hula by Halau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu. Due to TSA security regulations, tickets are not transferable, photo ID is required, and RSVPs must be made by March 5. Fundraiser tickets are $65 and benefit the non-profit Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Group rates are available for parties of 5 or more. To buy tickets, call the Friends at (808) 985-7373 or visit

Sunday, March 11, 2012 from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.
SUNDAY WALK IN THE PARK. This monthly program on second Sundays is aimed at bringing together the members of the Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park to explore the park's beautiful trails. Led by Cheryl Gansecki, this month’s 3-mile round-trip walk explores the Pu‘u Pua‘i area. Starting and ending at the Devastation Trail parking lot, we’ll take the trail across the flanks of Pu‘u Pua‘i down onto Byron Ledge. There we’ll explore the lush Hawaiian rain forest and get great views into Kilauea Iki and Kilauea Caldera, with Halema‘uma‘u Crater fuming in the distance. The walk is free to Friends members (though non-members are welcome to join the non-profit Friends group in order to attend). Park entrance fees apply. To register, contact the Friends at (808) 985-7373 or For more info, visit

Saturday, March 17, 2012 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – PROGRAM FULL
VOLUNTEER FOREST RESTORATION PROJECT. Volunteers are needed to help in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park's Kahuku Unit, located in Ka'u between mile markers 70 and 71 on the mauka side of Highway 11. We will plant native seedling trees in a fenced enclosure, where the plants will be protected from grazing animals. We will also learn about the park's native forest restoration program at Kahuku and be able to see the start of natural recovery of the forest. Volunteers should be at least 12 years old, and be able to hike at least one mile over rough, uneven terrain covered by thick pasture grasses in an area with a moderate slope. Our goal is a crew of 12 people, and pre-registration is required. To register, contact the Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park at (808) 985-7373 or For more info, visit

March 1 - April 2, 2012
"IMAGES FROM THE EDGE" PHOTO CONTEST. Calling all photographers! Submit your original photographs taken in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park (park entrance fees apply). First, second, and third place awards will be given in 3 categories: Amateur-Beginner, Amateur-Advanced, and Professional. There will also be from 3 to 7 Honorable Mentions. Judging is by professional photographers Rick Decker and Alvis Upitis of West Hawai'i. All images will be considered for inclusion in a special multi-image slideshow on April 28. All finalists' photographs will be exhibited from June 9-17 at the Volcano Art Center Gallery, a co-sponsor of the event. Photos must be submitted as digital images online between March 1 and the contest deadline of April 2 at 5:00 p.m. (Hawai'i Standard Time). Entry fee for up to 3 photos is $25. Contest sponsor is Friends of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. For full contest rules and to enter, visit


Saturday, March 31, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

KEALAKOMOWAENA: LIFE ON A LAVA LANDSCAPE. Join park archeologist Jadelyn Moniz Nakamura to take a walk through time and learn how Hawaiians, living in the shadow of Pele, adapted to life on a lava landscape. See ancient trails, agricultural fields, lava rock walls, and house sites as we explore the challenges life presented to those living in this leeward ahupua‘a of the Puna district. We will discuss the latest radiocarbon data for the area, what the pollen and charcoal records have revealed, and why this seemingly barren place was likely chosen as a spot to farm. Cost is $45 for Friends members and $65 for non-members. Students (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are half-price. Non-members are welcome to join the non-profit Friends group to get the member discount. Park entrance fees apply. To register, call the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at (808) 985-7373 or visit


Available Year-Round
INSTITUTE-ON-DEMAND allows your group (of any size) to create your own custom-designed program. It's perfect for families, reunions, school and senior groups, friends traveling together, adventure-seekers, and more!

Partnered with talented presenters in fields such as volcanology, geology, archeology, botany, birds, photography, and Hawaiian culture, INSTITUTE-ON-DEMAND provides personalized educational adventures in and around Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Programs can be tailored to provide you with a park experience that is truly unique, and make your visit to the one of the world’s most active volcanoes an unforgettable experience.

To set up your INSTITUTE-ON-DEMAND personalized adventure, call (808) 985-7373 or email To submit an online request form, visit

*Institute programs are funded in part by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or reasonable modification of policies and procedures to participate in Institute programs should contact the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park at or (808) 985-7373 at least five days before the program.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hawaii Island - First Green Sea Turtle Nesting

-->Volunteers Witness First Green Turtle Nesting on Hawai‘i Island

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is only 30 Minutes from Hale Moana Bed & Breakfast:

Hawaii National Park, HI – Hawai‘i Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project recorded one of its most historic sea turtle nesting seasons in 22 years, including the first recorded green turtle nesting on the island of Hawai‘i, a rare daytime nesting by a hawksbill turtle, and an increase in the number of newly tagged female hawksbills.

In the 2011 report released today, a female green turtle, or honu, was first observed attempting to nest on the beach in front of the park’s remote Halapē campsite. She then traveled 52 coastal miles southwest and nested at Pōhue Bay. Her historic nest was a success, with 40 baby honu reaching the ocean. Green turtles are federally listed as threatened, are indigenous to Hawai‘i, and are seen throughout the islands. They typically nest in the French Frigate Shoals, but there have been occasional documented nestings by honu on the other main Hawaiian Islands.

Also within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a female honu ‘ea, or hawksbill turtle, was observed nesting at ‘Āpua Point at noon, the earliest daytime crawl in project history. Hawksbill turtles are endangered, and nest primarily at beaches along the southern coast of Hawai‘i Island at night.

Volunteers helped an estimated 3,000 hatchlings reach the ocean from a total of 30 nests (one green, 29 hawksbill) along five of the beaches they monitor: ‘Āpua Point, Halapē, Kamehame, Kōloa, and Pōhue Bay.

“Without the help from over 20 dedicated volunteers this season, many of these hatchlings would not have made it to the ocean. Thanks to them, there is hope for the survival of honu‘ea” said Will Seitz, project coordinator.

Other season highlights included a nest excavation with third grade students from Volcano School, and a continued increase in the number of newly tagged honu ‘ea females. Out of the nine female adult hawksbill turtle observed, five were newly tagged while the rest were returnees from previous seasons.

During nesting season, from May through December, females come ashore to lay clutches of eggs. The eggs are vulnerable during the two-month incubation, and are preyed upon by mongoose, rats, feral cats, and dogs. After the hatchlings emerge they can become caught behind rocks or vegetation, disoriented by artificial lights, run over by vehicles, or eaten by mammals and birds. Volunteer efforts are critical to their survival.

The 2011 report can be downloaded from the park’s website,

For information on how to help, visit, or contact the Hawksbill Project at 808-985-6090.