HTFG News Release
On Saturday, May 2, Molokai is proud to host world renowned fruit expert, chef, author and filmmaker Ken Love. Learn his successful propagation techniques in grafting, air layering and seed saving, hosted by the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) on Molokai. Ken travels the world to learn and teach about growing and producing unique tropical fruits and has looked for rare and exotic fruit in more than 50 countries. He has at least 150 unusual fruit trees on his family farm in Hawaii Island.
As a chef and localvore advocate, he has a passion for introducing unusual local grown fruits into farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants with a “Buy Local” message as Hawaii producers compete with Florida, Mexico and Ecuador. He discovered more than 200 varieties of avocados on Hawaii Island from three centuries of seed saving traders who ate avocados on their passage from Mexico, Central America and West India. Those seedlings flourished on Hawaii Island. Japanese coffee growers came and grafted and cross-bred varieties, creating even more subdivisions of the avocado species like Masami, Yamagata and Ohata. Over time, cross breeding and cross pollination created an island with more types of avocados than any other place in the world.
While Hawaii’s supermarkets sells 1.5 million pounds of imported avocados, 350,000 pounds of Hawaiian avocados rot on the ground. Aina momona once represented Molokai as the breadbasket of Hawaii and Ken is excited to participate in a comeback of food production. Ken’s 32 years of fruit research is on his website hawaiifruit.net.
The County of Maui, Office of Economic Development provides workshop funding to support Molokai backyard fruit growers to become income producing. Perhaps an old grandfather tree once abundant with delicious fruit needs a new generation of hearty keiki that can bear fruit for a cottage business. Developing grafting and air layering skills can also provide Molokai residents with locally propagated fruit trees without the expense of off island shipment and invasive species.
The public is invited to small group breakout sessions at Mahana Gardens, 9 a.m. to noon. Participants will have hands on practice with tools and plant material provided for them. A seed saving demonstration will be led by Mark House, Organic Farm and Seed Manager at Puu O Hoku Ranch. Admission is $45 for non members, $10 for HTFG members at the event. Call 808-385-2148 for further information.