Support Your Community
It’s that time once again when most of us focus on changes we’ll make for the rest of the year.
Spend less, weigh less, work harder, study more, be a better person and so on and so forth.
Sometimes we’re successful and continue on throughout the year. Sometimes we’re not as
successful and falter somewhere in February. I’ve always been mindful to “malama ka aina” or
take care of the earth for the past several years and it’s the only change that I’ve managed to
continue past February. Therefore when the City and County of Honolulu started their
recycling program with the blue recycle bins several years ago, I was “all in” even going through
our weekly trash separating the “1” and “2” plastics, glass and cardboard sometimes to the dismay
of my other half. “No, the Clorox toilet cleaner is a “2” so it needs to be quickly rinsed and
placed in the blue bin”… or “before you toss the take-out container, what number is on the
bottom”? Take care of the planet. But can I do more?
The Immediate Community
So while caring for this planet is always a noble cause, caring for your immediate community is
just as important. So other than Mother Earth, my next community is the United States but
even closer is this little rock known as the 50th state. Supporting my own immediate
environment. I already recycle as much as anyone which means less “stuff” going into landfill
here which is already packed beyond capacity so is there anything else I can do? How about
purchase local? Supporting local farmers, fisherman, craftsmen, artisans, and the whole gamut. I
never really focused on supporting my local community by concentrating on my purchases.
Sounds like a plan in 2016!
For starters, unless you really want to restrict your diet in the 50th, it’s not realistically possible
to be a locavore 100% of the time. Take carbohydrates for instance. No one here grows rice or
wheat so that rules out all pasta, bread and rice. In fact, the only carbohydrate laden food would
be sweet potatoes and taro. We do have corn production but it’s simply the super-sweet variety
meant for consumption on the cob so even starchy corn options aren’t available.
Hawaii does raise its fair share of beef and pork and our waters do have a sustainable amount of
fish, shellfish and cephalopods so protein isn’t an issue. Likewise for vegetable matter as both the
Ewa and Windward farmlands produce an abundance of produce. However, fruit production is
limited mainly to tropical fruits as the 50th doesn’t produce any stone fruit, apples, pears and
Therefore I’ll have to determine some “threshold” level of local consumption as 100% just really
So for the Year of the Monkey, I decided on trying to maintain at least 75% of my food
consumption to local products but since the 50th lacks local production of starches, I’ll also
include breads produced locally but it has to be produced from scratch in Hawaii, not just baked
For starters, I’ll make a regular habit of visiting my local farmer’s markets to procure locally
grown produce. Several of the local supermarkets already keep a separate section for local
products which also makes it easier when making shopping decisions. I also plan to just purchase
locally made tofu which I didn’t do in the past since the vacuum wrapped Mori-Nu tofu
products are cheap and have a longer shelf life. However with the recent closing of Honda Tofu,
the 50th is just left with three other locally made products so it magnifies the importance of
purchasing local. And though we don’t consume a lot of beef, I’ll look for local Big Island or
Maui raised beef though it will be a challenge to consume locally raised pork. There are local
purveyors of swine, notably the Shinsato Farm which produces outstanding pork but they
primarily sell their product only to restaurants with the exception of whole hogs for $200. And
even if we could routinely consume a whole hog, I don’t have the butchering skills to
breakdown an intact animal.
And though I normally pack an apple or pear with my weekday lunches, I’ll either look for
locally grown fruits or simply switch to locally grown vegetables. And of course that means no
more Barilla or Golden Grain pasta, I’ll have to seek out the artisanal local pasta products.
Local Snacks in the New Year
Though the products that make up these sports time snacks may not be local for you, they
make great Hawaii versions of the venerable nachos consumed at most sporting venues. Yes,
mayonnaise and Sriracha aren’t created in the 50th but they are produced Stateside (my larger
community). The 2nd recipe is my adaptation of Gyotaku Restaurant’s Nattochos and all of the
ingredients are from the 50th.
1 package of taro chips
1 container of lomi-lomi salmon, drained
1 package of kalua pork, chopped
1 small squeezable container of mayonnaise
1 tbsp Sriracha sauce
Place 1 tbsp of the Sriracha sauce in the mayonnaise container and squeeze the container until it’
s thoroughly mixed (it should be a homogeneous pinkish-orange color). Place a single layer of
chips on a serving platter. Sprinkle the lomi-lomi salmon on the chips along with the chopped
kalua pork. Drizzle the Sriracha mayonnaise at 90 degree angles and serve.
1 package of wonton wrappers, sliced diagonally and fried until golden brown
½ cup grated yamaimo (mountain yam)
½ cup natto (fermented soy beans)
Cubed raw tuna (ahi) tossed with smoked sea salt
½ cup diced sweet raw onion
½ cup cubed avocado
Place 1 layer of the drained and cooled wonton chips on a serving platter. Evenly sprinkle the
next 6 ingredients over the wonton chips. Lightly sprinkle the furikake on top of everything and
Is it Actually Doable?
It should be. It just takes a conscientious effort to reach for local products despite the increased
cost before selecting a product that’s the cheapest. Yes, purchasing local usually does cost more
unless you reside in Kirkland, WA or Bentonville, AK as most local purveyors are smaller
operations, often family run so they can’t compete strictly on cost against the big box
companies. So personally it means reaching for locally caught seafood instead of instinctively
reaching for salmon. Or paying a little more for locally produced tofu than conglomerate
produced tofu. But in the long run, it helps preserve small businesses and help our immediate
local communities. Which is always a good thing. So once again, I wish you and yours health,
happiness and peace of mind in the Year of the Monkey. Shinmen, akemashite omedetou