Worms as workers, and other garden tips

Worms as workers, and other garden tips

Jaro Spichal at his worm farm in Moloa’a, Kauai.

MOLOAA — Jaro Spichal says he’s in the business of multiplying microbes.

But, the Moloaa man grows more than bacteria and fungus at his farm nestled in the midst of noni tree groves on Kauai’s East Side.

Spichal is the owner of Kauai Worms and he’s on a mission to help the island’s farmers and gardeners amp up their production with worm castings and compost.

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Kauai grown culinary tour

Kauai grown culinary tour


Stacy Sproat-Beck demonstrates how to peel the skin off taro. 

Volunteers at the Waipa Foundation in Hanalei, Kauai were cranking out the usual 1,200 pounds of poi to sell throughout the island on Thursday, but there were extra people in the ranks.

The foundation was the first stop for the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival’s Connoisseur’s Culinary Journey, a five-day event that highlights local food on different islands.

Hosted by Roy Yamaguchi, chef and owner of Eating House 1869, those in attendance explored the connection between farming and food on Oahu for the first two days of the tour and landed on Kauai for the third.

Volunteers at the Waipa Foundation bag poi during their regular poi making sessions. 

“It’s exciting to return to our roots with another culinary journey that honors our deep connection to everything that’s grown, raised and caught locally,” said Denise Yamaguchi, CEO of HFWF.

About 10 members of the media from around the country attended, and nearly everyone who showed up got their hands dirty, cleaning taro and diving into the traditional poi-making process.

“Making poi is a community activity,” said Stacy Sproat-Beck of the Waipa Foundation. “It’s one of the first foods we feed to our babies. It keeps indefinitely and, as a fermented food, it’s probiotic.”

Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama explains how taro is harvested. 

After lending a hand at the poi mill, those on the Culinary Journey toured a bit of the Waipa Foundation’s 1,600-acre ahupuaa, which is owned by Kamehameha Schools and has been managed by the Waipa Foundation for more than 20 years.

The goal of the foundation is to provide an educational experience for those who want to know more about the ahupuaa resource management system, which holistically targeted the watershed and contributed to the thriving culture of ancient Hawaiians.

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You can go your own way (but should you?)

 Part 2 of a series. See Cleansing 101 for part 1. 

Turmeric cleanses the body and boosts the immune system. It is also said to be a great remedy for rhumatoid arthritis.

In my last post, Cleansing 101, I wrote about juice cleanses—hoping to answer many of the questions we get at Organic Tree.  A juice cleanse (interchangeably called a juice fast) is like taking your car into the shop for a tune-up. You turn the car off, and leave it with the mechanic who proceeds to check the spark plugs, tweak the breaks, and rotate the tires. When you juice fast, you’re turning your digestive system off—giving it a rest so that the body can perform its own tune-up; fixing damaged cells, cleaning out toxins, and sharpening the senses.

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Cleansing 101

Cleansing 101

It seems like everyone’s talking about cleanses these days—but what exactly is a cleanse? Why are cleanses important? What are the benefits?  And perhaps the biggest question: is it worth all the effort?  

Watermelon juice is cleansing, hydrating and refreshing. Try garnishing with a mint leaf.

Our digestive systems are constantly on the go; busy breaking down every meal and snack we eat during the day. We hardly realize it, but a large amount of our energy is used to digest and absorb the food we eat. What if there was a way to redirect that energy and use it do some repair work in our bodies (while giving the digestive system a little time to reset)?

Juice fasting is a perfect way to do exactly that. At Organic Tree, we’ve developed a Three Day Juice Cleanse.  This fast/cleanse/yoga-retreat is led by Diana Christinson of Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala. It combines fresh Organic Tree juices with yoga, group meetings, and a guidebook to help foster a clearer mind, body and spirit.