Monday, January 19, 2009

The Gleaners... more from Ono Sunday

Another Ono Sunday story… Yesterday (after the 7am Farmer's Market in Volcano) we met up with our Punaweb Friends Jim and Carey and Liz and Mike at the Onemea Farm Lots to glean the fields for the Hilo Food Pantry which provides food to anyone in need.

The machines and pickers had already gone through the field taking out the “perfect” potatoes for export to Japan and domestic vendors. The remaining potatoes would normally have gone to waste in the field. Carey and Jim are pretty much experts at this. They brought the trailer, tubs made into sleds, crates and other equipment for the harvest. They also provided some excellent fresh orange lemonade! And they shared some wonderful grapefruit and tangerines from their trees at home. Carey met the owners of the farm and when they found out that there were potatoes going to waste and hungry people in Hilo/Puna she used her ingenuity to gather together a few people to harvest them. The gleaning has to be done as close to the time that the pickers have gone through as possible, as they start to decay quickly. Jim and Carey organize these outings about once a month.

We hiked out into the fields and for a few hours, we were “pickin’ and grinnin’ “. Well at least we were laughing and talking and having fun while we were doing something good for our fellow islanders. Of course as a side benefit, we also got to bring home some sweet potatoes for ourselves and our neighbors. I used them as a mashed potato last night (recipe followson my next blog post) and I used some of Carey’s tangerines as a base for the sauce I made to go on some basa fillets (recipe also follows).

Now I intend on playing with the Okanawa Sweets and figuring out some fun recipes to do with them. I used to have to go to China town to find these gems on the mainland. I only really used them for baking and an occasional potato salad or to make chips for parties. Now I am going to have to dig deeper and figure out some other ways to use them. I love a challenge like this!

As a side benefit we were at the Volcano Farmer’s Market yesterday morning quite early and since I knew that we were going to be getting the potatoes later in the day, I lamented that I did not have my mandoline here, as it is still with most of our goods, floating across the pacific. Then we walked past the table with the kitchen items for their rummage sale and there was a German Mandoline in perfect condition for sale for 75 cents! Naturally I grabbed that immediately. I will use it to make some Purple Sweet Potato Chips tonight. It will also come in handy for making scalloped sweet potatoes. I can see using some of my fresh sage in that dish. And I may play with julienning some veggies too. The German mandoline is made from plastic but has sharp steel blades and it sure will be easier than doing the tricks with my knife.

Thanks to my friend Sonia, I was able to find a small nursery that has most every kind of herb plant and I have most of them planted already and the rest are awaiting our container’s arrival, as I brought many of my pots on it. So I will have those to use as I experiment with the sweet potatoes. If any of you readers have sweet potato recipes that you would like to share with me… send them on to me!


Connie Lou said...

The wonderful circle of life! What great people, what would the world be without giving hearts like these?

Devany said...

Connie, I firmly believe that this is what Hawaii is all about. Living in Aloha.

Sunny said...

I love it!How do I get involved with this??

Devany said...


I will send you an e-mail when we go out again. Not this weekend, but soon.