Building New Markets for Hawaiis Ultra Exotic Ethnic Tropical Fruits
New for 2012
A new project funded by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and USDA Specialty Crops block grants.
The goal of this project is to introduce unusual tropical fruit that already grows in Hawaii to that part of the population not familiar with them. Many grocery store produce departments operate on antiquated demographics and make certain assumptions that are no longer applicable with the states newer population base. Fruit such as bilimbi, jackfruit, Surinam cherry, abiu, jaboticaba and many others are grown in enough quantity that they could be sold at groceries and beyond the usual farmers markets and to aware chefs.
„NEW„ Twentysix Project Recipes PDF
The project proposes to hold a series of 14 taste tests and chef demonstrations utilizing the unusual fruit at host grocery stores around the state. At each taste test demo, a guest chef, project manager and local Hawaii Tropical Fruit Grower members will be on hand to share their knowledge in using unusual fruit. The fruit will also be made available to the stores to sell on a continuous basis.
Utilization of Exotic tropical specialty fruit and their markets have dramatically increased in the past ten years according to the Hawaii branch of the National Agriculture Statistic Service, almost doubling from 2006 to 2007. The more unusual fruit covered in this project is expected to further increase these figures when the university releases new publications, late in 2011. The project expects to foster small farm sustainability by increasing markets for some of the states more unusual fruit.
Whole Foods does a great job of marketing local with slogans like "So local you can taste it". We received an extemely positive response to rickys recipes and samples as well as the fresh fruit. We used 20 lbs of Andrew Yamane's tree tomatoes in the recipe and 15 bs of whole fruit cut into sections. All together we handed out about 450 samples. Ian Cole had a few hundred ulu samples and Doug MacCLuer;s Haile Maile Maui Gold pineapple samples are always a big hit. This was a very positive first event for this program as WF bought 50 lbs of tree tomatoes and we watched them selling after people tried the recipe.
Kevin Haney at Whole Foods Kahala Mall Oahu on May 19th from 1 to 3
A lot of lessons were learned at the first Oahu tasting, primarily on packaging and shipping Surinam Cherry. Chef's recipes were fantastic with many people wishing to buy them as a jarred product. Jackfruit was well with zero negative comments. It seemed to sell extremely well too.
Kauai Taste Test with Chef Miguel Magana of Tahiti Nui
Lessons learned on Kauai include the need to have someone to hand out the recipes. Liz passing them out was very effective in getting shoppers to engauge us in conversation and learn about the fruit. Better signage is still needed. People asked what we were selling. They did buy about 25 lbs of calamonsie and the store is selling that every week. Prior to the project they had never sold calamonsie.