Building New Markets for HawaiiÕs Ultra Exotic Ethnic Tropical Fruits




Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers



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 Many grocery store produce departments operate on antiquated demographics and make certain assumptions that are no longer applicable with the states newer population base.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.


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.


Project Purpose:

What is the specific issue, problem, interest or need to be addressed?

There are numerous underutilized fruit crops growing around the state that are, for the most part, not being harvested or used. There are a number of reasons for this but primarily because new farmers and consumers do not know about the crops or how they were/are used. Imported fruit often takes the place of locally grown crops as what is grown here is not familiar to newer residents nor has it been promoted outside of older ethnic communities within Hawaii. In some cases, early ethnic groups brought fruit when they settled Hawaii yet subsequent no longer know how to use it. Through the work of a few dedicated researchers and chefs, the fruit is just now starting to be used in culinary applications around the state. However, there is still much more production that usage. The tremendous amount of waste from the various fruits could be turned into a profit for growers given a little consumer education. This in turn would help many small producers to achieve a higher degree of sustainability.


Why is the project important and timely?

The University of Hawaii along with HTFG has recognized that there are many underutilized fruit crops growing around the state. In response they have issued a number of extensions publications and plan to issue 6 more in Sept. of 2011. These include jaboticaba, tropical apricot, surinam cherry, jackfruit, rollinia, bilimbi, soursop, loquat, poha, figs, cherimoya, abiu, tree tomato and many others. The university has also reissued a number of older fruit publications and made them available on their website. Many of these fruits would be included in this project and sampled at locations that in the future, would be willing to sell the fruit and a regular basis as well as during this promotion. With the current economic difficulties and the new publications coming out and being publicized, this presents an opportune moment to re-introduce the more exotic fruit to the public.


What are the objectives of the project?

The primary objective is to first create awareness of unusual fruit grown in Hawaii by hosting samplings of various fruit at local groceries.  Creating a market for this locally grown fruit is of great importance to island sustainability.  HTFG members on each island will assist with facilitating communications with local growers, grocery merchants and area chefs in order to further promote the fruit both for eating out of hand as well as in culinary applications. American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Association (ACF) memberÕs will participate at locations selected and team with local growers as well as specific fruit they specialize in using.


If marketing program, describe how the state and/or applicant will ensure that funding is being used solely to enhance the competitiveness of eligible specialty crops.

The project manager or PI will monitor all aspects of the program to ensure compliance with the fundamentals of the award requirements as they are in the best interest of HTFG and growers across the state.


Potential Impact:

Who are the beneficiaries of the project?

Growers, consumers, chefs, visitors, state and   individual groceries can all benefit over time from this project. Growers will benefit from increased revenue from sales of the grossly underutilized or generally unknown fruit. The state will benefit from the growers increased revenue. ConsumerÕs benefit from the knowledge received during the demonstrations and the healthy alternatives from the locally grown fruit that replaces reliance on imports. Chefs benefit from increased knowledge learned from working with the unusual fruit and how itÕs used in different environments or cultures. They also benefit from their experience with consumers during the demonstrations. When the chefs take back this knowledge to their restaurants and hotel operations, the visitors will also benefit from their experience with unusual fruit in Hawaii.  It does become something to write home about. Stores benefit from the fruit sales for items that had not sold in the past once the demand is created.  The state in turn also benefits from this increased revenue.


How many beneficiaries will be impacted?

The project plans on demos at 7 locations on 5 islands.  This would be twice during the year.  Depending on funding and chef availability with fruit grower members, the plan would be to reach a minimal of 100 consumers each time at each location.

The plan is fro 1400 consumers to purchase packages of fruit the first time during the various demonstrations.


How will the beneficiaries be impacted by the project?

Those purchasing the fruit would learn about the healthy benefits from buying the locally grown fruit instead of imports. The difference in using juiced bilimbi versus vinegar is a good example, as vinegar has no nutritional values.  Other fruit mentioned previously as different values. Consumers as well as the chefs would be given previously created take home collateral on the individual fruit.  An example of the collateral that would be revised for this project can be seen at:


What is the potential economic impact of the project if available?

The state would receive increased revenue through normal taxation via increased sales by growers of the unusual fruit, by stores selling the ÒnewÓ fruit and though hotel restaurant sales of culinary creations with the fruit.  Building on sales and uses of the fruit would escalate, as it has already with figs and Surinam cherry during tests in the Kona district, substantially contributes to small farm sustainability.


Expected Measurable Outcomes:

What is at least one distinct, quantifiable, and measureable outcome?

Currently Grocery Stores in Hawaii do not sell the unusual fruit, When successful this project will see a 100% increase in sales as there are currently no sales. HTFG would estimate that statewide, 25 growers would see an increase of $25,000. Yearly by assistance in developing markets for the unusual fruit. This is expected to increase by 30% in year 2 and 10% in year 3.

The project goal is to demo at least one different fruit at each location for a total of 14 different fruits into the market place. If there are more available at the time of each demo then 2 different fruits might be attempted.


Project participants will continue to deliver the 14 different fruits to participating grocery stores while the fruit is available.  After the project they will notify and continue to offer the fruits to the stores along with project collateral.


The bottom line is for growers to sell more fruit that current goes to waste. HTFG and the project manager will continuously assess the results of each of the 14 planned tasting demonstrations and monitor the stores selling of the fruit as well as chef usage.  HTFG leaders on each island will assess acceptance of the usual fruit within their communities and check other locations for possible sales such as other groceries, farmers markets and restaurants.


Directly and meaningfully supports the projectÕs purpose.

The purpose in addition to increase sales of unusual fruit is to increase knowledge among consumers on choices they have with local produce, much of which is currently wasted. Consumer, Chef and grocery produce department awareness through the demonstrations can only serve to increase usage and sales from local growers.


Is of direct important to the intended beneficiaries.

Members of HTFG with the president of HTFG who would be the project manager would be involved in every step of this project and are the beneficiaries. The goal of long-term farm sustainability can only be achieved though a much greater diversification than what has been seen in the past and this serves to strengthen that by involving the beneficiaries in making the project a success. The more the members put into this the more long term sustainable they receive.



The goal of this project is to increase sales of various types of unusual locally grown ÒultraÓ exotic tropical fruit by increasing the knowledge of buyers, both retail and wholesale.



HTFG along with member wholesalers like Adaptations, the project manager will be able to establish benchmarks for sales growth of different fruit within small geographic region served by a particular store where the demonstrations are held.

This information along with all project data will be on the website.



The primary target of this project is to increase sales to stores by appealing directly to the consumers. Stores are hesitant to offer unusual fruit that they and customers are not familiar with. The demonstrations at 7 locations twice a year will offer a number of options to the target market.


Performance Measure:

Each of the 14 planned demonstrations will be evaluated against the previous ones so that they are continuously improved.


How will performance toward meeting the outcome be monitored?

HTFG Chapter president and local members will track sales of the fruit after   demonstrations and report back so that data can be accumulated for final reports and website display.


Define who your data sources are:

Data comes from both grower sales to the project and subsequent store sales of the various project fruit. 


How will data be collected?

Data will be accumulated during demos/taste tests and from growers selling the various fruit to the project and stores. The project plans to monitor fruit sales after the demonstrations in order to assess value of further promotions for the individual fruits in question.


How will data gathered be used to correct deficiencies and improve performance?

As many of the fruits are previously untested in commercial markets for consumers, the data will be extremely valuable in both helping growers determine where to focus their efforts both in growing and in marketing. Grocery stores will be able to better assess the potential for selling more exotic locally grown fruit outside of the usual ethnic markets.


When expected measurable outcomes are monitored outside of the grant period, include the performance monitoring plan in the work plan and indicate how monitoring will occur after the grant period ends without SCBGP funding.

HTFG chapter presidents will continue to monitor all aspects of this project fro including on the website.  One of the project goals is to establish a pattern for  new fruit introductions that can be followed by individual growers and grocers in the future.


Determine what the project will accomplish:

This project plans to accomplish helping local growers of exotic tropical fruit expand sales over the long term.


Figure out how to measure the results and select the performance measure:

Sales figures will be monitored and reported along the supply and sales chains.


Determine the baseline for each measure and set target goals for future performance:

This project will determine baselines for tests with other types of fruit in the future. Initially, the goal is to build acceptance of different fruit in different segments of the community of consumers and chefs by hosting demonstrations at produce departments of major grocery stores. This project will establish the procedures that can be followed in the future.


Develop your performance monitoring plan or data collection plan:

The project manager will be responsible for monitoring all aspects and accumulating all data for outreach distribution and final reports.


Work Plan:

Identify the activities necessary to accomplish project objectives.

Upon notification of award, the project manager, Ken Love, (PM) will begin to coordinate with HTFG chapter presidents on each island as to which crops would be available from their members and in what time frame. The PM has had preliminary discussions with HTFG members, chefs and grocers as to hosting the demonstrations and tastings with the unusual fruit so project follow through should be relatively easy. The PM will determine the best date at each location in conjunction with crop availability, chef schedule and grocery store availability.   For each of the 14 demonstrations, the PM will direct project publicity that will take place 1 to 2 weeks ahead of the demo. The store will decide which day of the week is best for maximum effectiveness. HTFG members will purchase crop from project funds, from growers both for chef demos, taste tests, and for the store to sell.  The PM will travel to each location to facilitate the events with local HTFG members and chefs.  The PM will design and create material on the specific fruit that can be distributed at each location.  This material will be thoroughly researched and include recipes from guest chefs.


Indicate who will do the work for each activity.

Each HTFG board member will assist the project manager with identifying and obtaining fruit crops from local growers to be used at the local demonstrations.


Project Manager: Ken Love      (HTFG State president)

                                                                        (ACF- Kona Kohala Chefs Assoc. AG committee Chair)

Kona:  Brian Lievens                       (HTFG West Hawaii President)

Hilo: Randy Bruckner   (HTFG East Hawaii President)

Kauai: John Anderson & Liz Ito (HTFG Kauai President & State Vice President)

Oahu: Mark Suiso                             (HTFG Oahu/Mango President)

Maui: Chuck Borner                        (HTFG Maui President)

Additional HTFG Board members include:

Marla Hunter (Kau)

Derrick Nishimura (Kona)

Doug MacCluer (Maui)

Tom Baldwin (Kohala)


Include timelines for each activity.

April 2012 

An advisory committee with UH faculty and community members will be formed.

Project manager begins coordination with stores, growers and chefs.

Collateral developed and printed.

First round demo publicity begins.

May 2012

Fruit purchased from growers with samples for chefs to prepare. The first taste test demo will be held in Kona at Choice Mart Grocery. Advisory committee meets to discuss results of first demo and make needed adjustments.

June 2012

Maui demo held

Molokai demo held

July 2012

Oahu demo 1 held

Oahu demo 2 held

August 2012

Hilo demo held

Kauai demo held

September 2012

Data gathered and analyzed with results posted on  Assessments and recommendations made with advisory committee on fruit utilized. Round two demos planed with different fruit and chefs.

october 2012

Hilo demo held

Kauai demo held

November 2012

Oahu demo 1 held

Oahu demo 2 held

December 2012

Maui demo held

Molokai demo held

January 2013

Kona demo held

February 2014

Data gathered and compiled.  Outreach begins with HTFG, ACF Chefs and other interested commodity groups. Meetings held to discuss results.

March 2014

Advisory committee meets to discus results and possible future actions.

Final report prepared and submitted.


Budget Narrative:


Project Manager salary of $15,000.00 plus a matching $15,000.00 in in-kind time for 1 year. Based on $1250.00 per month salary and $1250.00 in in-kind donation.

This represents a FTE of 0.43 and  is fixed fee.


Fringe Benefits – Not applicable 



Project manager airfare to ten different demonstration taste testing sites:

Based on January 2012 Non-refundable fares. 

$212 times 10 = $2120.00


Auto travel to Big Island sites $400.00

Four round trips between Kona and Hilo at 185 miles per trip=740 miles total at 55¢ per mile (Based on IRS 7-1-2011 rate)


Auto Rental

Based on $165 base rate (Alamo) at 3 days per location at $495.00 x 10 off island locations  $4950.00 (full size car is need to transport fruit and other supplies to demo sites)


Hotel & per diem $200.00 per diem (2 nights per location including meals)




Fruit purchased for each location taste test (14 demos)     $8400.00

Packaging material for fruit and stores $500.00

In-kind fruit donation valued at $8400.00


Based on 3 types of fruit per location at 14 locations, 400 portions per fruit per location at $2.00 per portion. Portions include fruit used by chefs, used for consumer taste tests, and given to store for test marketing.



Collateral developed by project manager for each of the fruits to be handed out at the taste test demos. $750.00

(Complete Art Service Hawaii estimate attached)


Chefs honorarium


Based on $300.00 per demonstration at 14 locations.              



$2000.00 for location press releases and media follow-up.

(Fern Gravelek Communications estimate attached)


Web site 

$500.00 To create and manage a project specific section of the site.

(Blue Dolphin Networks estimate attached)


Misc. communication and supplies

Temporary project telephone number 18 months ($40. Per month)                   $720.00

Ink and paper for test copies and correspondence ($20 per month) $240.00

Postage                                                                                                                                                                 $40.00

Total                                                                                                                                                                       $1000.00



Total request $43,320.00

Total In-kind match $23,400.00

Total Budget $66,720.00


Budget Sheet


Item/Activity                                                                            SCBGP-FB, FY                                        Matching

                                                                                                            2011 Funds                                             in-kind


Personnel                                                                                    $15,000.00                                             $15,000.00

Air Travel                                                                                     $   2120.00

On Island auto Travel                                                        $      400.00

Auto Rental                                                                               $    4950.00

Hotel & Per diem                                                                   $    4000.00

Fruit                                                                                                 $    8400.00                                            $    8400.00

Printing                                                                                          $       750.00

Chef honorarium                                                                   $     4200.00

Publicity                                                                                        $     2000.00

Web site                                                                                       $       500.00

Misc. communications and supplies                      $     1000.00

Total                                                                                               $ 43,320.00                                            $23,400.00


Project Oversight:

Who will oversee the project activities?

The project manager is responsible for all project activities and will report to the HTFG board of directors and advisory committee.


How will the oversight be performed?

The HTFG holds quarterly board meetings  and weekly email updates on its various activities. In addition ongoing activities, project publicity and demo results will be posted on the HTFG website monthly.


Project Commitment:

Describe how all grant partners commit to and work towards the goals and outcome measures of the proposed project.

Members of HTFG on each island will have the chance to participate in this project, on their home island.  They will have a voice in what fruit to use during the demo/taste tests as well as be able to sell the fruit to the project. The goal is that they benefit from continued sales of unusual fruit after the project is over.


Identify who supports this project.

Preliminary discussions with potential stores and chefs show overwhelming support. This includes the American Culinary Federation Kona Kohala Chefs Assoc., Whole Foods , Choice Mart (Captain Cook) and others.