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Hawai‘i Island Ulu to Be Served in Public Schools Statewide

March 5, 2018, 9:32 AM HST (Updated March 9, 2018, 12:57 PM)
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HUC_FarmtoSchool_Poster Hawai‘i Ulu Cooperative Farm to School Poster for cafeterias across the State of Hawai‘i. March 1, 2018. PC: Hawaii Ulu Coop.The Hawai‘i Ulu Cooperative (HUC) is collecting and processing Hawai‘i Island ulu to feed public school students at all 300 Department of Education schools throughout the state.

HUC is a co-op of local farmers dedicated to revitalizing the production and enjoyment of breadfruit.

The DOE placed its first order with HUC in Dec. 2017, challenging HUC to harvest and process 10,000 pounds of breadfruit as part of a farm to table initiative, ‘Aina Pono Harvest of the Month program.

Ulu, once a staple in the Hawaiian diet, will be featured on school lunch menus statewide starting in March 2018.

Breadfruit will be served combined with shredded kalua pork and spinach into a local-style burrito, along with homemade salsa and locally made tortillas.

Anissa Lucero and Taimi Pajimola, Hawai‘i Ulu Cooperative staff members preparing ulu for Hawaii DOE lunches across the state. Feb. 2018. PC: Hawaii Ulu Coop.

“Schools have always been a primary target market for the co-op because of the alignment with food security, sustainability and educating the next generation about ulu, as well as to foster a love and familiarity of the fruit among youth, explained Dana Shapiro, HUC manager. “For ulu to become a key part of our food system again, people have to be aware of its benefits and culinary uses and also like it and have had good experiences eating it!”

Shapiro also explained that ulu is considered a whole grain by the USDAʻs school meals program, which means ulu can be substituted for some imported grains.

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“Ulu is an extremely nutritious source of carbohydrate with low glycemic index and high dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and even protein,” said Shapiro.

HUC will harvest fruit islandwide for this school order until March 5, 2018, but will continue to harvest and accept dropoffs of fruit for schools for its next order.

Donations are accepted but HUC is also willing to $1 per pound for coop members and $0.75 per pound for nonmembers.

“If folks have fruit bearing trees that aren’t being utilized or are looking for market opportunities for their crop, we would love to connect with them,” said Shapiro.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Contact HUC if you have a tree bearing fruit now and/or need help picking fruit.
  • Drop off fruit at one of the two drop-off locations, in Hilo at Sweet Cane Café and HUC’s Honalo Facility in South Kona.

In addition to HIDOE schools, this year HUC is working with the Hawai‘i Academy of Arts and Sciences and Kona Pacific Public Charter School. Each school purchases steamed-frozen ulu quarters to make delicious salads, smoothies, muffins and pizza crust.

In addition to this historic farm-to-table harvest and processing to feed Hawai‘i’s keiki, HUC’s main product line is steamed-frozen cuts for foodservice, including schools, restaurants, caterers and hospitals. Cuts come in quarters, slices, dices, fries and mash.

HUC also created a line of ulu hummus in two flavors—traditional and inamona-macnut—which are available at nearly 20 grocers on the Big Island.

For more information on Feed The Keiki go online.

RELATED LINK
Hawai‘i Public Schools Serving Breadfruit

Crystal Richard
Crystal Richard moved to East Hawai’i in 2005 to attend UH Hilo. While earning her bachelor’s degree in English and a certificate to teach English as a second language, Crystal served as the editor-in-chief of “Hohonu,” UH Hilo’s academic journal, and as assistant editor-in-chief at “KeKalahea,” UH Hilo’s student newspaper. From a young age, Crystal fell in love with the written word and has always dreamed of a career in journalism. She has worked as a Big Island Now freelance reporter since September 2016. She is a wellness and health advocate who enjoys swimming, gardening, reading and spending time with her animals and loved ones.
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