Business

“Olive You”

June 5, 2012, 10:30 AM HST
* Updated June 5, 2:43 PM
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The Hawai’i agriculture industry has a potential new crop with exciting business prospects.

Tuesday June 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Waimea Civic Center’s conference room, two guest speakers will lecture about the intriguing possibilities of olives on the Big Island.

Olives are more than a little finicky. Hawai’i has a history of trying to grow olives for over 100 years. Early records indicate that in 1904, olive plants fruited in Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a here on the Big Island, but failed to bear well in Kalihi Valley on O’ahu.

At this informational tasting and lecture, Kacie Ho and Dr. Wayne Iwaoka will discuss the components necessary for successful crop growth.

Ho holds a degree from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Dr. Iwaoka is a Food Scientist in UH Manoa’s Food and Nutrition department.

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Attendees will sample a variety of Spanish olive oils and learn of Spanish olive growth, harvest and processing.

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While there is some interest in growing olives as a sustainable industry here on the island and in the state, crops will take 15 to 17 years to yield a viable harvest. This little fruit will take considerable time and financial commitment. At least one nursery in Kona sells olive seedlings.

As people worldwide continue to focus on more health conscious lifestyles, food industries that support this shift are gaining in momentum and profit margins.

Olive oil is high in polyphenols, protective against heart disease, Type II diabetes, some cancers, and age-related senility. It may also help lower cholesterol and improve blood sugar control.

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For those interested in learning more about this potential industry, reserve your seat by calling the Kamuela Cooperative Extension office at 808-887-6183. This is a free event, but space is limited. The Waimea Civic Center is located at 67-5189 Kamamalu Road in Kamuela.

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