HTFG Honors Locally Grown Fruit Supporters

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Ken Love, HTFG executive director (left) with Lesley Hill Service Award winner Xavier Chung of Kona. Courtesy photo.

The Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) recently named four recipients of its annual appreciation awards during the 27th Hawai‘i International Fruit Conference. Awards were presented to Eli Ednie of Choice Mart, Catarina Zaragoza of the Locavore Store, Sweet Cane Cafe and Xavier Chung for outstanding support of Hawai‘i’s fruit industry.

Ednie was recognized for her dedication to promoting locally grown fruit at Kealakekua Choice Mart. She also volunteers at HTFG Kona repositories which propagate fruit trees for HTFG members.

Chung, a Konawaena High School junior, received the inaugural Lesley Hill Service Award, which remembers the late Hilo fruit and vegetable grower and avid supporter of Hawai‘i agriculture.


“The HTFG board instituted the new Lesley Hill Service Award to honor Lesley, who served numerous terms as an HTFG officer and enthusiastically contributed to the health and growth of our organization,” said HTFG Executive Director Ken Love.

Chung was also recognized for his assistance in orchard maintenance at HTFG’s Kona repositories. In addition, Chung volunteers with the National Park Service in West Hawai‘i, Na Maka O Papahanaumokuakea and the University of Hawai‘i’s Sea Grant college program.

Locavore Store co-founder Catarina Zaragoza was also honored for her efforts. Located in downtown Hilo, the store sells local fruit and provides supplemental information on their varieties and origins. The detailed labeling gives buyers a clearer understanding when making their purchases.


“This attention to detail is important when introducing consumers to new and different fruits like mamey sapote,” notes Axel Kratel, president of HTFGʻs East Hawai‘i chapter. “We want buyers to have a good experience, not just so they buy the fruit again, but also so they can better recognize what fruit variety best suits their taste and needs.”

Sweet Cane Café was recognized for serving locally grown fruit in value-added products. The Hilo business–which operates in two locations–grows sugarcane in Onomea using Korean Natural Farming methods. The sugar is featured in a full line of beverages, slushies, smoothies, elixirs and drink shots. Sweet Cane also offers a wide variety of fruits in its menu.

“The Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers feels it’s important to recognize those who make significant contributions to the tropical fruit industry across the state,” said Love. “Past winners include chefs, growers and researchers.”

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