‘Aina Pono Harvest: Papaya Bread for Students

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During February, locally grown papayas will be incorporated into student meals across the state as part of the Hawai‘i State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) ‘Aina Pono Harvest of the Month program.

Fresh papayas from Hawai‘i’s farmers will be used to make papaya bread from scratch in school cafeterias statewide. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“We’ll be using fresh papayas from our farmers to make papaya bread from scratch in our school cafeterias,” said administrator School Food Services Branch Albert Scales. “Imagine your grandma’s homemade banana bread, but with a twist. This time, it’s papaya.”

The effort to include more local ingredients in student meals is made possible through various community partnerships and continued support from the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA), the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) and various local farms across the state.

“Encouraging students to eat more fruits and vegetables is beneficial to their overall development and growth,” said DOH’s School Health Coordinator Jennifer Ryan. “It provides them with the essential nutrients and vitamins that they need, strengthens the immune system, and increases their energy and concentration levels.”


Since eating habits and food preferences start at an early age, Ryan says it’s important to introduce children to new local foods and teach them how to make healthier decisions about food. “If we teach them how to make healthier food choices now, it can potentially lessen their chances of developing diabetes, being at risk for childhood obesity and having nutritional deficiencies in the long term.”


Spearheaded by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Farm to School Initiative was created in 2015 to increase locally grown food in student meals. Today, the Farm to School Initiative is included under ‘Aina Pono, which also incorporates school gardens, nutrition, health and food education, test kitchens, meal programs and menu planning at Hawai‘i’s public schools.

Farm to School Recipe: Uncle Jeff’s Papaya Bread


Want to recreate the delicious papaya bread at home? Here’s the recipe:

Servings: 12


  • 7 ⅛ ounces all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ ounce baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ ounce cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ⅞ ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 medium-sized fresh papaya
  • 9 ⅝ ounces sugar


  1. Measure and weigh out ingredients. Sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for seven minutes. Reduce speed to low and add papaya.
  3. Once well mixed, add dry ingredients and mix for one minute on low speed.
  4. Pour batter into bread pan.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 30 to 45 minutes.

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