HTFG Issues Appreciation Awards at Conference

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The Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) named the recipients of its annual appreciation awards at the 28th Annual Hawai‘i International Tropical Fruit Conference at Leeward Community College in Pearl City on O‘ahu.

The conference runs through Sept. 23, 2018, on O‘ahu and continues with five gatherings on the neighbor islands.

The annual awards tap individuals who advance—through research, education and practice—the use of tropical fruits to support a sustainable, local food industry. This year’s five recipients are Ken Yamamura of Maui, Chef Robert Love and Dr. Marisa Wall of Hawai‘i Island, and Dr. Mark Wright and Noe Neumann of O‘ahu.

Lauded with the new William K. Trask Chefs Award, Chef Love is recognized for the use of locally grown fruit and produce in his creative cuisine as executive sous chef at Hula Hulas in Hilo’s Grand Naniloa Hotel. The inaugural award is named after the late Chef Trask, a Maui native, who advocated for the use of locally grown food in Hawai‘i cuisine.


Dr. Wall is tapped with the new Roger Vargas Research Award for her past research and current leadership role at the Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center. (PBARC). The award honors Roger Vargas, a PBARC researcher who was tragically killed in a car accident.

“Marisa’s research and the projects she advocates for have been of tremendous assistance to growers statewide,” said Ken Love, HTFG executive director.

Dr. Wright of the University of Hawai‘i is recognized with a service award for his continuous ability and willingness to answer questions on HTFG’s Facebook page—a public group with nearly 6,000 members.


Also earning a service award is Yamamura, an agricultural specialist for the County of Maui, for dedicated years of service to the isle’s agricultural community and the State of Hawai‘i.

Neumann, of Lokoea Farms in Haleiwa, takes home the Lesley Hill Service Award for revitalizing the O‘ahu HTFG chapter and organizing the 2018 conference. The award is named after the late Lesley Hill, an HTFG founder, who farmed hearts of palm and a cornucopia of fruit in Hilo.

Geared to farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture, the multi-day conference is presented by the statewide Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and open to the public.


The 2018 conference is titled “Bringing It All Together” and offers a lineup of visiting researchers and agro experts sharing information and breakout sessions on a variety of topics. One-day mini conferences, also with speakers, start Monday, Sept. 24 on Kaua‘i and continue on consecutive days in Moloka‘i, Maui, Hilo and Kona. Award recipients Love and Yamamura will receive their awards at gatherings at their isle locations.

Registration forms and fee schedule are available online.

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