Posts belonging to Category Pasture-Raised Beef Hawaii



Goat, lamb and chicken producers weigh in on what isle consumers expect in locally produced meats

Expectations for locally produced meats—and the reasons for buying them— vary among restaurants, grocers and home cooks according to Big Isle meat producers. In our last blog we interviewed beef and pork producers, today we hear from those ranching goat, lamb and chicken.

Double “D” Ranch

Double “D” Ranch

Double “D” Ranch
Credit: Courtesy Double “D” Ranch

“Customers want and expect a fresh product that was just walking through the pasture before it ended up on their plate,” says Joanna Nobriga, co-owner of Double “D” Ranch. “They want a product that has a distinct taste and looks fresh.  They want something with minimal inputs and no hormones or antibiotics.  They get that at Double “D” Ranch.  Our animals are raised in a low-stress environment; they are out there enjoying the Hawaiian sun and grazing grass.”

Double “D” Ranch of Laupahoehoe produces pasture-raised goats, sheep and cattle, plus grain-fed hogs, and for the most part, sells live animals direct to consumers. Per customer request, Double “D” will also send animals to Kulana Foods for processing. They also sell fresh, frozen meat, provide farm services to others and sell calves for finishing on the Mainland. In addition, they grow heart of palm.

Double “D” Ranch

Double “D” Ranch
Credit: Courtesy Double “D” Ranch

The Nobrigas started producing goats in 1996 and by introducing new genetics, have improved their herd. Goats are browsers and will eat trees, legumes, forbs (herbaceous flowering plants) and grasses—and your flowerbeds if you don’t watch out!

Regarding the importance of purchasing local meat, Nobriga feels consumers need to know the product is from their “neighborhood.”

Benefits of buying local meat direct

There are multiple benefits when buying an animal direct from the producer. At Double “D”, consumers can come to the farm and choose their animal if they buy the entire animal.  They can also ask questions about the product.

Nobriga adds consumers need to understand it costs more to produce animals in Hawai‘i, so the price tag may be higher. “The cost to get it to market for the producer is higher in Hawai‘i than it would be for a producer in the mainland to raise a similar animal.”

Purchase goats, sheep, hogs and cattle from Double “D” by phoning 808-936-5371 or emailing heartofpalmhawaii@live.com. For more info, visit www.double-d-ranchhawaii.com.

Punachicks Farm

Punachicks Farm

Punachicks Farm
Credit: Courtesy Punachicks Farm

Emily Taaroa, co-owner of Punachicks Farm, feels consumers want to have a connection to where their food is produced. “They want to know the animals were treated ethically and produced with high standards.  Many local consumers prefer to buy poultry and pork from farms that use organic and GMO-free feed.”

Located in Kea‘au and soon to move to a larger farm in Kuristown, Punachicks sells fresh whole broiler chickens, plus chicken livers, hearts, gizzards and feet and also plans to begin marketing lamb. The farm sells to restaurants, retailers and direct to customers who pick up fresh chickens at the farm on processing days.

Punachicks Farm

Punachicks Farm
Credit: Courtesy Punachicks Farm

“Restaurants expect consistent, fresh, high-quality products and are always looking for something new and interesting to put on their menus,” details Taaroa.  “Retailers require special packaging and labeling to make the product stand out on the shelf.”

Regarding direct customers, Taaroa says entire families come to pick up their order and get to see how their food is raised.

“We have been able to develop close relationships with our (direct) customers that we have cultivated through mutual respect and trust.  For those of our customers that live farther away, we also offer a Waimea delivery once a quarter where our customers can pre-order on our website and pick up their fresh chickens at a predetermined time and location,” she continues.

Purchasing local a win-win

According to Taaroa, if you’re able to purchase direct from the meat producer, you get the best prices available while the producer gets the best return for his products.  “Buying local meat keeps your money in our local economy, since farmers love to also buy from other local producers,” she adds. “It may take more effort to buy locally produced meat, but you will be rewarded with a much higher-quality product that you can feel good about feeding your family.”

Chicken products by Punachicks can be ordered direct at www.punachicksfarm.com. The website also lists all the retail outlets selling product as well as restaurants serving it. “We try to make our chickens available for anyone who wants to try them, so they are stocked in almost every health food store on the island for those customers who value convenience and can also be purchased directly from the farm for those who want to get the best price,” notes Taaroa.

Kahua Ranch

Kahua Ranch

Kahua Ranch
Credit: Courtesy Kahua Ranch

“Quality” and a “readily available, consistent product” are what all consumers expect when it comes to locally produced meat, says Pamela Richards Ketchum of Kahua Ranch.

The daughter of ranch founder Monty Richards, Ketchum says Kahua is currently raising cattle and sheep. “Most of our calves will go to the mainland/continental U.S. to different (finishing) programs. Lamb is kept locally and both are sold out of our meat store on property. These products are pasture-raised and -finished.”

Kahua Ranch Ltd. goes back to the purchase of the ranch from Frank Woods in 1928 by the Richards and Von Holt families. The ranch was split in the 1980s to form Kahua Ranch Ltd. and Ponoholo Ranch. Ranching has been a family business for both families for 88-plus years. Kahua is located between Waimea and Hawi on the picturesque slopes of the Kohala Mts.

Kahua Ranch

Kahua Ranch
Credit: Courtesy Kahua Ranch

“Our clients range from businesses taking whole animals to personal/private chefs to individual shoppers, including those who have vacation homes here,” she shares. The customer base is also comprised of people seeking a healthy protein on the advice of their physician. “These doctors are looking to have their patients eat a beef product that helps support the body during an illness or medical treatment.”

Ketchum says animals are raised in a very low stress environment and are provided with minerals to meet nutritional needs; however, they are not fed grains.

She adds, “Local meats do not have to travel far.  Here in Hawai‘i anything that is shipped in has already had to travel a minimum of 2500 miles before making it to the shelf of your grocery store.  Local products are fresher and the product has had less handling… Although meat is aged before being cut and sold, it still is a fresher product when it does not have to travel long distances.”

Visit small, onsite meat market

Purchase lamb and beef direct from Kahua Ranch. Shoppers should phone first to insure personnel are staffing the meat market and to ensure desired cuts are in stock, 808-882-4646. “High-end steaks are one of the first items that sell out,” noted Ketchum. For more info, visit, www.kahuaranch.com.

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Beef, pork producers weigh in on what isle consumers expect in locally produced meats

Expectations for locally produced meats—and the reasons for buying them— vary among restaurants, grocers and home cooks according to Big Isle ranchers and swine producers.

Paniolo Cattle Company

Paniolo Cattle Company in Waimea

Paniolo Cattle Company in Waimea (Courtesy Paniolo Cattle Company)

Jason Van Tassell, of Parker Ranch’s Paniolo Cattle Company (PCC) in Waimea says “consumers want quality beef with the knowledge the animals were raised humanely and responsibly in a sustainable environment.” He feels local consumers want to know where their beef comes from and the story behind the product: the who, where, when, how and why.

Tassel adds that wholesalers want local beef “at a price they can support” while restaurants need “consistency in quality and supply.”

Paniolo Cattle Company in Waimea

Paniolo Cattle Company in Waimea (Courtesy Paniolo Cattle Company)

To help meet the demand for locally produced beef, PCC committed to producing 1500 animals in 2014 and 2015 and has “plans to expand as the marketing chain strengthens.” PCC was launched in 2014 as a joint venture between Parker Ranch and Ulupono Initiative to produce a “more robust, local beef supply chain.” PCC is attempting to reduce beef production costs by focusing on animal husbandry based on sound pasture management, including operating irrigated forage pastures and employing rotational pasture techniques.

PCC beef newly available to shoppers

Starting in February 2016, Paniolo Cattle Company began selling its labeled beef at Safeway supermarkets. Find it at the Hilo and Kona stores on Hawai‘i Island and the Beretania Street location on O‘ahu. It is also available to the food service industry through Y. Hata & Company’s ChefZone.
http://paniolocattle.com

Kuahiwi Ranch Natural Beef

Kuahiwi Ranch in Na‘ahelu

Kuahiwi Ranch in Na‘ahelu (Courtesy Kuahiwi Ranch)

Michelle Galimba of Kuahiwi Ranch in Na‘alehu says consumers desire a consistent quality product that contributes to the sustainability of Hawai‘i. She finds having a consistent supply is more important to grocers and restaurateurs while chefs request specific cuts and new products.

“A lot of chefs are interested in the idea of utilizing the whole animal, but logistically, it’s difficult for them to do so while following their menu,” she details. Home consumers, she says, want a wide range of cuts and want to know about the product. “If they believe in the product they are willing to pay more.”

Galimba says it’s important for consumers to know that buying locally raised beef “supports island families and supports green space in Hawai‘i.”

The family owned and operated ranch offers pasture-raised, locally produced beef that’s free of antibiotics and hormones. Marketed as “natural beef,” animals are raised free-range on grass pasture and finished on grass supplemented with barley, corn and cottonseed. Meat is processed at Hawai‘i Beef Packers in Pa‘auilo with third-party certified humane practices.

Where to enjoy Kuahiwi beef

Established in 1993, Kuahiwi ranches 2,500 head on 8,500 acres. The beef, branded as Kuahiwi Ranch Natural Beef, is sold at Foodland, Whole Foods statewide and the Volcano Village and Na‘alehu Farmers Markets. It’s served on O‘ahu at Town and Alan Wong’s restaurants and on the menu at the Big Isle’s Volcano House, Kilauea Lodge and Eagles Lighthouse Café—all in Volcano Village. www.kuahiwiranch.com

Ahualoa Hog Farm

Ahualoa Hog Farm

Ahualoa Hog Farm (Courtesy Ahualoa Hog Farm)

Daphne McKeehan of Ahualoa Hog Farm feels consumers need to know local meat “is not from mass-produced animals and a lot of thought and care goes into it.”

Located in Ahualoa, the McKeehans raise hogs and lambs for market and specialize in the “clean, disease-free” breeding stock of these animals. They offer a locally raised “heritage” breed of hog. Heritage breeds are known for exceptional meat qualities that aren’t common in mass-produced swine operations. Ahualoa’s heritage breeds take longer to grow and come to market maturity, but they offer exceptional meat. Hogs are raised antibiotic- and hormone-free on both grain and pasture. The farm also produces lambs in a similar way geared as meat-producing (not wool) animals.

Buy meat direct from farm

Ahualoa sells its meat directly from the farm to isle residents two ways. It can be purchased as a live animal that the buyer can harvest and process or take to a commercial processor. Meat is also sold in frozen packages by the meat cut and pound. www.ahualoahogfarm.com

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What’s New at the Mealani Research Station?

Located on the wet side of Waimea, the University of Hawai‘i’s at Manoa (UHM) Mealani Research Station is where Taste of the Hawaiian Range was founded. A leader in grass-fed beef research, the facility investigates and demonstrates several products for island farmers and ranchers to use.

Current research projects include propagation of healthy food system products—grass-fed beef, blueberries and tea; forage and grasses for grass-finished livestock; growing of alternative crops like tropical varieties of peaches; field education for culinary students and beef cattle artificial insemination/cow breeding for UH animal science or pre-veterinary students.

Year-long pasture trials for grass-fed beef

Grass-fed animals at Mealani Research Station

Grass-fed animals at Mealani Research Station

New, year-long grass-fed beef trials are underway involving three different controlled pasturing systems for 36 animals. According to Mealani Farm Manager Marla Fergerstrom, the goal of the project is to “study stocking density on pasture and its effect on animal performance and carcass quality.” The study determines the rotation of the animals by the measurement of forage available for the animals to consume under the trial’s conditions. The trials began January 2015 with 12 market animals per treatment group. These animals will be slaughtered at the end of the 12-month period and their carcasses analyzed for quality.

“The trial will continue for the next few years so we will have several years of data,” shares Fergerstrom. “Carcasses from the harvested animals will be evaluated. Data collected will include weight, quality grade and at a later date, shear testing, which is a measure of tenderness.

Typically, cattle at Mealani are raised using an intensive grazing technique that involves daily rotation of separate groups of steers (market animals), heifers (young females) and mama cows/calves among paddocks so each group of animal is always digesting the same part of the grass stalk. Steers consume the top of the grass, which has the highest protein content to help the animal put on the most weight, followed by heifers that eat the middle of the stalk and cow/calves that consume the bottom and get the most fiber. Mealani manages a herd of 150 animals on about 145 acres this way, which allows the maximum use of a consistent type of forage for the grazing animals.

In the new trials, there are 36 animals split among three “treatments” that each offer a different controlled pasturing technique. One puts 12 animals in six acres to graze continually only in that acreage. The second treatment puts 12 animals in an acre-and-a-half pen and they’re moved based on the available forage during the grazing period in that area to where forage is available. The third treatment splits six acres into one-acre pens and 12 cattle are rotated in the same manner as the second group. The trial involves steers and heifers.

Cover crop project to control erosion, amend soil

Non-dormancy blueberries

Non-dormancy blueberries

Mealani recently completed a cover crop project to evaluate different plant species that can be used by farmers to prevent erosion and improve soil fertility in our tropical climate. The project involved two trial treatments—till or no till—using the same seed selection of lablab, hairy vetch, rye grass, velvet bean, radish, soybean and cow pea.

“For the till treatment, we mowed the crop and left the plant material to degrade in the plots, including the roots,” details Fergerstrom. “In the no-till treatment, the crop was allowed to continue growing.”

Soil samples were taken prior to the start of the project and at its completion. However, results aren’t yet available.

Mealani continues its research on growing non-dormancy or evergreen blueberries under cover in a hot house. Technicians, under the direction of researchers, are working on refining pruning techniques on 100 plants to better fruit production and reduce the incidence of disease, such as rust. Started in 2005, the goal is to investigate the development of blueberries as an alternative, high value crop for farmers.

For more information on the Mealani Research Station and Hawai‘i agricultural research, visit http://www.tasteofthehawaiianrange.com/about-taste-of-the-hawaiian-range/mealani.html.

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Where to Get Pasture-Raised Beef on Hawai‘i Island: Retailers, Restaurants and Resorts

By Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Retailers are listed in bold.

Info is subject to change. This list is alphabetized and divided into geographic areas for convenience. Check with resorts for specific restaurants serving pasture-raised beef. This list was compiled by contacting those listed—however, some locations may have been inadvertently missed. To have your biz put on this list, kindly email ferng@hawaii.rr.com. Updated 7.2015. Mahalo!

EAST SIDE

Honoka‘a-HamakuaFood2
Grandma’s Kitchen, Honoka’a-775-9943
Green Café, Honoka’ai-775-0004
JJ’s Country Market, Honoka‘a-775-7744
Tex Drive In, Honoka‘a-775-0598
The Landing, Honoka’a-775-0888

Hilo
Bueno Burrito-930-6565
Café Pesto-969-6640
Don’s Grill-935-9099
Hilo Bay Café-935-4939
Island Naturals Market & Deli-935-5533
KTA Super Stores: Puainako St.- 959-9111, Keawe St.-935-3751

East Hawai‘i-South
Foodland, Kea‘au-966-9316
Island Naturals Market & Deli, Pahoa-965-8322
J Hara Store, Kuristown-966-5462
Kaleo’s Restaurant, Pahoa-965-5600
Malama Market, Pahoa-965-2105
Verna’s Too, Mountain View-968-8774
Volcano Store, Volcano Village-967-7210 

SOUTH SIDE

Ka‘u
Meheʻs Ka‘u Bar & Grill, Ocean View-929-7200
Shaka Restaurant & Bar, Naʻalehu-929-7404

WEST SIDE

North Kohala/KawaihaeTommyBahama 2014-244
Big Island Brewhaus, Waimea-887-1717
Blue Dragoon, Kawaihae-882-7771
Café Pesto, Kawaihae-882-1071
Figs Mix Plate, Kapa‘au-889-1989
Hawai‘i Island Retreat, Kapa‘au-889-6336
Kahua Ranch, North Kohala-882-4646
Kohala Burger & Taco, Kawaihae Shopping Center-880-1923
M. Nakahara Store, Hawi-889-6359
Minnie’s ‘Ohana Lim Style, Kapa‘au-889-5288
Sushi Rock, Hawi-889-5900
Takata Store, Hawi-889-5261

Waimea
Dano-o’s Dönor-333-2322
Earl’s Waimea-887-1800
Healthways II, Parker Ranch Center-885-6775
KTA Super Store-885-8866
Merriman’s-885-6822
Paniolo Country Inn-885-4377
The Fish & The Hog Market Cafe-885-6268
Village Burger, Parker Ranch Center-885-7319

Kohala Coast/Waikoloa Village:Hapuna
The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i, Kohala Coast-885-2000
Foodland Farms, Shops at Mauna Lani-887-6101
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Ka‘upulehu-325-8000
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Kohala Coast-880-1111
Island Gourmet Market, Waikoloa Queens’ MarketPlace-886-3577
Lava Lava Beach Club, ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay, 769-5282
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kohala Coast, 882-7222
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Kohala Coast-885-6622
Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill, Waikoloa Kings’ Shops-886-4321
Tommy’s Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Shops at Mauna Lani-881-8686
Waikoloa Village Market, Waikoloa Highlands Center-883-1088

Kona:
Annie’s Island Fresh Burgers, Kainaliu-324-6000
Choice Mart Super Market, Captain Cook-323-3994
Daylight Mind Coffee Co., Waterfront Row, Kailua-Kona-329-7824
Harbor House, Honokohau Marina-326-4166
Holuakoa Café, Holualoa-322-2233
Island Lava Java Bistro & Grill, Kailua-Kona-327-2161
Kona Brew Pub, Kailua-Kona-334-2739
Island Naturals Market & Deli: Kailua-Kona-326-1122, Kainaliu-930-7550
KTA Super Stores: Kailua-Kona-329-1677, Keauhou-322-2311
Mahina Café, Captain Cook-323-3200
Mi’s Italian Bistro, Captain Cook-323-3880SamChoysCUlinary
Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Keauhou Shopping Center-333-3434
Sandy’s Drive In, Kainaliu-322-2161
Ultimate Burger, Kailua-Kona-329-2326

To Purchase Beef in Bulk:

Hawaii Beef Producers, Pa‘auilo-776-1109 or JJ’s Country Market, Honoka‘a-775-7744
Kahua Ranch, North Kohala-882-4646
Kulana Foods, Hilo-959-9144

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Tips for Purchasing Big Isle Pasture-Raised Beef:

Save the Date:

10.9.2015 for Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range at the Hilton Waikoloa Village: http://tasteofthehawaiianrange.com/

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Chefs Pair with Specific Ranches and Farms

As shared in our last blog, Taste offers a new presentation format for seven culinary stations (out of a total of 30). Seven chefs will be paired with meat from a specific ranch and produce from a specific farm and they will be out on the Lagoon Lanai. These food “players” will be identified by signage at their culinary stations for attendees. Event chair Jeri Moniz says the purpose for the pairings is to foster more communication between food producers and the user of their products—chefs.  We checked in with more of the partnered ranchers and chefs to get their take on the challenges of providing local beef and the benefits of using it.

KK Ranch with The Feeding Leaf

Rancher Jason Moniz

Rancher Jason Moniz with Tee
Credit: Photo courtesy KK Ranch

KK Ranch is located near Kalopa/Pa‘auilo and has a herd of 700 cows on 5,200 acres on the Hamakua Coast. Rancher Jason Moniz says KK is predominately a cow-calf operation that finishes most of its animals on the Mainland through the Country Natural Beef cooperative program, meaning the cattle are fed a combination of pasture and other natural products with no added hormones or antibiotics. KK keeps and finishes some of its herd here on the Big Isle for local consumption, including 50 animals in 2013.

In the business for 26 years, Moniz says the biggest challenge for keeping local beef at home is increasing feed for cattle here on island. There aren’t many places where the weather is conducive to produce adequate forage year round. He says this not only applies to Hawai‘i, but also to the Mainland U.S.

“We’ve been working to get reasonable prices for water from the Hamakua Ditch so we can irrigate pasture,” he detailed. “A bill recently passed that cuts the price in half so hopefully, between irrigation and rainfall, we can keep the grass growing.”

Partnering with KK Ranch at Taste is a new event planning and catering partnership, The Feeding Leaf. The company’s head

Chef Scott Hiraishi

Chef Scott Hiraishi of The Feeding Leaf
Credit: Photo by Anna Pacheco

honcho in the kitchen is Chef Scott Hiraishi, who earned his culinary chops working under Chef Sam Choy and while at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa.

A life-long, Hawai‘i resident, Hiraishi has spent the last few years building relationships with Big Isle food producers and collaborating with Kamehameha Schools Land Asset Division in their farm-to-table initiatives. He says he prefers to use food grown here and will tweak the menu to use local products, rather than sourcing from afar. “I want to support the local economy,” he shares.

Chef Scott says local, pasture-raised beef is flavorful but he has been challenged to get enough. “It’s hard to keep up with the available quantity,” he explains. “A rancher only slaughters so many animals at one time, so there’s a limit to the quantity of certain cuts.”

Chef Scott is assigned skirt steak at Taste and is preparing it miso-grilled on ginger rice. He will marinade it for a day in a base of miso, ginger, sugar, vinegar and mirin (rice wine). Then he’ll grill the steak medium rare atop coals and served on ginger rice prepared with ginger, green onion and cilantro.

Aloha Monday with Ernest DeLuz Ranch

Also located on the Hamakua Coast, Ernest DeLuz Ranch is a four-generation operation named after its patriarch, Ernest DeLuz. Son Stephen serves as ranch manager and oversees a herd of 1400 breeding cows for the cow-calf operation and 300 animals that are finished on grass for local consumption.

Stephen, who studied agriculture at Hawai‘i Community College-Hilo, says the ranch uses 7,000 acres and rotates cattle among pastures. “When the weather is good, finishing cattle on grass is easy; but when it’s dry, it gets tough.” The ranch stepped up its production of grass-fed animals about 10-15 years ago to satisfy a growing demand in the local market. “Dad always did some grass-fed animals, but as popularity for the product grew, we kept more at home.”

In partnership with Kamehameha Schools, the ranch is doing some experimenting with irrigation and Leucaena, a high protein, small tree used for cattle fodder.

“The price has gone up for our weaned cows on the Mainland but we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing,” shares DeLuz. “Dad wants to continue supporting the local market and see how it goes.”

Chef Kanoa Miura

Chef Kanoa Miura of Aloha Mondays
Credit: Photo courtesy Aloha Mondays

Aloha Mondays is a unique culinary business, offering meal pickup from its Hilo kitchen while also providing catering services. Chef/owner Kanoa Miura hails from Mililani on O’ahu and got into the business while majoring in art at UH-Hilo. As a student, he worked at a restaurant cleaning fish and had friends over on his day off for “Aloha Mondays.” His college parties and love for catering “to anyone around him” grew into a passion for the culinary arts and jobs at Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill and the Flying Fish in Seattle. He opened Aloha Mondays in 2005.

Miura prefers using local products for their freshness, uniqueness and effort in supporting our economy. He says the benefits of using local, pasture-raised beef are “ethical, as well as healthier and we look up to Kulana Foods as a successful business practicing more sustainably.” Chef adds, “Now and again you get a customer who is not used to the taste…but that’s the food business; you can’t make everyone happy, you just gotta go with what you believe in, stand by it and smile.”

Assigned Top Round from Ernest DeLuz Ranch, Miura is preparing Hawaiian-Style Top Round Poke on ‘Uala Chips. He will marinate the meat in a locally brewed barley wine before grilling and seasoning with classic Hawaiian-style poke ingredients. He’ll serve with Aloha Monday’s house-made sweet potato chips. Chef adds, “Top round tends to be a tougher cut so the barley wine is perfect as a marinade to tenderize the meat and add great flavor.”

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