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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Hawaii directory lists organic producers

Advertiser Staff

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

At Kalahani Ohana Farms, Kaia Bondera rakes sun-dried coffee beans on a hoshidana, a Japanese-style drying rack. The hoshidana has a roof that rolls back and forth to shelter the coffee from rain. The coffee is organically grown, part of an expanding segment of Hawai'i's agricultural market.

Craig Elevitch

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Hawai'i consumers should find it easier to verify the authenticity of organic products and find places that sell them with the publication of a new directory listing 140 of the state's certified organic growers.

The directory, published by the Hilo-based Hawaii Organic Farmers Association, is the first listing all of the state's certified organic producers of crops, honey, livestock and value-added processed products such as jams and jellies.

The book, published with the assistance of the state Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, also lists certified organic agriculture supply stores, natural food stores and grocery retailers.

Organic products are a rapidly growing sector of the retail market.

Sales of organic food grew 21 percent in 2006, hitting $16.7 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association's latest manufacturer survey. The annual growth rate averaged 18.4 percent from 1998 to 2005.

Al Santoro, owner of Poamoho Organic Produce, whose 7-acre farm in Waialua produces organic tropical fruits such as bananas, papaya, mango and citrus fruits, said the new directory provides much-needed exposure to small farmers such as himself.

He noted that the directory also gives consumers, chefs, retailers and food producers guidance when looking for organic products.

"The directory is the first time that anybody has gone to the trouble of listing people who are certified organic farmers," Santoro said.

The directory also includes:

  • Information on getting certified as an organic grower or processor

  • An island-by-island listing of farmer's markets

  • A list of organic seed sources

  • Information on useful contacts and Web sites.

    The Hawaii Organic Farmers Association is the only agency in Hawai'i that has been accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide certification services for organic farmers, ranchers and processors of organic products.

    Copies of the directory are available for $6; order by calling 808-969-7789 or e-mailing hofa@hawaiiorganicfarmers.org. For further information, visit www.hawaiiorganicfarmers.org, which is HOFA's site.

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