Thursday, June 12, 2014

Father and Son Develop Strategy

Drake and Eric at work developing campaign strategy

State Representative District #1.

Now that the papers are filed, "Farmers for Eric" is registered with the DCCA and the Campaign Spending Commission, a TIN (taxpayer identification number) is recorded with the IRS, a bank account is opened, we are ready to get to work.
Our theme is "Growing Community Together".   We want the campaign and the web site to be the example of our vision for District One.  Drake is my Campaign Manager and Web Master.  It is great for father and son to be working together, discussing what elements to include in the web site to best accomplish our goal.  We agree that a map of District #1 is important.  We want a place where leaders and those involved in building and growing our community can share their vision for our District.  We want an interactive site, one where folks come to be connected.  To that end, we want to have a place where farmers can post what they grow, how they farm, and how they sell their farm products.  We will have an events calendar.  We plan to host campaign events that plant gardens and share locally grown food.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Growing Community Together

Farmers For Eric
Growing Communities Together

Eric harvesting Taro grown using IMOs

Today I filled papers to run for District One State House Representative because I hope to make a positive transformation!

Look in your yard or your neighbors yard and the fruit tree you see was most likely grafted and produced by "Plant It Hawaii".  Back in the late 70's my sister and myself started that business with a vision to provide healthy fruit trees for all the people of Hawaii Island.  During the past thirty-five years over a quarter million fruit trees have been planted!  We searched the globe to bring the widest variety of the best tasting fruit to our island.  From Avocado to Zapote, the people of Hawaii Island now enjoy the delicious fruits from the best cultivars on the planet.

My life long passion for agriculture lead me to Korean Natural Farming.  In 2007 my son, Drake, and myself traveled to South Korea to spend a week with Dr. Park and Master Cho.  We toured farm after farm practicing KNF methods, using indigenous micro organisms (IMOs) to grow vegetables, fruits and raise animals.  Natural and healthy inputs are used to produce plants and animals that taste delicious and are super healthy.  Upon our return I set out to adapt the Korean farming systems to Hawaii Island.  We continued to learn and both earned certified status from Master Cho.  

1st Class of Cho Certified Korean Natural Farmers in Hawaii

We are blessed to live in District One, the bread basket of Hawaii Island, with arguably the best growing conditions on the planet.  Our family is working together to develop a model Korean Natural Farm on our property in Onomea.   In  August 2011 my wife, Jennifer, and myself, ate only what we grew ourselves from our own land for the whole month.  That was the inspiration for this blog.  Our meals and thoughts for each of those days is still posted by going to the older posts.  Leaving the convenience of the corner grocery store and depending on Nature and the land for our daily food taught me valuable lessons.   The spiritual connection to the Aina is profound and I remain grateful.

Eric and Jennifer with Eric’s co-workers in Keaau

I look forward to campaigning this Summer and Fall.  Why?  Because I’ll be doing what I love; teaching friends and neighbors how to grow healthy food naturally.  Why?  Because I’ll be meeting new people in our District, listening to their ideas, seeking to understand their concerns.  Why?  Because we’ll be working with each other to Grow our Community Together.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring 2014

This Spring has just blown by.  Jennifer and I spent January in New Zealand, a wonderful trip to a magical place.  We cruised 4,000 kilometers in our camper van, taking in the Southern Alps at Mt. Cook, hiking almost daily on long empty beaches or mountain trails, touring wine regions, just having a bucket list blast.

Eric & Jennifer picking up our camper-van in New Zealand

Still working my day job Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which allows me 4 day weekends to pursue my gardening hobby.  Keeping up with our greenhouses, mostly for our greens and morning green drinks.  Have reconditioned the bottom gardens, where I have replanted sugar cane, kept the pineapples weeded, planted taro and sweet potato and green beans.

Ariel View of Farm with Hilo in upper left corner

I have recommitted to making all the Korean Natural Farming ingredients and have been spraying weekly.  This means Fermented Fruit Juice, Fermented Plant Juice, Fish Amino Acid, Lactic Acid Bacteria, Oriental Herbal Nutrient, Calcium from egg shells in korean rice wine vinegar.  This weekly spraying has made a significant difference on plant growth and health.

I have made IMO again.  Started with IMO one (bamboo leaf mold in rice), and threw it away three times until I nailed it.  Then IMO two mixing that rice mold with brown sugar.  Then mixed with the inputs mentioned above into mill run to make IMO three.  Added wood chips at this stage to get more fungus in the mix.  And finally mixed this with soil and more of the inputs to get IMO four, the finished product.
IMO #3 pile (my best ever)

I mixed dolomite (calcium and magnesium), bio-char into my new planting beds and topped with a thin layer of IMO four, then put grass clippings on top to protect the IMO four from the sun.  The grass clippings also keep the soil moisture in while preventing weeds from sprouting.

This past week I got 29 Buckeye chicks sent via US Postal Service from a special breeding operation in California specializing in heritage American breeds.  They only send straight run, so half will be male and half female.  These are dual purpose birds, meaning both meat and eggs.  So I'll keep the best roster and all the females, the other boys will consumed by us.

Buckeye Chicks in their new home

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall 2013 Update

Mid October 2013 and Jennifer and I are planting seeds for one last planting.  It might seem strange for you folks living in Seattle, Denver or Madison, but upon opening my eyes waking up from a great nights sleep, I glanced at the digital readout on our weather station and the temperature was 74 degrees F.  So we put on our shorts, flip flops and headed out to our gardens.

Our seed starter bed 

Oct 2013 Jennifer showing off her produce

Tomatoes, lettuce, beets, comfrey, arugula, chard, and kale.  Yes, plants still growing very well.

Picture from earlier Summer post.  Same greenhouse as above just planted

Orange tree is full of fruits.  Fall is harvest time and I love my fresh squeezed OJ.  Check out the microbe population growing under the tree.

Washington Navel Orange tree

Microbes huge populations of white hairs helping feed the oranges

Saturday, July 27, 2013

to GMO or not to GMO???

The papaya ringspot virus (PRV) devastated papaya production on the Big Island of Hawaii in the early 1990's.  Commercial papaya production virtually ended as the virus completely wiped out all Solo papaya production.  Fortunately, Dr Gonsalves and his team foresaw the impending disaster (the virus was already in Oahu but not the Big Island) and started work in his laboratory at Cornell University a decade in advance of release and commercial production of "Rainbow".

Naturally Farmed GMO "Rainbow" papaya

At my day job I am General Manager for the largest papaya exporter to the US Mainland.  We exclusively produce GMO "Rainbow" papaya.  Papaya is always in the top five most nutritious fruits anyone can put in their body.  Is our Rainbow papaya safe?

Well the Japanese government recently approved our Rainbow for sale in Japan after 13 years of reviewing the science.  Believe me, if there was even a small shred of evidence to the contrary, it would never have been approved.  It is safe!!!!!!  It is HEALTHY!!!!!

Naturally Farmed non-GMO papaya

On my weekends I have been a student of Korean Natural Farming.  The whole point is sustainability.  If you have to import fertilizers, commercial or organic, it is not sustainable.  So what about GMO's?

Well take a look at the evidence presented in photos above.  Non GMO get the virus and die.  GMO Rainbow thrive and give us all the papaya we can eat.  Both are identically naturally farmed.  No pesticides or herbicides.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Planting more Sugarloaf Sweet White Pineapple

Jennifer watering in liquid IMOs

August is typically the month when the Sweet White Sugarloaf Pineapple is in full harvest mode.  With all the tops on the fruit we will have it is time to prep more beds.  Because plants often need two years to bear fruit, weed control is very important.  Using weed mat has proven a good strategy with pineapples.

I ran the spader implement on our real tractor over the bed several times to loosen the soil and till in the weeds.  Next step was to use my Japanese hand held digging fork to take all weeds and roots from previous crop out.  This is time consuming and hard work, but helps keep this old guy in shape.

Hands in the Dirt

After this I spaded in some dolomite lime (calcium and magnesium) and watered in some of Drake's oxygenated liquid IMOs.  Then it is back to hand work, shoveling trenches on both side of the garden row and burying the sides of the weed mat.

Now the fun part, planting.   We remove the bottom leaves of each top to expose root nodes.  This allows the tops to root quickly.  Then I cut a small X in the weed mat with a knife and push the new plant into the soil through the weed mat.

Peeling back leaves to expose the roots

The new tops will take two years to fruit.  We will plant all the tops from our harvest and all of the kekeis located at the bottom of each pineapple fruit.  This could be several hundred new plants.  We will leave the suckers on the older plants which are harvested this year.  There is two suckers per plant and they will each produce a pineapple fruit next Summer.  Voila, a bit of hard work now, and sweet pineapple for years to come!

New babies planted!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mid-Summer 2013

Harvesting String Beans

The first half of 2013 just whizzed by but not without accomplishments.  We installed a 4 inch line on the Hanawai, added a second 48 volt Harris hydro alternator and we are now producing 20 Kilowatts of power per day from our river.  The additional ag dwelling is completed, insides caulked, painted and the pine interiors sanded and coated with a water based varathane finnish which totally brings out the natural woods brilliance.  Our daughter Kaitlin is expected to move in to the blue cabin soon.

Jennifer shows off her Kale and Amaranth

It is only in the last month that I agian have concentrated on my gardens.  If you neglect them, the grasses take over.  So I have been digging out the wainaku roots in my greenhouses.  This requires digging down three feet and sifting through each shovel of dirt to remove the roots.  So as not to have to do this again I am utilizing my son's Drake method of changing the soil chemistry.  The microbes are either bacterial (grasses) or fungal (forrest).  We are attempting to be more fungal which we expect will be less atractive to the invasive grasses.  Drake is using  a living compost pile to inculate batches of liquid IMO which is then applied to our garden beds.

Drake making liquid IMO adding oxygen for 24 hours before spraying on plants

We have planted our greenhouses with big beef steak tomatoes to be trellised up to a single leader.  This leaves lots of room for more low profile vegies down below.  We have scaled back in area, but are trying to be more intensive with that smaller space.  This means less weeding as the vegies help shade out areas weeds would normally fill.  Our plan is to have our greenhouses produce our green drinks.  So we've planted kale, spinnach, chard, cilantro, celery and lettuce.

Newly planted Greenhouse

We continue to drink our smoothies blended in our Vitamix from our papayas, bananas and sugar cane juice.  So tastey.   With an abundance of free electricity we can dehydrate our excess fruit.  Our sugarloaf pineapple patch is in its annual harvest season.  Dried pineapple is the bomb and apple bananas aren't bad either.

Eric in his Pineapple patch
Kaitlin and Jennifer Sugarloaf Harvest