The Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) recently named the recipients of its appreciation awards, given annually to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry. The six award winners were lauded at the recent HTFG annual conference, which boasted a record-breaking 250 attendees from Hawaii, California and other states, plus Malaysia, Japan, Puerto Rico and South America. Recipients are Ono Pops, Whole Foods in Hawaii, James Simpliciano, Ed Kenney and Francis Zee. “Each of our award recipients have gone out of their way to help Hawaii’s fruit industry prosper,” notes Ken Love, HTFG executive director.
Ono Pops of Oahu was recognized for only using locally sourced fruit with other ingredients to create its gourmet popsicles while Whole Foods was tapped for “working toward marketing more and more local produce” and serving as locations on both Oahu and Maui to host HTFG’s ultra-exotic fruit tasting and culinary demonstrations.
Chef Ed Kenney of Oahu’s Town Restaurant was cited for his focus on sourcing local fruit and living true to his motto, “Local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always…” James Simpliciano, Lahaina citrus grower and former chef at the Westin Maui Resort, was lauded for “typifying the best of both the culinary and agricultural worlds.”
Francis Zee, horticulturist and retired USDA researcher at Hilo’s Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center (PBARC), was recognized for his efforts in assisting fruit growers statewide, in addition to being credited as “the grandfather of tea growing and processing on the Big Island.” Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers: Incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii, HTFG is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; http://www.hawaiitropicalfruitgrowers.org.