FoodWe harvested and gathered lots of food: coconuts, avocados, bananas, mangos, strawberry guavas, limes, surinam cherry, lilikoi (passionfruit), koster's curse, green papaya (cooked like a squash), honohono, chaya, ginger flowers, and edible hibiscus. I feel very impressed by how easily we've found major staple foods, though most of the coconuts and all the surinam cherries, bananas, limes, and greens have come from the land on which we're staying, not from roadsides or other semi-wild public places. (If needed we could probably find enough coconuts out and about, and honohono grows as a weed all over the place; but I have yet to see any harvestable bananas or other greens I recognize in public places.) We've gotten nearly four eggs a day from the four chickens on the land.
|Sprouting coconut with sweet fatty "King's meat"|
We brought from the mainland two pounds of butter, half a pound of cheese, some dried meat, nuts, and dried fruit , and still have 3/4 pound of butter and most of the nuts and dried fruit left. We're using the butter quickly and haven't figured out locally sourced cooking oils yet , but definitely haven't needed the nuts and dried fruit! We've experimented a little with extracting coconut oil, but still need to learn more to make it work.
We tried eating hala keys, but found them barely edible - consistent with reports of Hawaiians using them only as famine food. We'll try to get varieties grown on other Pacific islands with flesh larger, less fibrous, and free of oxalate crystals.
We've seen pigs several times, once as close as 40' away. With a gun and a little bit of skill, it should be very easy to shoot one and get a lot of meat. Since we haven't acquired that tool or those skills yet, we're starting to buy some island raised grass fed ground beef at the local natural food store, for less money than similar meat cost us back in Portland.
|Passion vine butterfly|
I read through a book on organic gardening in Hawaii and added to my species list, and started reading Bill Mollison's classic Introduction to Permaculture.
|View from our hut - |
ti, banana, mango, jackfruit, coconut, & albizia
Ironically, on our initial push of going primitive, we've probably spent as much time trying to get online and trying to charge electronics as we have foraging food. I've learned a lot about solar systems, DC power, adapters and tips - some of it the hard way - and hopefully have gotten past the worst of the learning curve! This probably merits its own write-up, as I'm sure sharing some of the mistakes I've made and learning I've done could save some other people some trouble.
NetworkingWe haven't talked much with people yet, but did chat a little with two locals involved in growing food and running a weekly market. We will probably talk with them more about the possibility of using some land in something akin to a community garden. We don't yet know where we'll settle long-term, but the location seems reasonably central to our most likely options. So if we start planting things now, we can harvest them in the future as food crops, and/or for propagation material for our actual land. And if our purchased land doesn't suit itself to teaching and showing permaculture food systems to others (because of our community wanting to keep its privacy, or too isolated for the public to access easily) then perhaps the community garden area could serve as a demonstration site.
We've talked on the phone with two other folks in the area, one of whom gave us permission to harvest his excess avocados but whom we haven't met. The other fellow has biweekly work parties where we can probably learn a lot about lowland tropical farming (and maybe take home some food or starts?) so we look forward to joining him in that later this week.