A Community of Artists

Volcano Village is well known on the Big Island as an enclave of artists, many of them internally recognized. One of the local organizations that helps to foster the arts, and in particular Hawaiian culture and art, in the Volcano Arts Center. The centers written goal is to “… promote, develop, and perpetuate the artistic and cultural heritage of Hawai’i’s people and environment through the arts and education. The center has two locations; the first is an art gallery located within the former Volcano House Hotel built in 1877. The gallery is operated under a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service and is open every day except Christmas. The second location is an educational facility in Volcano Village on the edge of the Niaulani Forest Reserve, a location with old-growth trees including Koa and Ohia.

The Center offers a variety of classes and workshops every day of the week, and sponsors monthly Hula performances in the national park at the kahua hula (platform) near the Volcano Arts Center gallery in the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. They also offer rainforest tours of Niaulani every Monday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Complete listings of all of the center’s offerings can be found at http://volcanoartcenter.org/

Wasabi Makes Volcano Green

Anyone who has visited a sushi bar is aware of the green paste that is the closest most of us will ever get to the Japanese specialty of wasabi. Made up of a mixture of horseradish, mustard and green food coloring, the faux wasabi lacks many of the unique characteristics that make wasabi, well, wasabi. The difficult to grow rizome has traditionally been grown along mountain streams in Japan. Because of the rarity, it is not only expensive, but the demand has always far outstripped the supply. If you are visiting some of the high-end sushi restaurants in Hawaii, you may have the opportunity to sample real wasabi without taking a trip to Japan. This is due to the work of Volcano resident and wasabi farmer Lance Yamashiro. The two articles linked below outline how the unique climate of Volcano has contributed to the growing of wasabi on the Big Island.



Best Hawaiian Sweetbread

When the Portuguese sugar workers arrived in Hawaii during the 19th century, they introduced sweetbread to the islands. One of the best versions of this Hawaiian specialty can be found in the town of Punalu’u near the southern tip of the Big Island. Based on an old family recipe, the sweetbread at Punalu’u Bakeshop has been a hit with islanders and visitors alike since the bakery first opened. They have a visitor center and giftshop and are an excellent place to have lunch on a trip to South Point or to the Green Sands Beach. http://www.bakeshophawaii.com/

Sandlewood Reforestation

This Article on native Hawaiian sandalwood was originally published in Hana Hou, the Hawaiian Airlines Magazine. Mark Hanson who is discussed later in the article, operates a native tree farm and provided some very young sandalwood trees and a koa tree to plant at Hale Kupukupu. The koa at Hale KupuKupu is over six feet tall now but started out at about eight inches tall when it was planted. The koa is the only survivor of about six that were planted; the rest were eaten by local cows who find the shoots on the baby trees a delicacy. So far all of the sandalwoods have survived but they are very slow growing. We are trying to reintroduce some of the native trees to the property that were logged out of the area many many years ago but belong there in the rainforest. Hopefully this can help establish a local seed source so the forest can heal. We are also slowly trying to eradicate and control some of the invasive exotic plants that were introduced but don’t belong there. Here is the link to the article:

On the Hawaiian Nene

While visiting the Volcanoes National Park you are in an ideal spot to see the Hawaiian State bird, the Nene. These geese were nearly wiped out on the islands, and at one point the only remaining birds were on The big island. This article on them is from the Hawaiian Airlines magazine talks about a program that reintroduced the birds to areas they once inhabited from an unlikely source, England. https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/hawaii-stori…/hana-hou/nene

Kalij Pheasants at the Hale

While staying at Hale KupuKupu guests will almost always see some local Kalij Pheasants. Currently, one pair wanders through the yard several times a day with all of their nearly grown babies in tow. It appears that most of the babies have turned out to be males. You can distinguish the babies from the adult male by the length of the tail feathers and crown of feathers at the top of the head. These pheasants are native to the Himalayan mountain, Pakistan, and Thailand. They are considered invasive because they eat and spread the seeds from invasive plants species.

Below is a link to an article on how the birds have developed a unique social structure different from the birds in their native location in the Himalayas. http://www.audubon.org/news/how-hawaiis-kalij-pheasants-remind-us-social-behavior-can-be-flexible

Kau Kau: All About Hawaiian Food

One of the best books on Hawaiian foods and culture is Kau Kau, Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands. We have a copy for guests to read at Hale KupuKupu during their visit. Here is the description from Amazon.com.

“Good Food, Classic Recipes & the Remarkable Story of Hawai’i’s Mixed Plate

Kau kau: It’s the all-purpose pidgin word for food, probably derived from the Chinese “chow chow.” On Hawai’i’s sugar and pineapple plantations, kau kau came to encompass the amazing range of foods brought to the Islands by immigrant laborers from East and West: Japanese, Portuguese, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Koreans and others. On the plantations, lunch break was “kau kau time,” and the kau kau could be anything from adobo to chow fun to tsukemono.

In Kau Kau: Cuisine and Culture in the Hawaiian Islands, author Arnold Hiura—a writer with roots in the plantation culture—explores the rich history and heritage of food in Hawai’i, with little-known culinary tidbits, interviews with chefs and farmers, and a treasury of rare photos and illustrations.”