Hanalei Valley, Kaua'i

March 2011

The Taro farm

Taro is a root vegetable commonly grown in humid tropical areas of much of the world. Both the root and the leaves are edible after cooking. The taro root is a good source of carbohydrates, protein, and calcium. It is very digestible and glutten-free. Hawaiians use the taro root to make poi - a gummy, purple dish served at most commercial luaus. Most non-Hawaiians, including me, do not eat poi. However, fresh taro mixed with some coconut is quite good.

Hanalei Hanalei Valley Taro fields - Mount Wai'ali'ali in the background
Hanalei Hanalei Valley gets quite a bit of rain from Mount Wai'ali'ali.
Hanalei Taro plants grow in water much like rice.
Hanalei Our guide also farms these taro fields.

Like most farmers, taro farmers have some challenges. Floods and hurricanes destroy crops. The farmers of the Hanalei Valley must also contend with Apple Snails. While Apple Snails provide cleaning services in a home aquarium, they are a serious pest in the wild. Apple Snails are especially fond of eating taro.

Hanalei These pretty pink things are apple snail eggs, photographed in a blue bucket. These eggs were removed from the stem of a taro plant.
Hanalei Adult apple snail
Hanalei A taro plant, Bill, and me