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Monday, April 22, 2013

Fresh-milled poi from the farm, delivered by Kako‘o ‘Oiwi

Fresh-milled poi from the farm, delivered by Kako‘o ‘Oiwi

Lehua maoli

Photo courtesy of Kupuna Kalo

Most commercial poi tastes exactly the same, from restaurants to luau, from one supermarket to another (though I have a weakness for the brand Hanalei Poi, thick and sweet). Kako‘o ‘Oiwi, one of the organizations dedicated to restoring the He‘eia ahupua‘a, shows that—as much of the world is discovering with banana varieties and heirloom tomatoes and almost everything else under the sun—kalo, too, has its nuances.

While most bagged poi is made with the kalo variety Maui lehua, Kako‘o ‘Oiwi currently plants five types, and, in its weekly blends of fresh-milled poi, tries to "get people to understand how those different varieties have different tastes," says Jan Yoshioka from Kako‘o ‘Oiwi.

When the non-profit first started its weekly poi delivery in January, it debuted a blend of lehua maoli (for a reddish, thinner poi) and moi (a white kalo variety with a high stickiness factor). More recently, it's been offering a thick, faintly bluish poi made with kai uliuli. Yoshioka's favorite? Pi‘i‘ali‘i, which makes for a red, sweet poi and an almost mochi-like pa‘i‘ai (poi before it's been mixed with water).

Kako‘o ‘Oiwi offers both poi ($5 per pound) and pa‘i‘ai ($5 per half pound), available for pickup at the farm or delivered downtown on Fridays. Sign up for its newsletter for details and instructions for each week at

Almost a hundred varieties of taro were once cultivated in Hawaii. To find out more about the different types, visit, an online encylopedia of taro in Hawaii.

Posted on Monday, April 22, 2013 in Permalink

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From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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