Kōkua Kalihi Valley’s Roots Café Introduces Honolulu’s First CSA Box Focused on Cultural Starches

Calling all kalo.
roots cafe


It’s happened to a lot of us. In a burst of new year, new you optimism, you signed up for a weekly veggie subscription box, only to find yourself faced with a fridge full of wilting greens and so much gorgeous produce in the trash. The landfill is paved with good intentions.


Enter Kōkua Kalihi Valley’s Roots Café’s monthly CS‘Ai (a play on CSA, or community-supported agriculture, and ‘ai, food), which debuted recently with locally grown kalo, cassava and ‘ulu. The ingredients are already prepped, cooked and frozen, so they will keep for weeks and are ready to throw into soups and stews or straight into a pan. The goal is to make “cultural starches, these indigenous foods that are really good for us,” more accessible, says Roots director Sharon Ka‘iulani Odom.


SEE ALSO: Roots Café in Kalihi Valley Encourages Healthy Relationships With Food, Through Community


The inaugural CS‘Ai boxes, at $30 each, contained more than 4 pounds of produce from farms including Kāko‘o ‘Ōiwi in He‘eia, Mōhala Farms in Waialua and KKV’s own farm in the Ho‘oulu ‘Āina Nature Preserve. Expect some of the contents to change seasonally, but you can anticipate items with a long shelf life, whether frozen or preserved, such as dried bananas or hō‘i‘o (fern) pickles. And when you pick up your CS‘Ai at Roots Café, on either a Tuesday or Thursday, you can also shop Roots’ market—stocked with fresh, local produce—to gather additions like containers of ‘Āina Stew, or order from the daily specials at the café, which have included venison and salad with sapote dressing.


Check instagram.com/rootskalihi for updates on how to order the next CS‘Ai. 2229 N. School St., rootskalihi.com


Read more stories by Martha Cheng