For 27 years Volcano Island Honey Company, LLC, a small family owned honey business, has been producing and marketing an internationally recognized, rare and unique honey (Rare Hawaiian Organic White Honey) from the Puako kiawe forest on the Big Island of Hawaii. This special honey comes exclusively from this unique, monotypic forest of some of the largest kiawe (Prosopis pallida) trees in the world. The very existence of the forest is threatened by development.
This forest, located in a flood plane, helps to protect the nearby community from floods and windstorms. The forest also protects one of Hawaii’s last pristine coral reefs that lie just offshore from the forest. By up-taking nitrogen from the subterranean aquifer flowing under the forest out to the reef, the roots of the kiawe trees help prevent algae overgrowth. In addition, decades of unmanaged, excessive, fuel load build up in the forest presents a fire danger to itself and the community. The forest is a valuable environmental and community resource in need of sustainable management.
Increased fertilization of the flowers from VIHC beehives in this forest has greatly increased fruit production. Our proposed venture aims to turn a byproduct (the fruits) of our already successful honey operation into several useful products. Various hardwood products and wild gourmet mushrooms are possible. More likely are products from the prolific fruits including value-added food products and fermented, alternative fuel products.
The high protein, sugar rich fruits are an established human food of antiquity from the countries where Prosopis pallida originates. Flour ground from the dried fruit pulp is becoming increasingly popular amongst health conscious consumers looking for organically produced foods with exceptional nutritional properties. The fruits produced by the trees currently are not being harvested (which, incidentally, contributes to the spread of the forest – a non-native species here in Hawaii). Harvesting the fruits controls the spread of the forest. In order to harvest the fruits the dangerous fuel loads will have to be removed.
Once harvested the fruits may be turned into several value added products: Aquaculture feed, Coffee Substitute, Flour, Syrup, Dietary Fiber Supplement, Bio-fuels (Ethyl Alcohol) and Tempeh. The proceeds from these products will help pay for the fire mitigation preserving the forest in managed open-space and gradually re-establishing the original native trees.
Goals of the project are to determine which of the possible Value Added Products
derived from the kiawe trees can be economically viable and then create
business and marketing plans for the production and marketing of these selected
products. Our planning tasks
to be completed are:
* Create a Marketing Plan
* Write a Business Plan