FitDiver® SPECIAL EDITION May 2015 - Page 44

Organic eating in the Islands

Maui is an amazing place to find and eat locally grown and raised fresh food. While nearly everything was imported to the island at some time in history, Maui's environment is known for nurturing many varieties of unique fruits, vegetables, coffee, fish and meats. In fact, most of the shade trees in residental areas are food bearing. Bananas, mangos, pineapples and papayas are the most widely known. And don't forget the famous sweet Maui onions that grow on the slopes of Haleakalä. The super market is not the only place to shop for produce. There are many Farmers' Markets on Maui. Divers can find a list of local markets with locations, hours and days of the week at VisitMaui.com.

I often advise divers to avoid high sugar tropical fruits, but when in Maui I make some exceptions. The Star Fruit is an example of a low-calorie crisp delicious fruit. It can be added to fruit salad or enjoyed along with smaller quantities of fruits like bananas, papayas and pineapples to reduce total calories and sugar while still satisfying the appetite.

It is surprising to learn that there are at least three kinds of bananas and apples, two types of pineapples, and more than a dozen varieties of avocado. Divers can taste some of these fruits and others like chocolate sapote. lychee, rambutan, guava and soursop during the exotic fruit tour offered on week days at: Ono Organic Farms.

Coffee is one of the most successful crops in Maui. It can be seen growing behind the resorts near Kaanapali just north of Lahaina. It was brought to the Hawaiian islands in the early 1800s from Rio de Janeiro and is recognized around the world its quality.

Maui raised beef and lamb also have unique qualities to the islands. They are naturally fed with tropical grasses, no hormones or antibiotics, and tests show that Maui beef contains higher amounts of good omega fats and vitamin A.

Maui restaurants feature organic and locally grown and raised items on their menus. We visited the Paia Fish Market and enjoyed their "fresh-local catch" in delicious mahi fish tacos. Pictured here is the lunch plate which includes rice, cabbage and sauce. The tacos may be ordered a' la carte so divers counting calories can avoid the rice. sauce and one tortilla.

In recent years agricultural practices in the islands began to be influenced by large growing operations that utilized vast resources, pesticides and GMO. As a result, in 1993 (HOFA) the Hawaii Organic Farming Association formed to help establish organic growing standards. HOFA continues to support, educate and

provide information about organic farming throughout the Hawaiian islands. On Maui there are agricultural partnerships non-profits like the Maui Flower Growers' Association and the Maui Aloha 'Aina Association which hosts "Body and Soil" events.

Continued on page 47