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Looking for market opportunities on Rice Street

LIHU‘E — GoFarm Hawai‘i students and instructor Jin-Wah Lau from the Kaua‘i Community College cohort joined the Market Opportunity Field Trip coordinators Alyssa Lee and Frankie Koethe of Honolulu at the “pau hana” of the trip where Lee and Koethe led the cohort in market opportunities.

The final “pau hana’ gathering at the Kaua‘i Beer Company was yet another lesson as the group got to meet and talk with Jerry Ornellas, the farmer who grew the experimental batch of rice, and experience the tasting of the Kaua‘i-grown rice beer brewed by Kaua‘i Beer Company.

“It’s light,” said GoFarm Hawai‘i student Melissa, “the other half of Eric Hansen, a former GoFarm Hawai‘i instructor, and mother of the Best in Show Vegetable winner from the recent Agricultural Festival coordinated by the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau.

Following the classroom instruction, and “partner visits” in Hanalei and Kapa‘a by coordinators Lee and Koethe, the students visited several farms and farmers markets to further learn about what was presented in the classroom. The “pau hana” event at Kaua‘i Beer Company turned into that experience as well.

“The group was here, earlier,” said Marlene Duarte, the market coordinator for the Grove Farm Market that meets in the Puhi open field on each Saturday from 9:30 a.m. “The students were doing some exercises by working with several of the farmers and vendors.”

The students said during the visits, they were looking at everything, including how the produce was set up, the kinds of equipment needed to showcase the merchandise and how everything was presented to shoppers.

From the farmer’s perspective, marketing plays a big role in whether the product is moved.

“It was raining,” said farmer Mayette Loseto, not realizing that she had a towel wrapped around her waist as a hedge against the morning showers at the Puhi open field. “This is fashion?”

The “pau hana” was a time to reflect on the group’s observations and experiences at the different markets, as well as do a final sampling of Jerry’s Rice Beer.

“Our farmers will later be looking as versatile market opportunities like yourselves to reach out to in the future,” Koethe said to Larry Feinstein in setting up the arrangements for the “pau hana.”

Lee said to keep ears to the ground as GoFarm Hawai‘i prepares for another cohort to be formed in the near future.

“We encourage all interested in farming, or becoming a farmer to register for the AgCurious webinar to learn more about the GoFarm program,” Koethe said.

To register for the AgCurious webinar that will be held on Sept. 7, visit

The AgXposure program will be held from Oct. 5 through Nov. 2, and the AgXcel will run from Nov. 16, 2023, through June 1, 2024.
Source: The Garden Island

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