Modern life in Hawaii, which is roughly 2500 miles from the continent of North America, relies on a surprisingly large amount of imported food – up to 85-90% (Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategic Plan, 2012). Historically, native Hawaiians were self-sufficient, and grew a number of plants carried with the first settlers who arrived from overseas in large double hulled canoes. One such plant was taro, or kalo – the Hawaiian name for the plant – which is still grown today throughout the islands, although in much lower numbers.
Taro is an amazing root vegetable that can serve a number of nutritional needs providing: fibre, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and iron. An Oahu based company have taken it upon themselves to deliver those nutrients to a wider audience via a range of unique products. Voyaging Foods evolved to fill a family’s need – read the full story HERE – and now produce taro flours and specially designed baking mixes. Brynn Foster, the master-mom behind the company, is passionate about re-connecting 2015 Hawaii with taro as part of a holistic approach to living. The company is based on three principles:
“Mindful cooking, maintaining healthy lifestyles and sustaining local communities.”
Already a huge fan of taro, I was honoured and intrigued to test out one of Voyaging Foods products, the Lava Cookie. The instructions were clear, and the mix very simple: create a chia seed gel (a genius egg substitute), stir coconut oil into the pre- assembled Lava Cookie mix, stir in chia gel and then form the dough into small cookie sized pieces and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake. Simple.
The resulting cookies were delicious with a crumbly yet chewy texture, and a wholesome chocolate taste. I sandwiched pairs of my batch together with a raw macadamia nut frosting (adapted from this frosting recipe on Love & Lemons) – but unfortunately didn’t have a chance to take any more photos for evidence because the cookies disappeared so quickly! I delivered a package to a vegan friend, who gave them her seal of approval and munched on the rest over a busy few days of marathon training and teaching yoga. Overall thoughts – an easy, taro based cookie mixture that will satisfy a range of dietary needs without disappointing on taste or texture – produced locally by an Oahu business. I’m excited to see what Voyaging Foods does next! Keep up with developments via Twitter or their Facebook Page.
Voyaging Foods products are available at the following locations:
- Aina Hina Farmers Market the first Tuesday of the month – see Facebook for details.
- Neiman Marcus – from this summer onwards.
- SoHa stores – launching soon!
- Whole Foods Hawaii: Honolulu/ Kahala and Kailua stores.
- Online at: Voyaging Foods.
Watch out for more taro based recipes coming to longrunergy soon, or maybe you already have a ‘go-to’ taro dish? If you’d like to share please post or comment on our Facebook Page: The Long Run Lifestyle.
Finally, if you are interested in reading more about Hawaii’s food security issues see the state’s ‘Increased Food Security and Food Self-Sufficiency Strategy’ found online HERE. Also check out some of Hawaii’s non-for-profit organisations who are dedicated to raising awareness of the issues surrounding local food, whilst increasing food production and distribution within, and across the islands: Kanu Hawaii, Hawaii SEED, and Slow Food Hawaii.