A Day on the Farm - Our Annual Adopt-A-Beehive Donor Mahalo Event in Hilo

On April 6th, Chef Alan Wong and his collaborator Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi celebrated their Adopt-a-Beehive program alongside donors, faculty, students, and friends at Mapuhonehone, the University of Hawai’i at Hilo’s bee garden in Pana’ewa. Established in 2011, this program provides a unique, hands-on environment for students in the university’s Beekeeping Program to learn and implement innovative practices that will support future generations of Hawaiian honey bees, local flora, and farmers. The program encourages students to experiment with progressive farming techniques and explore honey-related business ventures with a dedication to sustainability. The program also awards annual scholarships to aid students in their education.

At the event, students were able to share their current research including studies on the efficacy of flow hives in Hawai’i, use of environmental monitoring devices to track hive health, and the production of retail products marketed to apiary hobbyist. Donors and guests enjoyed tours of the Agricultural Farm Laboratory where they were able to observe active hives, explore hydroponic and aquaponic farming techniques, and interact with the farm’s equine residents.

In addition to UH students and faculty, guests also had the opportunity to chat with local farmer Michael Crowell to learn about the tangible benefits of hosting UH hives at his farm, Wailea Agriculture Group. Since the introduction of honey bees, he has noted a marked improvement to the quality and quantity of his produce including Heart of Palm (featured in the “Big Island Heart of Palm Caesar Salad” found at Alan Wong’s Honolulu).

This engaging exhibition of the multifaceted impact that Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong has already made in our community took place under enchantingly decorated pavilion on site. There guests were serenaded by seasoned vocalist and horticulture professor Dr. Norman Arancon while enjoying a variety of honey-themed foods including a honey-lime vinaigrette served over a candied-walnut salad featuring student-grown tomatoes and lettuce. Everyone was abuzz with excitement in this festive atmosphere, and we are all looking forward to what new ventures next year has in store.

To learn more information about Adopt-a-Hive with Alan Wong, please visit: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/adoptabeehive/


by Jennifer Downs, Captain, Alan Wong's Honolulu