Friday, March 28, 2008

Farmers' Market takes over the Capitol

What do Madagascar hissing cockroaches, fresh Maui pineapple, and reusable grocery bags have in common? They were all part of the 2008 Ag Sustainability Day at the Capitol yesterday.

Hawaii's agriculture industries and organizations set up tables and displays for lawmakers and the public to gather information and sample local produce and products.

The Dept. of Agriculture drew crowds to a corner table with the shrill bird-like chirping of the male coqui frogs seeking mates – from a recording of course. Event-goers were able to gawk at several invasive species that were captured in Hawaii, including the coqui frog, ball python and a hedgehog.

Leslie Iseke, a plant quarantine inspector from the DOA, said the hedgehog was found walking down a sidewalk and was probably someones pet.

Invasive species were hardly the most popular exhibit. On the opposite corner of the 4th floor, the sweet, juicy chunks of Maui Gold pineapple satisfied the lunch-time cravings of lawmakers, staff members and the public. Samples of pineapple soaked in li-hing mui juice and the sweet and spicy flavors of the Maui Gold Pineapple Salsa were very popular with the crowd.

The Farmers' Market, sponsored by the Legislature, sold produce and products from local farmers and producers with exhibits at the event.

Photo: The public received a free reusable grocery bag for turning in 5 plastic bags.

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