county of hawaii: AGRICULTURE

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Taro

Taro
Dry Land Taro

Taro has been grown extensively on the island since the arrival of the early Hawaiians. Taro is an underground tuber, like a potato, and grows all year round. This industry produces over 1.3 million pounds of taro per year, valued at over $700,000. For many years only one type of taro was grown and used specifically for making poi. This type of taro is called wetland or poi taro. The Big Island produced over 15% of the state's poi taro. There are around 20 poi taro farmers cultivating 80 acres of taro patches in Waipio Valley, the center of the poi taro production on the island. Now gaining significance in acreage and in the number of farms is another type of taro - the dryland or chinese taro. The Big Island, primarily the Hilo-Hamakua districts, accounts for over 90% of the state's total dryland taro acreage and about 90% of the state's total production. Dryland taro is used fresh and for making taro chips. The corms can be fried, roasted, baked or broiled. It is high in carbohydrates and potassium, and low in calories and sodium. Other parts of the taro plant that are used commercially are the leaves of the plant. Taro leaves or "Hawaiian spinach" are marketed as luau leaves. The leaves are rich in vitamins A and C. Taro is widely consumed by Asians, Pacific Islanders, Africans, and Central and South Americans. Taro chips, leaves, poi, and fresh taro are available in supermarkets around the island.


 

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