Mahi Pono’s potato test crop deemed a success
Two local food banks are sharing in the fresh bounty of a new crop from a Maui farm.
Mahi Pono LLC on Friday donated nearly 30,000 pounds of red, white and yellow potatoes to distributor Hawaii Foodservice Alliance in Honolulu for subsequent delivery to Hawaii Foodbank outlets on Oahu and Kauai.
The potatoes were planted in August by the company, which bought 41,000 acres of former sugar cane plantation lands in 2018 from Alexander & Baldwin Inc. and aims to make the starchy staple a major “signature” crop in Hawaii.
Darren Strand, Mahi Pono’s vice president of agricultural development and business outreach, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the initial potato crop was a success and allowed the company to test different varieties, irrigation, harvesting, washing and other facets of production.
“They’re great potatoes,” he said.
Mahi Pono anticipates it will begin commercial potato harvests to initially supply stores and other customers on Maui in mid-February.
Strand said the company expects to produce about 50,000 pounds of potatoes a week and that some of this amount will go to markets on other islands to put a “significant dent” in the imported supply of the same type of potatoes. Mahi Pono also plans to expand its potato farming in the long term.
Since the test planting began in August, Mahi Pono also has planted approximately 120 acres of citrus trees and 20 acres of non-GMO solo papayas.
Andrew Gomes, Star-Advertiser
Public input sought on improvements to Hana bridges
The state Department of Transportation and federal officials are holding a second round of public meetings to gather input on planned improvements to six historic bridges that stretch from mile post markers 5.9 to 28.3 along Maui’s scenic Hana Highway.
They are the Kailua, Makanali, Puohokamoa, Kopiliula, Ulaino and Mokulehua bridges. The intention of the meetings is to gather input and share information on the project as the bridges are studied in more detail. The meetings will be held at the following times and locations:
>> 5 p.m. Tuesday at Hana Community Center
>> 5 p.m. Wednesday at Keanae Congregational Church
>> 5 p.m. Thursday at Paia Community Center
Comments also can be submitted online at hanabridgeimprovements.com or by contacting project manager Michael Will at 720-963-3647 or email@example.com.
Napili Park playground to get shade structure
The playground at Napili Park will be closed starting Monday through March 15 to allow construction of a shade structure and the repair of the playground surface, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation. Other park facilities will remain open during the project.
Global Specialty Contractors Inc. was awarded a $180,688 contract for the work.
Maui median home price set record in 2019
The median price for Maui single-family homes rose to a record last year, marking a second consecutive year for the feat.
A Realtors Association of Maui report showed that single-family homes sold for a median $741,355 last year, up 4% from $710,000 in 2018.
The median price for condominiums, however, remained short of a more than decade-old peak despite gains in seven of the last eight years. Condos on Maui sold for a median $515,500 in 2019, up 3% from $500,000 the year before. The record was set in 2007 at $550,000.
Last year’s price gains occurred in the face of what the trade association said was strong buyer demand driven in part by low interest rates but limited by lighter inventory of homes available for sale.
“Buyer demand continues to be strong but with tepid seller activity still in many locations, total sales are lower than they would normally be in a more balanced market,” the association said in its report.
The number of single-family home sales slipped 2% last year to 1,117 from 1,139 the year before. Condo sales slipped 3% to 1,606 from 1,657 in the same period.
The monthly average of inventory of listings was down 9% for single-family homes and down 16% for condos, the report said.
For December only, the median sale price for single-family homes was $740,000, up 5% from $707,500 in the same month in 2018. That was based on 97 sales in 2019 and 95 the year before.
Condos sold for a median $514,120 in December, up 5% from $491,000 a year earlier. There were 123 condo sales last month, up from 122 a year earlier.