Every quarter, the Roots Program invites partners, neighbors and friends to come together to learn about what's new with our program, share their own ideas about how to effect significant change in our community, and celebrate another aspect of our shared culinary heritage. This month, our theme was chicken and eggs!
We were joined by sisters Lisa and Maxie Asagi to learn about the long history of Asagi Hatchery, currently the only chicken hatchery in the state of Hawai'i. Asagi Hatchery used to be just one of numerous hatcheries in the islands, supplying the many local chicken farms. In the 60's and 70's, increasing industrialization of our food system gradually culled these businesses until only the Hatchery remained. These days, Asagi Hatchery is experiencing a rebirth supplying backyard chicken farmers as well as a few large farms around the islands, including J. Ludovico Farm.
They also shared plenty of knowledge for aspiring backyard chicken farmers. Did you know different breeds of chicken have different personalities? Or that chickens prefer to lay eggs where other chickens have laid, so you can guide their choice of locale with a wooden decoy egg? Or that they don't lay while molting? To learn more and pick up some chicks of your own, stop by the Hatchery.
We were also joined by Julius Ludovico of J. Ludovico Farm, who shared the story of how he became a chicken farmer. His farm currently consists of two chicken pastures and up to 2,000 chickens at a time, all pecking happily in the dirt for their dinner. Julius watches each and every bird grow from a day-old chick to market size. You can enjoy his lovingly-raised birds at local restaurants like Real: A Gastropub or the Pig and the Lady, buy fresh chicken at his booth at the Blaisdell Farmers Market every Wednesday, or call his farm to order your own whole chicken. Minimal carbon footprint, pasture-raised happy birds, fresh healthy meat - thanks Julius!
And, of course, there was eating! Roots staff love to work with versatile ingredients, and we whipped up a bunch of dishes to showcase the awesomeness of chickens and their eggs (or eggs and their chickens?)
Here's a few things we tried:
Chicken Adobo - J. Ludovico Farm free-range chicken leg marinated in calamansi, garlic, ginger, and vinegar
Frittata - Kahumana Farms organic chicken egg, mixed greens, Kolea Farm purple radish, and Kaluaopalena kalamungay
Kimchee Fried Rice - J. Ludovico Farm free-range chicken breast, Ilio Lani Farm Duck eggs, Roots Cafe kimchee, Kako'o 'Oiwi ginger, Kahumana Farms mizuna and purplette, onion, and garlic
Oyako Donburi - J. Ludovico Frm free-range chicken breast, Kahumana Farms chicken egg, onion, and green onion
Pickled Egg - Eggs Hawai'i chicken egg with Kahumana Farms beets
Tobiko-Tamago-Vegetable Sushi Roll - Kahumana Farms chicken egg, carrot, and local tobiko
Coffee Flan - Kahumana Farms chicken egg and Kaua'i coffee