Weather damaged strawberries and plumerias

For most farmers, their very livelihood depends on the weather.  Recently, the weather has not been favorable for certain crops.

Upcountry Maui and Oahu’s Waianae coast have gotten more rain than usual, and that’s affected some of the farms there.

The constant rain, off and on, in Upcountry Maui has not been good for the strawberries at Kula Country Farms.

“What happens is when you have strawberries and when they’re ripe you cannot get them wet because they melt, especially if they’re ripe, turns into mush,” said Meridyth of Kula Country Farms.  “Let’s put it this way, my brother has had to throw away a couple fields of crops, had to throw away strawberries.”

That’s the reason why, if you’ve been looking for Kula strawberries at the store, you haven’t been able to find them.

All three Hawaii locations of Whole Foods Market say they’ve been out of stock for a couple of weeks, and that Kula strawberries are among their popular items.

“It’s not just us, it’s other farmers on Maui too,” Meridyth said.

The weather has also affected the Waianae farm that has supplied most of the plumeria flowers for the Kamehameha Statue lei draping ceremony in Downtown Honolulu.

KHON2 asked: “How worried were you that you folks weren’t going to have enough flowers for tomorrow’s ceremony?”
Lehua Kalima of the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission replied: “Very worried.  We only found out on Friday that they weren’t able to provide them and we had ordered them last November, and so it wasn’t even a thought in my mind, it wasn’t even a problem.  So when I got the text Friday afternoon, I was freaking out slightly.”

But since then, the community has pulled together, and organizers think they’ll have enough flowers for the ceremony, with ones collected over the past few days, and ones being dropped off on Wednesday.

“Just from all over the state we’re getting all the flowers.  I’m really not worried about it now, it’s like a blessing in disguise actually,” Kalima said.

If you’d also like to help, you can drop off loose plumerias in front of the Kekuanaoa Building on King Street starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday.  The lei draping is scheduled to happen at 3:30 p.m.

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