Digging Organics At Kolo Kai

Harvesting a sweet potato

Ben and Colette Ferris, Kolo Kai Organic Farm

What’s growing now:

Yellow ginger, white ginger, galangal ginger, turmeric, Okinawan sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, green beans, tomatoes, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, papayas and bananas.


Season: Available year round

What to look for:

Okinawan sweet potatoes have a white skin and are deep purple inside. Look for firm potatoes with no dark blemishes or soft spots.

Storage: Store in a dry place, out of direct sun in a basket with good air circulation. Sweet potatoes will last about a month stored this way.

Tip: The tender leaves of Okinawan sweet potatoes can be used like any type of green leafy vegetable and make a nutritious addition to stir-fries.

Kolo Kai owners Colette and Ben Ferris and friends. Daniel Lane photos

Preparation: Steam, fry, roast or boil. Okinawan sweet potatoes are incredibly sweet and make a complementary addition to curries. For sweet potato fries, cut into wedges and toss in oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes, until the outside has browned and the inside is soft and creamy.

Health benefits: “Experts say eating one cup of sweet potatoes a week could reduce your risk of lung, skin and prostrate cancers. Sweet potatoes contain lutein and carotenoids, molecules shown to starve cancer cells. Sweet potatoes also are loaded with alpha carotene. In studies, people with the highest levels of alpha carotene had almost a 40 percent decrease in risk of death,” says celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.

Kolo Kai Organic Farm produce available at: Grocery: Papaya’s Natural Foods and Cafe, Hoku Foods Natural Market, Harvest Market. Farmers Markets: Waipa on Tuesdays and Kilauea on Thursdays. Restaurants: Common Ground, Anini Beach Lilikoi Lunch Wagon and Banana Joe’s. Call 828-1712 for details.


Colette has many uses for her potatoes, so feel free to ask her for suggestions when you’re at the market. She shared this recipe with me because it’s a hands-down hit whenever she makes it.

* 15 medium-sized Kolo Kai Okinawan sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
* 3 green onions, sliced
* 1/2 cup sliced

Kolo Kai Organic Farm’s purple sweet potato salad

Kalamata olives

* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 2 cups Vegenaise (can substitute regular mayonnaise)
* 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Steam or boil potatoes until soft enough for a knife to poke through but not so soft that they get mushy or break apart. Drain and cool. When potatoes are cool, add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Diced dill pickles, capers and fresh herbs such as dill, rosemary, oregano, tarragon or sage make excellent additions.

This dish can be made and served with hot potatoes.

Serves six as a side dish.