Kaneshiro Farms Goes Whole Hog

The Kaneshiro ohana (front, from left) Mamo and Joen, (back) Gary and Serene Towner, Derwin and Valerie Kaneshiro, Mark and Margaret Kaneshiro and Troy Kaneshiro. Valerie Kaneshiro photos

Mamoru and Haruko, also known as Mamo and Joen, are the M & H in M & H Kaneshiro Farms. The family-run business includes son Derwin, his wife Valerie and their son Ahren. The Kaneshiros’ second son Mark and youngest son Troy also work for the farm.

The Kaneshiros have been hog farming on Kaua’i for almost 100 years. Mamo’s father, Ushi, started the business in 1920 in Koloa. His older brothers moved the farm to Omao in the ’40s, and today’s farm was established in 1978. The herd size varies over the years, and is currently at just over 100 sows.


“Pigs can be eaten at any age, from delectable small roasted suckling pigs to old boars that are really tasty smoked,” says herd manager Valerie Kaneshiro. “The average pig is off to market by six months of age, weighing around 200 pounds. These pigs supply the meat counters around Kaua’i.”

Season: “We house them in open buildings with a floor underneath and a roof overhead to keep them comfortable year-round and to limit the effects of seasonal changes,” says Valerie. “Hot, humid weather in August through October can greatly reduce conception rates of the sows, so far-rowing rates are lowest in December through February. The sows that didn’t catch in August will conceive in November, so there will be lots of little pigs born in the spring.”


“Pork is so versatile! The shoulder is more tender than the ham,” says Valerie.

It works well in slow-cooked dishes. Roasting a pig on a spit (huli huli) or imu, an underground oven, are the more common ways to enjoy a whole pig. A new trend is “box cooking” in which the pig is put into a “box.” The fire in a tray surrounds the meat with radiant heat, as opposed to the direct heat from a spit. This form of cooking is called Cajun Microwave, La Caja China, or Chinese box.


“‘Pumped pork’ is a term used when Mainland companies tenderize their meat by adding a sodium phosphate solution. This waters down the flavor, gives meat a slimy texture and reduces shelf life.”

Health benefits:

Pork tenderloin has less fat than chicken, and all pork is a rich source of protein. Iron, zinc, B vitamins and heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids also are found in pork. Fresh food is better for you because the nutrients have not been depleted by long storage. M & H Kaneshiro Farms’ fresh island pork has been federally inspected at the abattoir in Kalaheo the same day it is delivered, and is frequently sold within a few days.

M & H Kaneshiro Farms pork available at:

Big Save, Ishihara Market in Waimea, Sueoka Store in Koloa, and Times Supermarket in Lihu’e. Kaneshiro pork can be identified by the Kaua’i County Farm Bureau’s “Kaua’i Grown” label. The Big Save stores use their own island pork labels. Call 742-1308 for details.

Valerie Kaneshiro with Niiswi

Chef Aaron Leikam of 22 North in Lihue shared his recipe using Kaneshiro Farms pork chops. The chops are brined overnight making them extra juicy. This is a special dinner, and even though it looks long, it’s easy to make. You can make the dressing and onion marmalade the day before; just let the marmalade come to room temperature before plating.

with Kaua’i Kunana Dairy Farms Goat Cheese Grits, Red Onion Marmalade and Mustard Dressing

For honey Brined pork:

* 7 cups water
* 2 1/2 cups honey
* 1/2 cup salt
* 2 cinnamon sticks
* bay leaf
* 6 Kaneshiro Farms double cut pork chops

Bring contents to a boil and cool to room temperature. Place center cut pork chops in a glass container and pour brine over. Cover and let set overnight. Grill pork chops until they reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees.

Divide the grits onto six plates, spooning each serving into the center of the plate. Brush the pork chops with the mustard dressing and place on top of the grits; top with the red onion marmalade. Enjoy!

Makes six servings.

For Kaua’i Kunana

Dairy Goat cheese Grits:

* 3 cups water
* 1 cup Alber’s quick grits
* salt and pepper, to your taste
* 2 tablespoons butter
* 1/4 cup Parmigianoreggiano
* 1/4 cup Kaua’i Kunana Dairy goat cheese

Combine water and grits in a 2-quart pot, stir and bring to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in salt, pepper, butter and Reggiano.

For Mustard Dressing:

* 2 quarts mayonnaise
* 1 1/2 bottles ketchup
* 1/2 cup Gulden’s mustard
* 1/2 cup whole grain mustard
* 1 1/2 cups pickle relish
* 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
* 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
* 4 hardboiled eggs, grated
* 3 cups sour cream
* Tabasco, salt and pepper, to your taste

Combine all ingredients and whisk thoroughly; check for seasoning and add salt, pepper and Tabasco.

For Red Onion Marmalade:

* 2 pounds red onions, sliced
* 2 tablespoons oil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 cup red wine
* 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Cook onions in oil, covered, until dry. Stir in honey and cook for 5 minutes. Add bay leaf and red wine; reduce liquid until thick and syrupy. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce until syrupy. Check seasonings and add salt to your liking.