Richard Ha writes:
I got this email today, which was forwarded to me by Diane Ley, interim director of the Department of Research and Development for the County of Hawai‘i.
The email said that for the second time in three weeks, a grocery store in Captain Cook, which ordered locally grown bananas from a distributor, received imported Dole bananas (sticker side down) that were packed in Hamakua Springs boxes.
From: ken love
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 3:06 PM
To: Andrew G. HASHIMOTO; Alice Sherer; Betsy
Cole; Bev White; Dayday; Dean Okimoto; Jonathan Deenik; Bonnie; Elizabeth
Haws Connally; Ellen Mehos; Johnsons; Eric Weinert; Follett, Peter; Joan
Namkoong; Janelle Saneishi; Tane; Karin Stanton; Joan
Lamont; Brian Lievens; Matt Loke; Diane Ley; Diana Duff; Dick Bowen; Kent;
Nancy Pisicchio; Nancy Miller; Nancy Redfeather; Una Greenaway; Doug
Vincent; Virginia Smith; Zee, Francis; Nishijima, Wayne; miles hakoda
Subject: Imported bananas in Hamakua Springs boxes
Choice Mart & Imported Bananas
For the second time in three weeks, Choice Mart, the grocery store in
Captain Cook ordered locally grown bananas from the wholesaler Cal-Kona.
They received boxes marked Hamakua Springs, Cavendish & Hawaii #1 but what
they received were Dole bananas from Ecuador. Photos are attached.
Choice Mart has repeatedly ordered only locally grown bananas. They buy a
significant amount direct from growers but at times have to supplement that
by ordering locally grown from wholesalers.
It is unknown how or where the imported bananas were packed into Hamakua
Springs boxes ( With the Dole Ecuador stickers face down) but the issue of
legality must be raised. This obviously deceptive practice must stop. It
reflects poorly on Hamakua Springs as well as Cal-Kona. The store is working
on the side of growers to support local agriculture to the best of their
ability and asked me to relay this information to those who may be in a
position to make sure this practice stops.
The store would like inspectors from some agency to look into this and I
Wow, Hamakua Springs' bananas must be popular! Why would anyone go to the trouble of disguising Dole bananas so they look like Hamakua Springs ones?
Of course, it wasn't us. We don't sell to Cal-Kona, and we don't repack other people’s bananas into our boxes. Why would we do that? Waste time, lose money, and besides, it’s bad, bad business. It's not our style.
We are going to be out of bananas altogether soon, but just for a couple of months while we reconfigure our banana farm. We are forced to take drastic action because the wholesaler Hilo Product started competing with us, using lower priced bananas from the Big Island as well as from O‘ahu.
We are planting our banana fields closer to the packing house and will be out of production for a couple months. We'll crank back up when our hydroelectric plant is finished.
In the meantime, while we wait for our new fields to produce, we will ripen and sell Dole bananas. They won't, of course, go into Hamakua Springs boxes.
I am just amazed by this. Imagine - someone is disguising Dole bananas to look like Hamakua Springs' bananas. You know what they say: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Ha Ha Ha!
I am very impressed that Choice Mart and its customers are so loyal to locally grown products. They are right that someone should look into exactly what took place. This is very serious business.