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The Bigger Picture

Kahiau Beamer SALT mural

At SALT at Our Kaka‘ako, artists Kahiau Beamer, Matt and Roxy Ortiz, Kamea Hadar, Santiago Otani, and Matthew James pay homage to the past while looking to the future.

Text by Harrison Patino | Images by Jonas Maon

As the future of Kaka‘ako approaches with every passing day, a select group of artists invite onlookers into the neighborhood’s past with vibrant murals inspired by its rich cultural history. After these painters, graffiti artists, and graphic designers are done sketching, printing, spraying, and painting at SALT, the 85,000-square-foot gathering place will be adorned with artworks that celebrate Hawaiian culture and the artistry of the people who have called Kaka‘ako home, painting a picture of Kaka‘ako’s past, present, and future.

Kahiau Beamer SALT mural

As an alumnus of Kamehameha Schools, Kahiau Beamer has always had a particular reverence for its founder, Bernice Pauahi Bishop. With his courtyard mural at SALT, the artist celebrates this strong woman of history with a series of portraits of Bishop, alongside symbols of Hawaiian culture then and now, such as kalo, poke, and ‘ukulele. “Over the course of her lifetime, she held a strong and hopeful vision for her people,” Beamer says. For the artist, this mural also represents a balance between the commercial growth of Kaka‘ako and the largely young, creatively driven demographic that lives and works alongside it. (Beamer has a studio at Lana Lane Studios.) “It helps open up a dialogue with the community and the developers,” he says. “It shows both sides.”

Wooden Wave SALT Mural

Chances are you’ve seen the whimsical, treehouse-inspired murals of husband and wife duo Matt and Roxy Ortiz around town. Together, the two artists make up creative company Wooden Wave, specializing in a combination of hand-drawn illustrations and large-scale mural work. For SALT, their contributions are the signage wall next to Bevy and the artwork that will be printed on stretched-canvas eaves shading a nearby seating area. “We’re hoping that in putting our artwork in this public space, we’re reminding people that art should be a part of your visual landscape,” Matt says.

Both of these creations emphasize Our Kaka‘ako not only as a place for artistry and creativity, but also as a bridge between mountain and ocean. As Matt puts it, “We were really drawn to the idea that this is going to be a gathering place, that we will be laying out where Kaka‘ako stands in relation to an ahupua‘a system.” By evoking the ocean, mountains, and sky in watercolor hues, the duo encourage people to embrace sustainability, and remind passersby that the modern city can, and should, coexist with nature.

“My paintings deal with what I believe are basic principles of the universe: fluid dynamics, particle dispersion, gravity, and heat,” says Matthew James, an artist who grew up in Mānoa and now lives in Brooklyn, New York. For his resin painting that will be affixed to a wall at SALT Our Kaka‘ako, he is manipulating these principles to create an aesthetic that is rustic yet elegant, abstract yet galactic, influenced by scientific photographs from the Hubble Telescope and topographic imagery. The process for it involves painting layers of resin and colors, then finishing with a top layer of acrylic and metal powders that will continue to corrode, revealing the layers beneath, and interacting with the salty breeze coming in off the ocean, resulting in a patina that will shift over time. “Kaka‘ako is not an ocean neighborhood, yet is right near the water. This piece brings a bit of the imagery of the ocean into the neighborhood,” he explains. “The metals and rust aesthetic used in the painting is reminiscent of the rough and industrial roots of Kaka‘ako.”

Kamea Hadar SALT Mural

Kamea Hadar is a busy man. As the co-lead director of the POW! WOW! arist network, he’s often traveling the globe overseeing projects or working on creations for clients like Hawaiian Airlines, Hurley, and OluKai. Hadar, who studied art at The Sorbonne in Paris, boasts a body of street art that has covered walls the world over, reaching audiences in Honolulu, San Francisco, and Taiwan, among others. His two murals at SALT are inspired by the legend of the naupaka flower, which resembles a half-flower and grows on shrubs in the mountains and by the ocean; the legend tells of lovers separated forever, one mauka and the other makai.The first mural, on the makai-facing wall, will feature a female figure and makai blues; the other, on the mauka-facing wall, will feature a male figure paired with mauka greens. “I enjoy the human form because of how much one can convey with an image of a face or body,” Hadar says. “From the moment we are born we are programmed to see and read faces, bodies, and body language. This makes it one of the most challenging subjects to paint as anyone and everyone can easily spot mistakes, but on the other hand allows me as an artist to convey emotion, tell complex stories, and more easily connect with my audience.”

“Art has been something I’ve been into ever since I was a little kid,” says Santiago Otani. His work, which draws heavily from the style of comic books and Saturday-morning cartoons he absorbed as a child growing up in Los Angeles, often portrays whimsical, color-drenched landscapes and idyllic scenes.

Although Otani was raised in California, he has close ties with Kaka‘ako—his grandfather grew up and worked in the industrial Honolulu neighborhood. With his mural, Otani hopes to celebrate the everyday people, including his family, who have called the area home, as well as the talent that has come from it. The mural will resemble a scrapbook, featuring ordinary residents of Kaka‘ako’s past based on Otani’s mother’s collection of old photographs of the area, alongside portraits of musicians also hailing from Kaka‘ako, like Gabby Pahinui and Danny Lopes. Says Otani, “The art is basically what I would call a celebration of some of the local heroes of the area.”


The Merry Man’s Kitchen

Monkeypod Kitchen Salt Kakaako

The story of chef and restaurateur Peter Merriman, who is debuting Moku’s Kitchen at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako this fall.

Text by Kelli Gratz | Images by John Hook

At age 14, as a Boy Scout living in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Peter Merriman could execute a perfect eggs Benedict over a campfire. This skill was a sign of things to come—merely a year later, he realized he wanted to be a chef, partly because of his mother’s influence as a food writer for the Pittsburg Post-Gazette, but mostly because of his great love for food. “Growing up, my mother was a good cook and we ate a lot of ethnic food,” he says. “I would test a few of her recipes, simple things, but it worked out because I always had a huge appetite.”

Through his mother’s culinary connections, at age 16, Merriman got a job doing prep work for master chef Ferdinand Metz, the senior research and development manager at H.J. Heinz Company. After graduating from University of Pennsylvania with a degree in political science in 1978, he enrolled in a three-year chef’s apprentice program with RockResorts, working under chef Hans Schadler, who got him a job at the Intercontinental Hotel in Germany. When Merriman moved back to the United States, he took a job with the Four Seasons in Washington, D.C.

“I didn’t like the job, so I quit, and went home to my sister’s place in D.C.,” he says. “Within 15 minutes, the phone rang, and it’s Hans-Peter Hager from Mauna Lani Bay Hotel saying, ‘Hey, would you like to come out here and be a cook?’ It took me like 10 seconds to figure that out.”


So, in 1983, Merriman arrived on Hawai‘i Island to begin his new job, bringing with him only one bag and $75. He instantly fell in love with the islands’ cultures, intrigued by local dishes like laulau, pork adobo, and chicken long rice. But when he saw what was being served in the hotels, Merriman realized there was something very wrong: The ingredients were imported and frozen, and the cuisine didn’t accurately reflect the society. Determined to improve the quality of restaurant food in the islands, Merriman ended up creating regional cuisine, which later became known as Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine, alongside a handful of other local island chefs.

“We’re talking about the ’80s,” he says. “There weren’t a lot of ingredients, and so we talked to farmers, we advertised, we grew our own. I would actually dive for sea urchin. Whatever it took. We called it ‘guerilla purchasing’ … because it just took every skill you had to figure out how to get something going.”


Since then, Merriman’s accomplishments have come to include being a three-time James Beard Award finalist, and running seven highly acclaimed restaurants throughout the islands. His latest concept, Moku Kitchen, opening in late October at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako, is another homage to Hawai‘i, offering comfort food within a high-energy atmosphere. This 7,000-square-foot eatery will serve the same handcrafted cocktails and 36 beers on tap that can be found at his Monkeypod Kitchen restaurants, with the addition of a rotisserie and casual offerings like hand-tossed pizzas and burgers. “Moku Kitchen is really geared toward the residents of Hawai‘i, who may look for a slightly different fare,” he says. “‘Upcountry downtown’ is our theme, and I think it fits into the ahupua‘a concept of land division.” The kitchen will be utilizing fresh ingredients from local farmers that encompass what is harvested from the mountains to the ocean.

Perpetuating time-honored traditions in food cultivation, Merriman’s mission is to create opportunities to connect with the history of the community. “It’s more interesting for me to go into somebody’s home, of whatever ethnicity, and see what mama’s cooking,” he says. “Because so often, that’s the clues to where great things start, from what has been done in families for generations.”

Moku Kitchen will be located at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako, and is slated to open in late October 2016.


The Riches of Kaka‘ako

Dale 1845 sketch_Kakaako Salt Pans

This neighborhood was once the fertile crossroads of ali‘i, where necessities like salt and fish were cultivated.

Text by Anna Harmon

Pictured above: “Native Church [Kawaiaha‘o Church], Oahu, from the Old Salt Pans,” 1845. Sketch by John B. Dale.

Our Kaka‘ako’s shoreline once ended at what is now Ala Moana Boulevard. Along this original coastline were bountiful fisheries, and on the nearby land were marshy mud flats where pili grass grew, canals that brought freshwater to loko i‘a, or fishponds, and salt pans—filled with ocean water at high tide and empty when low—where the crystalized mineral was harvested.

Before contact, the broader place name for Our Kaka‘ako was Ka‘ākaukukui—a designation that actually encompassed four parts of land, including a parcel at the back of Pauoa Valley, and another where the Zippy’s on Vineyard Boulevard is now. But this moniker was far from the only name used for the oceanfront area—in fact, the more names that were tied to a location, the more valued it was, and this region was known by a plethora. Take the neighborhood’s modern-day title of Kaka‘ako, which in the past was used for a more specific area near Ka‘ākaukukui and was thought to have referenced cutting pili grass to use to thatch huts. Another name, which referred to a small area near where SALT stands now, was kaloko‘eli. “Ka loko is just a pond, really an impression in the ground, and ‘eli is to dig,” explains Kamehameha Schools director of natural and cultural resources, Jason Jeremiah. “It makes sense because they would have dug these ponds, salt or fishponds. That place name may have been the name because of the actions that were happening.”

As this name implies, what is now a bustling neighborhood with eateries, apartment buildings, and creative spaces was once the quiet stop on the way to and from neighboring Hawaiian hubs, as well as the place to procure two of the most essential staples of Hawaiian life: fish and salt. While Waikīkī and the land surrounding Honolulu Harbor were bustling areas where ali‘i lived, Kaka‘ako was where the necessities were cultivated.

“From the Hawaiian perspective, salt is very important for the culture,” says Jeremiah. “It was used to preserve our food; it was used in ceremonies as a cleanser or purifier. So the availability and ability to procure those resources was very important.”

Farming salt was a complex task that utilized several features of the land, including ālia, or salt beds; drains feeding smaller channels lined with clay or leaves; and poho kai, or depressions in rocks. As saltwater ebbed and flowed with the tide, traveled through passages, or transferred to such depressions, its evaporation left behind crystals that could then be harvested. Such husbandry was in harmony with the other uses of the land, including farming fish in brackish ponds, and gathering the pili grass that grew on the marshy land.

The arrival of Western merchants, missionaries, and travelers changed these traditions irrevocably over time, first by turning Hawaiian salt into an export, and then by importing cheaper alternatives. Even still, salt was produced commercially in Kaka‘ako into the early 1930s at Kaka‘ako Saltworks, a company helmed by industrious Chinese entrepreneurs.

Time has changed the face of the place. Dredging extended the neighborhood’s shoreline, and its growing industries and community have made Kaka‘ako into its own bustling neighborhood. But the land’s bounty continues to thrive, albeit in new forms. To Jeremiah, Hawaiians have never left the area; rather, their contributions have shifted from farming salt to creating music and art. This is embodied by Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i, a festival that brings together artists to paint public murals in Kaka‘ako every year, and which has grown to global heights.

While history is still in the making here, remembering Kaka‘ako’s rich past is equally as important. Jeremiah aspires to perpetuate it through storytelling and newly chosen place names, such as that of Our Kaka‘ako’s main commercial hub, SALT. “Our ali‘i, in the historic period, they built buildings and developed Honolulu,” Jeremiah says. “I think the important thing to preserve is the knowledge of these places and the history, and continue to tell the story that way and incorporate it into the urban design today.”


Getting Smart

donation station our kakaako

At the donation station in Our Kakaʻako, educational materials donated by Kamehameha Schools affiliates are free for all.

Text by Anna Harmon | Images by John Hook

“Kamehameha Schools’ mission is to support and promote education as well as to cultivate a culture of sustainability throughout the organization. The Donation Station reflects how those core values harmoniously come together,” says Amy “Kālai” Brinker, sustainability manager at Kamehameha Schools. As she stands at the center of the Donation Station in Our Kaka‘ako surrounded by binders, backpacks, and books. The station, which is open until December, takes donated items in good condition from Kamehameha Schools properties and makes them available to educators and students within Kamehameha Schools and the broader community.

Brinker estimates this project will divert more than 10,000 pounds of materials that would be in landfills otherwise. “We want to make sure an admin person over here isn’t buying a binder, while another is throwing one away,” she explains.

But it is more than merely an exchange of goods and a way to save resources. “For Kamehameha Schools, landfills are especially important, because often, landfills are located near Native Hawaiian communities,” Brinker says. “This is another way we are having an indirect impact right in the community.”

Anyone can stop in at the Kamehameha Schools Donation Station to select free supplies, as long as the items are to be used for educational purposes. It is located in Our Kaka‘ako at 401 Cooke St. on the mauka and Diamond Head corner. Hours are Thursday and Friday, 2 to 6 p.m. (2 to 4 p.m. for Kamehameha Schools affiliates, 4 to 6 p.m. open for the public); Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (10 a.m. to noon for Kamehameha Schools affiliates, noon to 2 p.m. open for the public).

For more information, visit


Hole In One

This Is It Bakery Honolulu

This Is It Bakery And Deli has been cranking out tasty bagels and other baked treats in Kaka‘ako since 1979.

Text by James Charisma |Images by John Hook

Our name has two meanings,” says Steve Gelson, owner of This Is It Bakery and Deli. “The first is what people say when they bite into one of our bagels or bread or donuts and taste the quality—that this is the real deal, you’ve found it. The second meaning is about the bakery itself—that this is the one we’re putting everything into, this is it.”

More than 35 years ago, in 1979, Hawaiian Bagel was what husband and wife owners Steve and Mona Gelson were beginning to put everything into, with the help of a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration and Steve Gelson’s father-in-law, who loved bagels. Before moving to Hawai‘i, Steve, who was born in Brooklyn, was restaurant manager at Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan. Here, he met Mona, a college girl from Hawai‘i who was working at the store’s espresso bar. The two would send gifts of bagels back to Mona’s family on Maui, and her father joked that Steve should open a bagel shop in Hawai‘i to skip having to mail them. So after he and Mona married, they did just that.

But it wasn’t exactly a piece of cake. “People weren’t eating bagels in Hawai‘i back then. Sandwiches neither; it was all plate lunches,” recalls Steve, who remembers their early years in the bagel business as being a struggle. But in time, Hawai‘i customers discovered the duo’s original company, Hawaiian Bagel, and visitors turned into regulars. Soon, the Gelsons were struggling to keep up with demand. “We used to have five trucks on the roads because we were supplying to everybody. We did all the supermarkets, the military, big box stores,” Steve says.

This Is It Bakery Honolulu

When the Gelsons’ lease ran out in 1999, the couple closed Hawaiian Bagel and opened This Is It Bakery and Deli, settling in to a warehouse on Cooke Street just two blocks away from their former location on Halekauwila Street. Here, they’ve expanded their selection to include cakes, pies, and donuts (Steve says that cake is now their best seller). Baking begins at 3 or 4 a.m., when the bagels are made; donuts are whipped up in the afternoon, and bread and rolls are baked in the evening. Because of this nonstop schedule, a walk down Cooke Street at nearly any time of day means encountering the unmistakable, rich aroma of freshly baked goods.

“Kaka‘ako’s really changed. With everything happening around here, we’ve had a lot more foot traffic and people stopping by,” Steve says. “Luckily, we just have to get them in here one time to try the food and say hello, and they’ll usually come back.”

Today, Steve still spends much of his time in the kitchen, while Mona spearheads the paperwork and the company’s second location, This Is It … Too, in downtown Honolulu. “I come in every day around 10 or 11 a.m. and stay until midnight or 1 a.m.,” says Steve. “If you own your own business, it kind of ends up consuming a big part of your life, no way around it. Doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in; everybody puts in the hours.”

For Steve, the important part is that you love what you do. And his favorite part? “Eating bagels,” he says with a laugh. “A good business owner has to sample the products, you know.”

This Is It Bakery and Deli is located at 443 Cooke Street. Hours are 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit


Slowly But Surely

Jiwa Jiwa Press Kakaako

Jiwa Jiwa Press makes its mark on Hawai‘i’s reemerging letterpress industry.

Text by Andy Beth Miller | Images by Jonas Maon

Cherish Prado-Sherman’s workspace at Lana Lane Studios is packed with paper, block letters, and multi-colored inks. Here, amid the organized chaos of Jiwa Jiwa Press, she introduces me to the brawn behind her company: Hugo and Frankie. “[Hugo is] our big hitter, our hulk, and our main squeeze,” she says, pointing to a large Gordon press with an old-school flywheel and dapper gold trim. More than a century old, this cast-iron, treadle-powered machine is responsible for the vast majority of Jiwa Jiwa Press creations, which range from stationary to art prints. Smaller in stature yet no less beloved, Frankie, a motor-powered Gordon press, is used to tackle the company’s larger-quantity print jobs. “Frankie may be little, but boy does he print!” she assures.

Jiwa Jiwa Press

The pair of handsome machines lend their muscle daily, whirring, clacking, and clicking away under the experienced guidance of Prado-Sherman, who specializes in letterpress printing, a technique that uses a press to make repeated impressions of an inked, raised surface on paper, creating numerous copies of the design. At Lana Lane, Prado-Sherman uses this personal method to produce handcrafted paper goods, including greeting cards, stationery, art prints, and custom projects such as wedding and baby announcements. “When roughly translated in Japanese, jiwa jiwa means ‘slowly, but surely’ or ‘little by little,’” she explains of her company’s name, a definition that mirrors her own diligent work ethic.

Prado-Sherman conceptualized her company after graduating with a BFA in printmaking from Portland’s Pacific Northwest College of Art, creating goods under its name while also taking on numerous apprenticeships spanning the field of printmaking. Several years later, in 2014, she returned to O‘ahu to be near family, accompanied by her husband, whom she had met while in college. Here, she turned her full attention to the craft, working out of a makeshift studio that her father, a retired welder, converted from his old workspace at her parents’ home in Mililani. In July 2015, she found the perfect long-term fit for Jiwa Jiwa Press, relocating her operations to the workshop at Lana Lane Studios, Our Kaka‘ako’s resident art collective.

Jiwa Jiwa Press

The creative entrepreneur describes the signature style of Jiwa Jiwa Press as “high class with a touch of sass.” This charisma sets the shop apart, and the sass, seen in witty cards customized to showcase each client’s style and personality, adds extra appeal. To top it off, Prado-Sherman prints exclusively on 100 percent tree-free cotton paper, and uses recycled-paper envelopes made by eco-conscious and wind-powered paper factories.

Paying homage to the classic tradition of letterpress printing while poised at the modern edge of maintaining an eco-friendly enterprise, Prado-Sherman embraces a winning combination of old meets new. “It’s still new and unknown to a lot of people here,” she says, describing O‘ahu’s burgeoning letterpress niche. For the Jiwa Jiwa Press owner, this means the chance to build something beautiful.

For more information, visit


Feeding the Stoke

Wooden Wave Creativity

Husband and wife team Wooden Wave keep creativity coming.

Text by Christa Hester | Images by Jonas Maon

Matt and Roxy Ortiz, the husband and wife duo behind Wooden Wave, are a lean, mean, creative team. They were one of the first to move into a workspace at Lana Lane Studios, and are regular participants in Pow Wow Hawai‘i. Previously known as Vers, the two changed their team name to Wooden Wave in 2014 to mark a shift from printmaking to painting murals. “We draw inspiration from skating and surfing, mountains and ocean,” Roxy says. “So Wooden Wave, which is another name for a half pipe, is kind of perfect for us.”

Under their new moniker, they are most known for creating murals of elaborate, sustainable treehouses. They spend most mornings at their studio, tending to the latest orphaned bird they’ve found and working on projects for clients who love their playful yet environmentally conscious art. One of the latest murals the couple has begun is for SALT, a restaurant, retail, and mixed-use space located between Coral and Keawe streets.

“For this project we want to acknowledge Kaka‘ako’s past lives and its place between mountains and ocean,” Matt says. “We’re doing a mural that’s more abstract than what we normally do, with nods to the salt farms, agriculture, and ironworks that have been here, as well as this idea that it’s a gathering place. We’re also doing an awning that’ll be draped in a hallway running mauka to makai in watercolors that shift from blue to green.”

Wooden Wave Creativity


After nine years of marriage and artistic collaboration, the couple has learned a thing or two about finding inspiration and sustaining it. Here are their tips:

Go adventuring. “Different environments reinvigorate your art,” Roxy says.

Record all your ideas. “If you get an idea and don’t document it, it’s as good as gone,” Matt says. “Keep your ideas in one sketchbook, then you can go back and have a ton of content ready to develop during a lull.”

Practice every day. “There’s this mythology of the artist who waits for inspiration to come, then works feverishly,” Roxy says. “Really, you have to get through those days of crappy sketches to get to a great idea.”

Eliminate distractions. “Mentally transition from home to work. For me, that means coffee and going to the studio,” Matt says. “If you work at home, try going to a certain room to work. And stock up on food so you don’t have to break concentration.”

Make and keep connections. “Relationships with clients and other artists support, inspire, and motivate us,” Roxy says. “Go to shows, talk to artists, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”

For more information, visit


Urban Growth

MetroGrow Hawaii

A hidden farm in Our Kaka‘ako presents viable solutions to traditional agricultural obstacles.

Text by Brad Dell | Images by John Hook

Kaka‘ako was home to wetland agriculture and salt ponds long before it was enveloped by cityscape. As I sit in a warehouse in the neighborhood and bite into just-picked lettuce still covered with saltwater droplets that shine like crystals, it’s easy to imagine what fresh harvests of the land once tasted like. Except that this lettuce, an ice plant (aka glacier lettuce), didn’t exist in the islands until Kerry Kakazu, owner of MetroGrow Hawaii, began growing it in his indoor vertical farm.

MetroGrow Hawaii, which Kakazu founded in 2013, uses aeroponics, a growing method in which plant roots are exposed to air and periodically misted with a nutrient solution. LED bulbs replace sunlight, fans and tarps keep varying air temperatures cool, and advanced delivery systems minimize water and fertilizer usage. These practices allow Kakazu to grow cool-weather crops year-round, such as mache, smooth-leaf spinach, and miner’s lettuce. Kakazu says his is the first legal farm of its sort in the state. “Before, it was just the marijuana growers doing this,” he says with a laugh.

Rows of lettuce and shoots line the racks of Kakazu’s indoor farm, which is located in the same structure as Kaka‘ako Agora. It looks more like a laboratory than a greenhouse, with purple and pink microgreens sprouting from plastic pods, and Kakazu controlling the conditions— from the intensity of the lighting to the frequency of nutrient misting—with quick swipes on a smartphone. The innovative farmer has a doctorate in plant physiology, but admits that technology has gifted him with an artificial green thumb. “People used to always ask for advice on how to grow plants,” he says. “But I was always grinding them up, killing them, and analyzing them. I would always say, ‘Don’t ask me!’”

Before launching MetroGrow Hawaii, Kakazu worked at the University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center for 13 years, where he researched cell division and managed facilities. In 2013, he noticed the growing demand for local foods and took the opportunity to open his first-ever farm. What began as a hobby for Kakazu became a full-time profession within a year. After a period of trial and error, he became confident in manipulating the environment of crops to change sizes, colors, and tastes— an ability that has made his business popular with eateries that desire unique food aesthetics, such as sushi restaurants.

This revolutionary farming method also supports sustainability and healthy eating. The plants don’t require pesticides and consume less fertilizer, water, and land than traditional farming. Kakazu says these factors are increasingly important in the face of land and freshwater shortages, as well as increasingly humid, stormy days in Hawai‘i, which create an unstable outdoor growing environment. Kakazu sits behind his desk, looks at his plants, and says, “This could very well be the future.”

MetroGrow Hawaii


Microgreens are plants that are grown to the point where the first set of true leaves (the second set of leaves that grow from the sprout) have emerged. They are usually even more flavorful than the full-grown plant, and are best eaten fresh as garnishes or added to salads. Plants in the cabbage family, like radish, kale, and arugula, make for hardy microgreens, which are ready within 10 to 14 days. For shoots, pea, sunflower, and soybean are good options, and are ready in about 10 days.

Step 1: Soak the seeds overnight in water. (Smaller seeds and mucilaginous seeds like chia don’t need to be soaked.)
Step 2: Spread seeds generously on potting mix in a shallow tray, such as nursery trays available at garden shops.
Step 3: Cover with a thin layer of potting mix.
Step 4: Cover with plastic or another inverted tray until seeds sprout.
Step 5: Uncover and keep well watered.
Step 6: When ready, cut shoots and microgreens with clean scissors.


It starts with the soil. For a DIY mix, many people recommend a mix of coconut coir or peat moss (moisture holding), compost or vermicompost (organic matter), and perlite (drainage). A little bit of fertilizer can be added to the mix, but since most leafy greens grow quickly, you don’t need to add much.

Then, the container. Because you are growing in a container, plants can easily be overwatered. (Potting mix should be moist, not soaking wet.) Containers should have ample drainage. The plants can also get hot if outdoors, so for Hawai‘i, use lighter- colored containers if available.

What about growing indoors? You need either a sunny window or electric lights. LED or fluorescent lights work fine.

Additional recommended resources: University of Hawai‘i O‘ahu Urban Garden Center, local nursery and hydroponic stores, Koolau Farmers, Ohana Greenhouse & Garden Supply, and Hawaiian Hydroponics & Garden.

For more information, visit


Heartfelt Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness Kakaako

The Orangetheory Fitness team shares tips for staying healthy and sane during the holiday season.

Text by Carrie Shuler | Image by Jonas Maon

Holidays and food go together like chocolate and cake, like vegetarians and hummus, like sushi and saké. In fact, holidays are really just an excuse to talk about, dream about, and eat food with the people you love. Luckily, a fitness revolution is set to debut in Our Kaka‘ako by the end of 2015 to keep us fit during this seasonal high.

Orangetheory Fitness has an exercise approach focused on keeping participants in the “Orange Zone” (82 to 92 percent of their maximum heart rates), which spikes metabolism and increases energy for up to 36 hours after each workout. Lasting 60 minutes, sessions are divided into intervals of cardio exercise and strength- training using treadmills, rowing machines, suspension training, and free weights. Orangetheory members burn an average of 500 to 1000 calories per workout (plenty of penance to account for that extra helping of holiday pie). Plus, the focus on heart rate, measured by wearable monitors, means that achievement levels have no bounds—a 90-year-old grandma and 25-year-old professional athlete can take part in the same session and benefit equally.

The visionary bringing Orangetheory to Hawai‘i is 24-year-old entrepreneur Pavel Stuchlik, a regional manager for Orangetheory who owns franchises in Oregon and Georgia, and also founded Atmasphere Yoga (which will be opening a location alongside the Kaka‘ako Orangetheory). A Czech Republic native, Stuchlik became a professional traveling cyclist at age 17, competing against the likes of Lance Armstrong. To supplement his income, he created a company that bought, sold, and distributed wholesale bike parts, and eventually left the bicycling scene to pursue this business full-time. Stuchlik later sold the company, then delved into international real estate and franchises before embarking on his current path—to make a positive change in the world through his fitness endeavors.


We turned to Stuchlik for tips and an exercise regimen for staying healthy during the holiday season and beyond:

Tip#1: Don’teatcarbsorsugarforbreakfast. This just makes you feel sleepy.

Tip #2: Meditate first thing in the morning for at least five minutes, which creates positive energy.

Tip #3: Exercise, but don’t overdo it.

Try this DIY 30-minute workout in Orangetheory style (and remember to avoid burnout by adjusting these steps to suit your level of fitness):

Step 1: Jog or walk briskly on a slight incline to warm up. (4–6 min)

Step 2: Run in the sand or uphill at 80 to 90 percent of your maximum capacity. (4 min)

Step 3: Continue to run at 80 to 90 percent. Eliminateresistancebyrunningonaneven surface. (4 min)

Step 4: Slow to a light jog or brisk walk— the goal is to lower the heart rate. (1 min)

Step 5: Run as fast as possible on an even surface. (1 min)

Step 6: Repeat steps 4 and 5.

Step 7: Jog at a medium pace on a flat or slightly inclined surface. (4-10 min)

For more information, call 808-888-9714 or visit


Happy Holidays, Paiko Style

Paiko Kokedama

The ladies at Our Kaka‘ako’s beloved floral studio share a DIY gift perfect for plant-loving loved ones.

Text by Kelli Gratz |Images by Jonas Maon

When it comes to floral designs, this refreshing retail shop that opened in Our Kaka‘ako in 2012 is doing a lot of things right. For example, Paiko boasts a handful of fresh, locally sourced flowers and exotic plants, like twinkle orchids, Big Island protea, wave ferns, night-blooming cereus, and Waimānalo rosette succulents. It also offers hands-on workshops, a flower bar stocked with beautiful cut blooms, and a DIY bar for assembling succulent gardens and terrariums, complete with coverings such as stones, tumbled glass, and shells.

The brainchild of Tamara Rigney, a Hawai‘i native with years of experience working as a landscape designer, and business-minded Courtney Monahan, Paiko is also host to an array of plant vessels made by the Hawaii Potters’ Guild, apothecary goods by Indigo Elixirs, custom stationary, and books. Plus, Brue Bar has set up shop inside the establishment, serving perfect espresso drinks whipped up with a copper-clad Slayer machine. Basically, you can come here and decorate your home with handcrafted goods while recharging your body and mind with caffeine and plant life.

Rigney also launched a new boutique studio, ‘Okika, which creates custom floral designs featuring local, seasonal plants—so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can enlist her couture services to create living designs for you or for an upcoming event.

Paiko Kokedama


To get into the holiday spirit, the gals at Paiko put together a perfect DIY gift. Here is how to make a kokedama (Japanese moss ball):

1. In a bowl or bucket, mix two-thirds peat moss with one-third bonsai soil, then add water. This will create the soil composition needed to hold your kokedama together around the plant roots.

2. Lay out a blanket of sheet moss, then completely envelope the ball in it, gathering it at the stem. You can also use sphagnum moss: Wet the moss, and then pat it onto the soil ball until completely covered.

3. Prepare your plant of choice, preferably a shade-loving type. Remove it from its grower pot, shaking off original soil until the majority of the roots are exposed. Do this over a trashcan, or better yet, over a container, saving any leftover soil for your garden.

4. Add an inch-thick layer of the wet soil mixture around the roots, creating a ball. Next, squeeze it to release excess moisture. (Channel your musubi-making skills!)

5. Wrap twine, jute, or holiday ribbon around the moss until it feels secure. Then tie a knot. Create a loop of cord of the desired length for hanging the plant. Add a holiday ribbon at the stem.

Bonsai soil, peat, sphagnum moss, 2-inch and 4-inch shade plants, 2-inch orchids, 4-inch succulents, and natural and colored jute are all available for purchase at Paiko. Sheet moss may be found at local craft stores.

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