Students feast on watermelons from Beck’s Hybrids

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Cameras roll as Kauai Area Complex Superintendent William Arakaki joins Kapaa Middle School students, including Sarah Morioka, La‘akea Keao, Solomon Estenzo-Hepa, and Hawaii Farm Bureau president Brian Miyamoto in sampling the delivery of Kauai-grown watermelon, Monday at the school’s cafeteria.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kauai Area Complex Superintendent William Arakaki, Hawaii Farm Bureau president Brian Miyamoto, and State Senate President Ron Kouchi join Kapaa Middle School students Sarah Morioka, La‘akea Keao, Solomon Estenzo-Hepa, Addi Jensen, Wainohia Kitamura, and Kamalei Gonsalves in sampling the delivery of Kauai-grown watermelon by Beck’s Hybrids. The watermelons will be part of the lunch menu at three Kapaa schools — Kapaa Elementary School, Kapaa High School, and Kapaa Middle School.

KAPAA — Monday’s high temperature and humidity made it a good day for watermelon.

It was also a day when Kapaa Middle School student Remy Daigle called in sick.

That meant Daigle missed the opportunity to see the load of 500 pounds of Kauai-grown watermelon by Beck’s Hybrids being delivered to Kapaa Middle School, where a portion of the load was cut and sampled by school officials and some students.

“This is really good,” said Sarah Morioka, a student. “We’re having this again tomorrow?”

The delivery represents the first watermelon order for the Farm to Institution program on Kauai, and was served for lunch Tuesday at three Kapaa schools.

“My favorite fruit is watermelon,” Daigle wrote to Sen. Ron Kouchi earlier this year. “If my school meals included fresh watermelon, that would make me so happy.”

Sarah Thompson, agronomy manager for Beck’s, said the load was affectionately labeled “Welcome Back with Westside Watermelons”.

“It’s fitting that we are fulfilling Senator Kouchi’s promise to Remy Daigle of including fresh watermelon on his lunch plate,” she said. “We have been so overwhelmed with the response from the community, we decided to plant a third field that will be ready for harvest in October (weather permitting) along with our annual pumpkin crop.”

Thompson said in addition to the 500 pounds for the Kapaa schools, Beck’s also made a stop at the Kauai Community Correctional Center with 480 pounds of watermelon.

“Over the past couple of months, we have continued our deliveries of Kauai-grown vegetables and herbs to the Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital under its farm to table concept of meals,” Thompson said.

The additional deliveries include zucchini, yellow squash, hubbard squash, cucumbers and lemon balm.

“Now, we’re excited to expand our orders to Kauai’s schools as our watermelons ripen in the field,” she said.

Beck’s deliveries also included destinations beyond the hospitals and schools. It will be providing the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair with watermelons for its watermelon eating contest when the fair opens this weekend.

“This is a week of celebrating agriculture,” Thompson said.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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