Establishing "Bush Tucker" in Hawaii

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $22,870.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2021
Host Institution Award ID: G274-20-W7900
Grant Recipient: Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Ken Love
Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Information Products

Finger Limes (Bulletin)


  • Fruits: berries (other), citrus, plums


  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, other, varieties and cultivars

    Proposal summary:

    Hawaii owes much of its agricultural sustainability and economic successes to Australia with its small fruit farms, new varieties of fruit crops and development of new production approaches.  Commodities such as Queensland nut (macadamia), Hawaii’s main export avocado (Sharwil), Blackgold Jackfruit and newer fruit crops such as finger limes are developing as an economic boon for Hawaii’s growers. The domestication of previously wild edible crops referred to as “Bush Tucker” are traditional aboriginal foods.  Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) members have expressed a desire to learn what other crops might be beneficial for farm resiliency, economic and environmental sustainability.

    Preliminary research and interactions with local chefs has shown that some of the“bush tucker” fruits have tremendous potential in Hawaii both in culinary applications and as value-added product ingredients.

    This project proposes to clone and distribute trees of Ooray (Davidsonia pruriens), Midgen berry (Austromyrtus dulcis), Finger limes (Citrus australasica), Lemon aspen (Acronychia acidula), and Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora). The project will collaborate with American Culinary chefs to evaluate the fruit already producing in Hawaii and develop special dishes and value added products. This would include finger limes, Ooray, and Midgen berries.  Additional germplasm of these species and Australian selections would be brought into Hawaii, following USDA-APHIS protocols, in seed form, then grown out at seven collaborator locations along with the already cloned trees mentioned above. This project will add to grower economic sustainability through diversification, providing options for value added products and have potential for large scale commercial commodity following the example of Macadamia.



    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Prepare trees for each of seven locations which includes cloning those already in Hawaii and obtaining additional seed or plant material from Australia.


    1. Distribute trees to each repository location. Three at each location will be planted while seeds and other material from Australia will be grown out by the PI for later distributon.


    1. Obtain and distribute fruit for testing to each chef and value added product collaborator.


    1. Monitor tree health and growth at each location. Note differences due to climactic conditions.


    1. Prepare extension publication that will be available free online with a limited print run for distrbution at the HTFG annual conference and other meeting..


    1. Discuss project at annual conference. This discussion will focus on project improvement and the sharing of production technologies, observations and marketing avenues.


    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.