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Hawaiian Grown TV - Zucchini - Aloun Farms: Zucchini or courgette is a small summer squash. Along with some other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower.
Zucchini, like all summer squash, has its ancestry in the Americas. While most summer squash ― including the closely related cocozelle and marrow ― were introduced to Europe during the time of European colonization of the Americas, zucchini is European in origin. It was the result of spontaneously occurring mutations (also called "sports").
In all probability, this occurred in the very late 19th century, probably near Milan; early varieties usually included the names of nearby cities in their names. The alternate name courgette is the French word for the vegetable, with the same spelling, and is commonly used in France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. It is a diminutive of courge, French for squash. "Zucca" is the Italian word for squash; while the feminine diminutive plural "zucchine" is preferred in most regions of Italy, the masculine diminutive plural "zucchini" is used in some areas of Italy, Australia, and the United States. The first records of zucchini in the United States date to the early 1920s. It was almost certainly brought over by Italian immigrants and probably was first cultivated in the United States in California.
Aloun Sou and his family of six immigrated to Hawaii from Laos via a refugee camp on the Thailand-Laos border. The family settled in Waianae in 1977 and began to farm on 5 acres of leased land in the Lualualei Valley. For several years, farm productivity increased as the Sou family introduced and cultivated various varieties of Asian vegetables, green onion and herbs. Since Aloun and wife, Somphone, had limited English speaking skills, their four children were encouraged to learn English and apply their skills to the farms production, marketing and sales. In 1983, the family began its own distribution and started to sell directly to Hawaiis major supermarkets.
Due to the fact that 80% of the fruits and vegetables consumed in Hawaii are imported, the Sou family foresaw an increased demand in locally grown produce. In 1994, the Sou Family committed to a business plan targeting the reduction of produce imported into the State of Hawaii. The following year, Oahu Sugar Company announced their closure, making 6,000 acres of farm land available in central Oahu. Aloun Farms was incorporated by late 1995 which finalized its first land lease of 880 acres of former sugar-cane fields of Ewa and Kunia. The farm quickly grew from an 18-acre-family farm to a commercial operation consisting of 1,200 acres by summer of 1996.
Currently, Aloun Farms provides full-time employment to 180 people and has expanded production to approximately 3,000 acres.
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