"Reuben Remedios' day starts before the crack of dawn. He commutes from his home in Honolulu to the base of the Ko'olau Mountains in Waimanalo, where he works as one member of a small team of planters and harvesters for Nalo Farms.
The workday begins at 7 a.m. On this morning, Remedios harvests lettuce — some 16 different varieties line the farm’s meticulous, multicolored rows. From this array come the “Nalo greens” used by noted Island chefs such as Alan Wong, Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman.
Remedios, a quiet, gentle man of 50, came to Hawai'i from the Philippines seven years ago. He’s on the job six or seven days a week, rain or shine, always happy-go-lucky. Sometimes he’s called on to harvest parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme or any of the numerous herbs grown at the farm. Although harvesting lettuce is what interests him most, he doesn't complain, whatever task he's assigned.
"Les, how much green lettuce to cut?" he asks crew boss Leslie Hanawahine. "I cut 20 pounds green lettuce?"
Delicately but swiftly, Remedios reaches down and cuts the base of each lettuce head with a knife to remove it from the soil.
"He's our best and quickest harvester," says Hanawahine.
After the morning harvest, Remedios moves to the farm's small dining room where he joins his co-workers and eats the lunch he brought from home. This time his meal is rice, fish and vegetables. But sometimes he purchases saimin for a dollar from Mr. Loo, the manapua salesman who drops by each day.
The lunch room is a 30-by-20-foot fiberglass hut with a picnic table, microwave oven and coffee maker. After he has finished eating, Remedios pulls a pair of white work gloves over his weathered hands and dons his straw hat.
Soon, he’s lost again in his duties in the fields. For the next few hours he uses the edge of his rake to smooth soil into long furrows that will be used for planting.
At 3 p.m. his work is done. Time to head home and tend to his chickens. Time to relax for the evening with his wife of 23 years. Time to catch up on his sleep.
Bright and early the next day, it all begins again."
But now... no more limu at 'Ewa Beach.
I remember picking limu 'ele'ele and other types of limu there. I cant even remember the names cuz no more. They kept taking taking taking... and the limu never grew back... cuz they never let 'em grow back.