February is all about the freshly baked papaya bread


This month, locally grown papayas will be incorporated into student meals across the state as part of the Hawaii State Department of Education's (HIDOE) 'Aina Pono Harvest of the Month program. Check out "Uncle Jeff's Papaya Bread" recipe.

This February, locally grown papayas will be incorporated into student meals across the state as part of the Hawaii State Department of Education's (HIDOE) 'Aina Pono Harvest of the Month program.

"We'll be using fresh papayas from our farmers to make papaya bread from scratch in our school cafeterias," said Albert Scales, program administrator, School Food Services Branch. "Imagine your grandma's homemade banana bread, but with a twist. This time, it's papaya."

The effort to include more local ingredients in student meals is made possible through various community partnerships and continued support from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) and various local farms across the state.

"Encouraging students to eat more fruits and vegetables is beneficial to their overall development and growth," said DOH's School Health Coordinator Jennifer Ryan. "It provides them with the essential nutrients and vitamins that they need, strengthens the immune system, and increases their energy and concentration levels."

Since eating habits and food preferences start at an early age, Ryan says it's important to introduce children to new local foods and teach them how to make healthier decisions about food.  

"If we teach them how to make healthier food choices now, it can potentially lessen their chances of developing diabetes, being at risk for childhood obesity and having nutritional deficiencies in the long term," she said.

Spearheaded by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, the Farm to School Initiative was created in 2015 to increase locally grown food in student meals. Today, the Farm to School Initiative is included under 'Aina Pono, which also incorporates school gardens, nutrition, health and food education, test kitchens, meal programs and menu planning at Hawaii's public schools.

'Aina Pono Farm to School Recipe: Uncle Jeff's Papaya Bread

Want to recreate the delicious papaya bread at home? Here's the recipe:

Servings: 12


  • 7 ⅛ ounces all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ ounce baking soda
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ ounce cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 ⅞ ounces vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 medium-sized fresh papaya
  • 9 ⅝ ounces sugar


  1. Measure and weigh out ingredients. Sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Combine sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in mixing bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed for seven minutes. Reduce speed to low and add papaya.
  3. Once well mixed, add dry ingredients and mix for one minute on low speed.
  4. Pour batter into bread pan.
  5. Bake at 350° F for 30 to 45 minutes.

Nutrition information for "Uncle Jeff's Papaya Bread," per serving (1 piece): 254 calories; 12 g fat (2 g saturated); 39 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g protein; 92 mg sodium. 

(Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrient levels may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients, etc. Value of the menu item is listed in grams (g) of carbohydrates rounded to the nearest whole number. While we do our best to ensure accuracy, we make no representation or warranty regarding the information contained in this document. Although we are providing nutritional information for our menus, the information in this document is for informational purposes only. No information, services or materials offered shall be construed as or understood to be medical advice or care.)

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: donalyn_dela_cruz@hawaiidoe.org


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