Su’a continues to promote ulu products produced in the territory

It’s healthy, tastier, local — and cheaper than imports of like products
fili@samoanews.com

Gluten free flour breadfruit products including pancake premix, produced locally by Rep. Su’a Alexander Eli Jennings, were on display last Friday morning at the Fagatogo Market Place, where Su’a also held a pancake demonstration for the local farmers.

“I’m here for the farmers. I wanted to share with them what we’re doing with the breadfruit,” Su’a said during a Samoa News interview at the market place, where he set up a table with dried breadfruit, which “we found out that you can easily rehydrate this and make hash browns.”

“You could probably do other applications with dried breadfruit but I haven’t done a lot with it. But I know it could be done. And I’ve done hash browns with it,” said Su’a, who shared the same information when talking to several local residents who visited his table to check out the gluten free breadfruit flour, dried breadfruit and pre-mix pancake mix,  which were also bought by several people.

Su’a has his own small mill operation in Pavaiai where his products are made. And at the market place table, Su’a shared with residents that the gluten free flour, can among other things, make gravy and other products.

For the pre-mix pancake mix, Su’a also made pancakes right on the spot and distributed to those who showed up to taste. “We were able to formulate, a pre mix pancake mix from gluten free flour,” Su’a said. “All you have to do is add two or three eggs, three cups of water, some bananas — if you like — but bananas are really good, they compliment the breadfruit [flour].”

“And then cook it just like regular pancakes,” he said, during the pancake cooking demonstration while residents looked on. “I’m not a cook but I wanted to made this product gluten free and healthy. And that’s ulu pancakes.”

Those who had the chance to taste the ulu pancakes, reacted with comments such as “delicious”, “nice”, and “outstanding.” One mother said, “This is good for the kids.”

Su’a also displayed on the table three other gluten free flour products from Samoa, China and a pancake mix made in the US from potato flour.

“What you’ll find is that all three products are very expensive — anywhere from $5.50 up to $8 a pound,” he said, adding that his pancake pre mix product is only $3.25 for one pound.

He says the low cost of his pancake mix is due to the fact “we do it here locally and also by the design of the technology, we’re using a lot of solar energy for the mill operation. So, we’re in a position to provide very healthy gluten free products here in American Samoa.”

For the farmers, Su’a asked for their support in providing breadfruit. “We can be in a position were we can never waste any more breadfruit, because you always see a lot of breadfruit wasted,” he said. “Call me up and I’ll come take away the breadfruit as well as clean your yard while I’m there.”

And if farmers can’t sell all of their breadfruit at the market place or other locations, Su’a said he could take it, because “I can dry a lot of breadfruit. I’m very supportive of our farmers and I’ll work with them when it comes to breadfruit.”

“Also important to me is the consumer, our community. If you want to look at healthy food, look more at this ulu product, this is just the beginning,” said Su’a, who is also chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

“So we want to encourage especially areas like the hospital, school lunch program, senior citizens program, the WIC program — start looking at our natural product here to start developing it,” he said.

Last week Thursday, Su’a did a demonstration of his product including the pancake mix, for the Education Department’s school lunch program for the nutrition division. “They were very interested in it. So I brought some pancake mix and made it for them and they really liked it, they really enjoyed it,” he said.

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