The California Gold Rush was a boom for the agriculture of Hawaii. With the influx of so many people the West Coast needed a lot more provisions. The shipping route from Hawaii to California was a nice straight shot. Among these early exportations were Irish and sweet potatoes, onions, pumpkins, oranges, molasses, and coffee. Flour sold out quickly.
Below is an excerpt from "Natural History of Hawaii Being an Account of the Hawaiian People, the Geology and Geography
of the Islands, and the Native and Introduced Plants and Animals of the Group " by WILLIAM ALANSON BRYAN, B. Sc. ©1915
Sweet And Irish Potatoes.
Formerly potato21 growing was an important island industry. In 1849 potatoes stood at the head of the list of exports. The lands best adapted to their growth are in the Kula district of Maui, where they were introduced and planted as early as 1820. Of late years the industry has diminished, owing to unskilled methods of culture and the appearance of various enemies. There are several species and almost innumerable cultural varieties adapted to various soils and conditions that, if introduced, would doubtless extend and revive the industry.
Sweet potatoes were at one time an important field crop. Like the "Irish" potatoes, they were extensively exported during the period of the gold-rush to California. The natives recognized as many as twenty varieties of uala (sweet potato), and several important varieties have been introduced from time to time by Europeans and others. It belongs to the morning-glory family and is easily grown, thriving in loose soils where the rainfall is not too abundant. The sweet potato is usually propagated by cutting off the tops and planting them in a hill of dirt which often is only a pile of loose ash-like soil scraped together.