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Maui County Agricultural Festival Poised to Invigorate Maui

Posted March 30, 2016, 10:34 AM HST
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Geoff Haines and staff from Waipoli Farms in Kula will be in the Farmers Market tent at Ag Fest. Courtesy photo.

Geoff Haines and staff from Waipoli Farms in Kula will be in the Farmers Market tent at Ag Fest. Courtesy photo.

The 2nd-annual Maui County Agricultural Festival, Maui’s prime event to raise awareness about ag, is set for Saturday, April 2.

The entire industry, its allies and supporters come together on the lū‘au grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapū to share what each group does for the collective good of agriculture in the County, and to showcase ag’s vital role in the economy, environment, and lifestyle of Maui.

Hosted by Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB) in partnership with the Office of Economic Development, generous sponsors and industry allies, here is the opportunity to learn about agricultural issues and their impact on our day-to-day lives.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 2.  Admission is $5 for adults; the event is free for kupuna ages 65 and older, along with keiki under 18).  There will be free parking and shuttle transfers from Maui Tropical Plantation’s Mā’alae’a-side parking lot to Ag Fest’s main entrance.

Families won’t want to miss this year’s “Maui Legacy Pancake Breakfast” from 8 to 9:30 a.m. It includes bingo, a raffle and an opportunity to honor three Maui farmers who have contributed greatly to our agricultural industry. They are Pardee Erdman, Buddy Nobriga and Hanako Hashimoto.

One of the big highlights this year is the expanded “Keiki Zone,” complete with bouncers, farm games, livestock exhibits, pony and horse rides and family-friendly food by Chef/Owner Chris Schobel of Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse BBQ.

Expanding on activities for the whole family, check out the “Keiki and Teens Cook for Heart” from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Chefs Paris Nabavi of Sangrita Grill and Cantina, Rob Mason and Riko Bartolome lead culinary classes centered around three crops: avocado, tomatoes, bananas. “Keiki & Teens Cook for Heart” is part of an American Heart Association program, and the chefs have been in the several West Maui schools this year teaching culinary classes.

More hands-on activities can be found in the flower tent. The general public is invited to make fresh flower lei and more along with Gayle and team from Na Kani O Hula.

Other festival highlights:

Yee's Orchard will be on hand at Maui County Ag Fest, in the Grown on Maui Farmers Market tent.

Yee’s Orchard will be on hand at Maui County Ag Fest, in the Grown on Maui Farmers Market tent.

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Grown on Maui Farmers Market: It’s good to know who grows our food. The market will also demonstrate agriculture’s important role in value-added products such as taro chips, pickles, and teriyaki bee, which stretch the season, absorb surplus, and provide extra farming revenue. Tents will include MauiWine, Maui Gold and Maui Coffee Association, along with Yee’s Orchard and Waipoli Farms.

Food Booths: Humble crops transform into satisfying meals when carefully prepared. Sample the best of all-natural protein – hamburgers, poke bowls and smoked meat. Enjoy food from Hāna Ranch Provisions, Poi By the Pound, Fork & Salad, Roselani Ice Cream, Shaka Pops and local favorites like chow fun, smoked meat and 100% Maui beef burgers and fries. Look for food trucks from Maui Fresh Streatery and Three’s Bar & Grill.

Barnyard Games: Kids learn about ranching and food production while at play. Join us for barnyard games favored by children around the world and learn about livestock.

Ask the Farm Doctor: Healthy soil and plants are key to successful farming. Maui residents can bring soil samples for analysis and learn about plant health, or peer through a microscope for a close-up of bugs affecting our crops. Get expert advice from University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources specialists.

Center Stage Entertainment: Taiko drummers open up at 9:30 a.m.  A live Chefs Challenge is planned from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m, sponsored by Edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine. Rounding out the day, Willie K takes to the stage at 1:45 p.m.

Grand Taste: Maui’s famed regional cuisine is based on locally-grown produce. Meet local chefs and farmers who are creating menus that matter.  This will run from 3 to 5 pm. Purchased tickets online here in advance for $30, or at the event for $40.  Learn more about this and other food-related events, including the Grown on Maui Chefs Collaboration Dinner on Thursday, in our article here.

Farm Visits: Maui Tropical Plantation offers tram rides throughout the day.

 

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