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AgFest Aims to Invigorate Maui County

Posted March 14, 2017, 04:52 PM HST
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Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival.

The 10th annual Maui County Agricultural Festival, Maui’s prime event to raise awareness about our island’s ag, will take place on Saturday, April 1.

The 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 Office of Economic Development, sponsors and industry allies, here is the opportunity to learn about agricultural issues and their impact on our day-to-day lives.

Known as AgFest, the event will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; admission is $5 for adults (kupuna 65+ and keiki under 18 get in free). It offers free parking and shuttle transfers from the Mā’alae’a-side parking lot to the main entrance.

The 2017 AgFest sponsors include venue host Maui Tropical Plantation, Alexander & Baldwin Inc. (Maui Legacy Farmers Pancake Breakfast), Ulupono Initiative (Grand Taste), Grown on Maui Farmers Market (Monsanto Hawai’i), Dow Agrosciences, Kamehameha Schools Maui, Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, Matson, Maui Electric Company, Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center, Pacific Media Group, College of Tropical Ag & Human Resources.

Families won’t want to miss this year’s “Maui Legacy Pancake Breakfast” from 8 to 10:30 a.m. It’s bingo, a raffle and time to honor four Maui farmers who have contributed greatly to our agricultural industry. They are Peter Baldwin, Pi‘iholo Ranch; Richard “Dick” Cameron, HC&S; Doug MacCluer, Maui Pineapple Company and Maui Gold Pineapple Co., and the late Dr. Wilbert Yee, Yee’s Orchard, which is famous for its Goldenglow mangoes.

One of the big highlights this year is the expanded “Keiki Zone,” complete with an entertainment stage featuring music and magic show, bouncers, farm games, livestock exhibit, pony and horse rides and family-friendly food.

Expanding on activities for the whole family, check out the “Kids/Teens Cook With Heart” culinary classes from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Presented by chefs Paris Nabavi, Craig Erickson, Elizabeth (Betty) McDonald, Jojo Vasquez, Kaipo Nagata, Lyndon Honda, Riko Bartolome, Rob Mason, and Ryan Luckey, kids are encouraged to take culinary classes centered around three crops – avocado, tomatoes and bananas. The program, which is offered in Lāhainā-area elementary, middle and high schools through a grant to the AHA by the Saunders Family, is designed to teach students the basic skills required to prepare their own meals at home, as well as the information they need to make healthier choices.

More hands-on AgFest activities will be found in the flower tent. The general public is invited to make fresh flower lei, ipu, and nose flutes along with representatives from Na Kani O Hula.

Festival highlights:


Grown on Maui Farmers Market: It’s good to know who grows our food. The market also shows the importance to ag of value-added products such as taro chips, pickles, and teriyaki beef, which stretch the season, absorb surplus.  and provide extra farming revenue.  Demonstrations from MauiWine, Maui Gold and Maui Coffee Association will share the process of growing an agricultural product and making a value-added product. Grown on Maui Farmers Market tent sponsored by Monsanto Hawai’i.

Food from Maui County Agricultural Festival.

Food Booths: Humble crops transform into satisfying meals when carefully prepared. Sample the best of all-natural Maui ground beef hamburgers and fries, chow fun and smoked meat plates.  Vendors include Fork & Salad, Roselani Ice Cream, Shaka Pops and chef-prepared food by Three’s Bar & Grill and Maui Fresh Streatery food trucks.

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. Horseback and pony rides will happen throughout the day.

Education/Info:  “Ask the Farm Doctor” invites residents to bring soil samples for analysis, learn about plant health and peer through a microscope for a close-up of bugs affecting our crops with the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources specialists.  Other topics planned include:
Bugs up Close—The Good, Bad and the Ugly
Landscaping Ka‘ahumanu/Wahinepio Avenues and Landscaping Q & A
Taste test and ranking of new kalo hybrids (*)
Ag Business Succession
Water testing for FSMA and GAP
Pre- and Probiotics and poi drink sampling (*)
Soil Nutrient Management
Differences between grain-finished and grass-finished beef (*)
(*) pending Hawai‘i Department of Health permit (HDOH)

Entertainment:  Center Stage Taiko Drummers, Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus Ensemble, Honoka’a Jazz Band, Lehua Kalima and Shawn Pimentel, Napua Nakasone Greig and Halau Nalei Kaumaka O Uka, Kaina Country Band on stage from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Live Chefs Challenge: Sponsored by Edible Hawaiian Islands Magazine, the Live Chefs Challenge is planned from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Grand Taste: Sponsored by the Ulupono Initiative, Maui’s famed regional cuisine is based on locally-grown produce: Meet local chefs and farmers who are creating menus that matter. NEW time from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Purchase tickets online at Maui County Farm Bureau’s website in advance for $30, or at the event for $40. Featured chefs include: Jeff Scheer, The Mill House Restaurant
at Maui Tropical Plantation; Anton Haines, Merriman’s Kapalua; Alvin Savella, The Banyan Tree at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; David Viviano, Cane & Canoe at Montage Kapalua; Jesse Pita, Pūlehu at The Westin Kā’anapali Ocean Resort Villas; Charlie Owen, Hula Grill Kā’anapali; Chris Lederer, Black Rock Kitchen at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa; Gevin Utrillo, Japengo at the Hyatt Regency
Maui Resort & Spa; Mike Lofaro of Humuhumunukunukuapua’a at Grand Wailea; Tylun Pang, Ko at The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui; Travis Morrin of Three’s Bar & Grill; and Chris Schobel, Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse.

Farm Visits: Maui Tropical Plantation offers tram rides around the grounds.

Learn more about AgFest at Maui County Farm Bureau’s website.


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