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AgFest to Host Legacy Farmers Pancake Breakfast

Posted March 28, 2017, 01:05 PM HST Updated March 29, 2017, 08:42 AM HST
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Four Maui farmers will be recognized for their contributions to the community at an island-style pancake breakfast on Saturday, April 1, that will help kick off the 10th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival.

The Maui Legacy Farmers Pancake Breakfast will pay tribute to: Richard “Dick” Cameron of HC&S; Doug MacCluer of Maui Pineapple Company and Maui Gold Pineapple Company; Peter Baldwin of Pi‘iholo Ranch; and the late Dr. Wilbert Yee of Yee’s Orchard.

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Doug MacCluer. Photo Courtesy

Richard “Dick” Cameron. Photo Courtesy

Dr. Wilbert Yee. Photo Courtesy

Peter Baldwin. Photo Courtesy

The breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. in an open-air tent on the lū‘au grounds. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for keiki 12 and under and admission to the festival will be free with a breakfast ticket purchase.

The buffet will feature pancakes, scrambled eggs, Portuguese and Link sausages, Maui Gold Pineapple, juice and hot coffee provided by Mill House Roasting Company. Breakfast entertainment will include bingo and a unique AgFest raffle with items such as tropical plants, Grown on Maui produce boxes, restaurant gift certificates, farmers market gift certificates and a hotel stay at Kā‘anapali Beach Hotel.

“Last year was the first year we named Legacy Farmers as part of AgFestival, and it was a big hit,” says Warren Watanabe, Executive Director of Maui County Farm Bureau. “So we’re really pleased to make it a tradition to honor these individuals and their families for the major agricultural contributions they’ve made to Maui Nui over the years.”

Richard “Dick” Cameron – Dick Cameron grew up on the sugar cane plantation in Papa‘aloa on Hawai‘i Island. He attended Punahou and eventually ended up in Kansas where he graduated with a degree in architecture and joined the Air Force. Memories of plantation life were strong, and he returned to the islands and entered the Hawai‘i Sugar Planters’ trainee program. Upon graduating, he worked as an agriculturist at Hilo Sugar Company.

He moved to Kaumakani, Kaua‘i, as an irrigation superintendent and was later promoted to field superintendent and eventually manager of Olokele Sugar Company. He later served as manager of Kau, McBryde and finally HC&S from 1982 to 1997.

During his tenure at Olokele, Dick was involved in the development of drip irrigation technology in the islands, and over the years saw its expansion across the state. He also worked to help independent cane growers, and their success helped the success of Hilo Sugar. Over the years on Maui, he was always there when Farm Bureau needed help, whether to repair the old office building or to testify at a hearing.

Last year, even after partially losing his eyesight, he got a ride to the PUC hearings so he could testify for farmers and ranchers who depend on inter-island transportation.

Douglas MacCluer – Doug MacCluer is known as one of the folks who “saved pineapple on Maui.” When Maui Pineapple Company closed its operations in 2009, a group of former MPC executives and local investors banded together to create a new company, Hali‘imaile Pineapple Company, Ltd.

MacCluer, a former MPC vice president and part of the Pineapple Growers Association of Hawai‘i, was one of those who stepped up. HPC purchased and licensed key assets and leased farm land, equipment and buildings from Maui Land & Pine.

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Today, HPC continues to grow and market fresh pineapple under the Maui Gold Brand to the Hawai‘i and West Coast markets. MacCluer has long been an advocate for investment in agriculture, including marketing and ag research, in order to remain competitive on the world stage. He was a board director for the Maui County Farm Bureau for more than a decade.

Peter Baldwin – Pete Baldwin is from one of Maui’s great missionary families, known around the island as a true paniolo. He’s a member of the Paniolo Hall of Fame, longtime competitor on the roping circuit, and an accomplished polo player.

He’s also founder and president of Pi‘iholo Ranch in Upcountry Maui, offering team roping along with trail rides. In 2008, he added ziplining to the mix of activities offered as a way to enhance eco-tourism without sacrificing open space. He has also created a habitat for endangered nēnē.

Peter’s great grandfather, Henry P. Baldwin, was one of the founders of Haleakalā Ranch, and his father, Richard “Manduke” Baldwin, had a 50-year career at the ranch. After graduating from Cornell University like his father before him, Peter returned to Maui and worked in the Haleakalā Dairy divison, which he acquired in the early 80s and became president of in 1979. After retiring from Haleakalā Ranch in 2000, Peter acquired some of the land and founded Pi‘iholo Ranch as a family operation together with his three sons, Jeff, Duke & Chris; wife Kathy, and daughters in law, Tamalyn and Janet.

Dr. Wilbert Yee (deceased 2010) – The late Dr. Wilbert Y. K. Yee was a Maui optometrist who may have been best known for his Goldenglow sweet mangoes. Yee was born in Honolulu on July 25, 1918, and passed away on Sept. 13, 2010, at the age of 92. Yee served as Captain in the United States Army Air Corps.

He was a farmer, travel agent and president of the Kaupo Wildlife Club. Soon after World War II, Yee’s Orchard began raising cultivars that would help elevate mango as a viable crop. Yee’s love of farming was evident, as he still worked at the farm well into his 90s. Today Yee’s simple mango stand in Kīhei continues to receive rave reviews for its delicious fruit. His family—daughter Patricia, son Steven, son in law Harold, grandchildren and great-grandchildren—now care for the farm.

“We hope the entire Maui community will come out to AgFest and enjoy the Pancake Breakfast and this chance to honor our Maui Legacy Farmers and their families,” Watanabe says. “Now more than ever, it’s important that we recognize and promote the vital role that agriculture plays in our Maui economy, environment and lifestyle.”

The AgFestival will provide a full day of activities, education, crops, animals, games and talk story sessions to help raise awareness of agriculture’s important role in the community.

The AgFestival will run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapū.

For a schedule of events and more information about AgFestival, please visit here.

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