8,000 Attend 10th Anniversary Maui Ag Fest
More than 8,000 Maui residents and visitors joined their neighbors on a sunny Saturday in April to celebrate the role of agriculture in our community during the 2017 Maui County Agricultural Festival.
Held on the grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation, the 10th annual event hosted by Maui County Farm Bureau in partnership with the County of Maui Office of Economic Development featured an expansive giveaway of scholarships and awards for schools and educational programs; a pancake breakfast honoring legacy farmers and their contributions; an exciting venue for chefs to vie for culinary excellence; and a bustling marketplace for farmers, ranchers and friends of ag to sell their products and share information.
Among the record number of attendants were Governor David Ige; Representatives Kyle Yamashita, Angus McKelvey and Lynn DeCoite; Senators Roz Baker, J. Kalani English, and Gil Keith-Agaran; Mayor Alan and Ann Arakawa along with Councilmembers Mike White, Stacy Crivello, Don Guzman and Yuki Lei Sugimura; Hawai’i Department of Agriculture Deputy Chairperson Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser; and Hawai‘i Farm Bureau Federation President Randy Cabral.
MCFB handed out numerous monetary grants to support local schools, including STEM Robotics Awards to: Pukalani Elementary School STEM Imagineers, Moloka‘i Middle School VEX IQ Team 434, Kualapu‘u Elementary School STEM Robotics Team, and Moloka‘i High School STEM Robotics, to help support the teams’ traveling expenses to the robotics championship. MCFB also gave Mentorship Awards to: Lana‘i 4-H Live Stock Club, Maui 4-H Live Stock Club, Moloka‘i 4-H Live Stock Club, and Lahainaluna Future Farmers of America Club, to help further their goals of developing agriculture for future generations. Kula Elementary School received a grant to purchase fencing material for the school’s Agriculture Project, and Maui High School Band received a generous donation to help support their traveling expenses to the Grand National Championships in Indianapolis.
In addition to the above grants, MCFB partnered with the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association to present HLTA’s first scholarship specifically designated for a Maui student. This year’s recipient is Sharmaine Domingo, who will be studying Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. A student at Maui High School, Domingo was selected on the basis of her outstanding performance and contributions to her school and community.
Helping to present the various grants and scholarship awards were Mayor Arakawa; Councilmembers White, Crivello and Sugimura; Senators Baker, English and Keith-Agaran; Representative DeCoite; Gregg Nelson of the Napili Kai Beach Resort; and Angela Nolan of Hawai‘i Villas at Starwood Vacation Ownership.
Thirteen locavore chefs wowed attendees’ tastebuds in the Grand Taste and Live Chefs Challenge. Alvin Savella of The Banyan Tree, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, captured Judge’s Choice (protein dish) as well as Fan Favorite for his Katsu Braised Beef Cheeks with sous vide farm egg and kalamungay chimichurri. Savella was also part of the winning team in the Live Chefs Challenge: “Team No Apron” chefs were Savella, Zach Sato of Hotel Wailea, and Noel Moose of University of Hawai‘i Maui Campus Culinary Arts Program. David Diviano of Cane & Canoe, Montage Kapalua, won Judge’s Choice (vegetarian dish) for his Tempura Surfing Goat Cheese with heirloom beets, citrus, arugula, fresh herbs, local honey, and liliko‘i vinaigrette. Mike Lofaro of Humu, Grand Wailea, garnered second place (vegetarian) for his Salad of Roasted Carrots; and Isaac Bancaco and Robert Andrade of Andaz Maui at Wailea won second (protein) for their Bincho Grilled Ni‘ihau Lamb Kabob.
With hot coffee and accolades, MCFB toasted four legacy farmers at a festive Pancake Breakfast that kicked off the event on Saturday morning. The honorees were: 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 Orchards.
“A big mahalo to the entire community for coming out to support AgFest and our Maui farmers,” says Warren Watanabe, Executive Director of Maui County Farm Bureau. “Supporting valuable agricultural programs is at the core of what we do, and we’re always proud to share that with the public. It’s gratifying that the event was such a success, and we really hope it has brought increased awareness of the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy, environment and lifestyle.”
Be sure to “Save the Date” for next year’s AgFest: always the first Saturday in April. The 11th Annual Maui County Agricultural Festival will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018.
Event organizers say this year’s AgFest would not have been possible without the generous donations of sponsors including Gold Level Sponsors – A&B, Inc., Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto Hawai’i, and Ulupono Initiative; Silver Level Sponsors – Kamehameha Schools and Young Brothers, Limited; Bronze Level Sponsors – Matson, Maui Hotel & Lodging Associations, Maui Electric Company, and Pacific Media Group and Friend of Agriculture Sponsor – Queen Ka’ahumanu Shopping Center.