Maui Citrus Grower Honored by Hawaiʻi Tropical Fruit Growers

September 12, 2014, 3:04 PM HST · Updated September 16, 10:21 AM
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James Simpliciano. Courtesy photo.

James Simpliciano. Courtesy photo.

By Wendy Osher

A former chef and Lahaina citrus grower is being honored this weekend with an award from the Hawaiʻi Tropical Fruit Growers organization.

The appreciation award is issued annually to supporters of the state’s local fruit industry, and is being presented to James “Kimo” Simpliciano at the organization’s annual conference taking place today through Sunday at the Kahili Golf Course in Waikapū.

Organization representatives say Simpliciano is being lauded for his dedication to locally grown products as both a farmer and culinarian.

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According to his website, Simpliciano is the owner and operator of Simpli-fresh Produce, LLC – West Maui Cooperative venture, and studied culinary arts at Kapiʻolani Community College.

James Simpliciano. Courtesy photo.

James Simpliciano. Courtesy photo.

He was among the list of elite chefs featured recently in the Sept. 7 Project Kōkua fundraiser organized in support of communities on Hawaiʻi Island that were affected by Hurricane Iselle.  He was also a featured chef in the 2013 Master P-Noy Chef Cook Off at the Maui Fil-Am Heritage Festival in Kahului.

According to his website, Simpliciano cultivates naturally grown citrus fruits, nuts, root vegetables, and seasonal exotic edibles.

Simpliciano is among a list of five award recipients being honored this year by the Hawaiʻi Tropical Fruit Growers organization, the list of which also includes: Dr. Scot Nelson and Sharon Hurd of Honolulu, Reggie Hasegawa of Hilo and Emmerich Grosch of Kona.

“Each of our award recipients have gone out of their way to support Hawaiʻi’s fruit industry,” said Ken Love, organization executive director in a press release announcement.

The Hawaiʻi Tropical Fruit Growers conference is open to the public and is geared toward farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture.

After the Maui conference concludes, the organization will travel to outer islands to conduct day-long mini sessions from Sept. 15 to 19, on Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Hilo and Kona.

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