Inaugural Lā ‘Ulu at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Aug. 26
For the first time ever, Maui will host Lā ‘Ulu: Breadfruit Day at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens on Saturday, Aug. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Previously held on Big Island and Kaua‘i, the free event will celebrate the canoe crop and feature live Hawaiian entertainment, delicious food made from ‘ulu, crafts, games and more.
‘Ulu is a culturally important staple of the Hawaiian diet that was brought to Hawai‘i by the Polynesian settlers. Almost every part of the tree can be used to make food, medicine, and crafts. ‘Ulu is gluten-free, high in protein, and a low fat starch. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, essential amino acids, vitamin A, B and C.
John Cadman of Maui Breadfruit Company, one of the sponsors of the event, said, “‘Ulu is super significant to our Hawaiian cultural and historical activities here and has been a part of Hawaiian culture and food economy since the Hawaiians first got here.”
“It has kind of fallen out of favor as we’ve adopted more a more Western approach to our food economy. I think as people start to raise awareness about how important it is for us to develop our food security and food sovereignty, we need to put more emphasis on re-establishing the canoe crops, the crops that were brought here by the voyaging canoes. I think ‘ulu is one of the most important ones,” Cadman added.
Cadman will be serving up fire pit roasted ‘ulu with coconut milk, his delicious ‘ulu hummus, and Pono Pies at the event. Other local chefs will be on hand to feature their breadfruit creations; including ‘ulu, kalo, and banana chips, kalo poi, ‘ulu poi, inamona, Palaoa ʻUlu (ʻUlu Flour), Insalata Italiana di ʻUlu (Italian ʻulu Salad), vegetarian ‘ulu curry, Hawaiian plate with lau lau, lomi salmon, rice, and ‘ulu haupia; Maui Tropsicles (locally sourced fruit popsicles, including an ‘ulu flavor), and ‘Ulu Halohalo (crushed sweetened ice, steamed cooked ‘ulu, tapioca, sweet potato, young coconut threads, and seasonal fruit).
There will also be dozens of species of native and canoe plants showcased at the event, for example: new cultivars of orange, red, and yellow ‘ōhia lehua; Hawaiian kalo varieties; and Pacific ‘ulu tree varieties.
Free cultural activities and Makahiki games on Saturday will include ‘ulu maika, ‘ulu and wauke kapa making, ku‘i kalo and ‘ulu, and lei making using ‘ulu parts and native plants.
“We want to emphasize the cultural and historical significance, so we’re going to have Hōkūao Pellegrino giving a talk on the cultural and historical significance of ‘ulu and the history of ‘ulu too,” Cadman said.
Pellegrino is a Native Hawaiian farmer and owner of Noho‘ana Farm in Waikapū, he and his family teach keiki about Hawaiian practices and perpetuating Hawaiian culture.
Several organizations that work with ‘ulu will host booths and demonstrations during the fest including: Indigenous Crops researchers from UH Mānoa, The Breadfruit Institute from Kaua‘i, Ho‘oulu ka ‘Ulu from the Big Island, Kahanu Gardens from Hāna, Noho‘ana Farms, Simpli Fresh Farms and Maui Breadfruit Company. Other non-profit organizations will be at the event as well.
Maui Nui Botanical Gardens is located at 150 Kanaloa Avenue in Kahului, across from the War Memorial Stadium.
Free parking will also be available.
This free community event is sponsored by the Ulupono Initiative and Maui Breadfruit Company. For more information and to get involved, click here.