On April 2, 2011, the annual Maui County Agricultural Festival celebrates once again agriculture’s vital role in the economy, environment, and lifestyle of Maui. Held on the lū‘au grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapū and in its fourth year, Maui’s prime event to raise awareness about local agriculture on Maui invites Maui to talk story with the people who grow our food and their industry allies, to discover what agriculture means to our communities and ‘äina, to taste fresh flavors, and have fun.
Hosted by Maui County Farm Bureau in partnership with Office of Economic Development, supported by generous sponsors, the festival provides the one-stop experience of the wondrous impact of agriculture in day-to-day life. This year, day-to day Maui vegetables will be the focus of the festival.
Our farmers grow a gorgeous spectrum of colorful produce, special occasion vegetables such as asparagus and fennel, and also crops such as coles that are the bread and butter of diversified commercial agriculture on Maui today. “These veggies are often overlooked yet keep numerous farmers and farm lands productive, providing plentiful food,” says MCFB Executive Director Warren Watanabe. “The best way to support local agriculture is to buy and eat what Maui grows, which means to be familiar with all crops.”
Festival event hours are 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
Grand Taste Education: Humble, honorable, sensible, sensuous cole crops:
Coles belong to Maui’s top volume crops. In 2008, 19 selected top-producing vegetables and melons accounted for 41.5 million pounds statewide, with head cabbage coming in first at 23 percent of this on 410 acres, and broccoli delivering a respectable 360,000 pounds. “When we buy coles, we support a vital core of Maui ag,” says Chef Ryan Luckey, who oversees the kitchen at Pineapple Grill in Kapalua. “And, equally important, coles are undisputedly healthful and shockingly delicious!”
At this year’s Grand Taste Education, Maui coles and other value-added crops are the stars, with farmers and chefs teaming up to prepare any one variety in several ways. “Caramelized, simmered or in salads, bought from a farm nearby, coles may change the way Maui thinks about daily food and local ag,” says Susan Campbell, Chair of Slow Food Maui, which supports locally grown food and cultural diversity, culinary practices for health, island food security and pleasure.
Other Festival highlights:
Victory Farm: A live farm to learn about Maui’s crops.
Livestock: Maui Cattle Co. presents an exhibit of farm animals that aid in farm management and provide food are on site.
Grown on Maui: A&B Foundation sponsors Maui ʻs largest farmers market with more than 50 farm vendors showcasing the bounty. Maui grows from coffee to flowers to vegetables and landscape designs. Hereʻs the best place to meet the farmers who grow your food.
Food Booths: From farm to table, sample hot dishes, cold ice cream, have lunch.
Keiki Activities: Maui Thing presents barnyard games and hands-on art activities.
Wellness/Health: Demonstrations and information on fixing nutritious meals with fresh foods.
Ask the Farm Doctor: Agricultural experts provide hands-on answers.
Contests: Share your Grown-on-Maui recipes and find out how they compare.
Composting: Learn how to make compost with kitchen scraps and garden waste.
Literary Resources: An on-site book store courtesy of Barnes & Nobles.