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Festival highlights ag’s vital role in the economy, environment and lifestyle of Maui

By Staff | Apr 5, 2018

Fourteen of Maui’s top locavore chefs will participate in The Grand Taste 2018 at the 11th annual Maui County Agricultural Festival on Saturday at Maui Tropical Plantation.

WAILUKU – The 11th annual Maui County Agricultural Festival, Maui’s signature event to raise awareness while invigorating Maui agriculture, will take place on Saturday, April 7.

The entire industry, its allies and supporters will come together on the luau grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu to share what each group does for the collective good of agriculture in the county and to showcase ag’s vital role in the economy, environment and lifestyle of Maui.

Hosted by the Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB) in partnership with the county Office of Economic Development, generous sponsors and industry allies, the event is an opportunity to learn about agricultural issues and their impact on our day-to-day lives.

Event hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Parking is free. Admission is $5 for adults; kupuna 65 and over and keiki under 18 are free.

The Grown on Maui Chefs Collaboration Dinner at Maui Tropical Plantation is the first event leading into the Ag Fest. The dinner will be held on Thursday, April 5, from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is $75 for adults.

This year’s chefs include Alvin Savella of The Banyan Tree at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua; Charlie Owen of Hula Grill Kaanapali; Kyle Kawakami, Maui Fresh Streatery; Adam Rzeczkowski, Bistro Molokini at Grand Wailea; Chris Damskey, Cane & Canoe, Montage Kapalua Bay; Pastry Chef Ricky De Boer, The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; and Jeff Scheer, The Mill House.

Families won’t want to miss this year’s Maui Legacy Pancake Breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. It’s bingo, a raffle and time to honor three who have contributed greatly to Maui’s agricultural industry. Sponsored by Alexander & Baldwin, this year’s recipients are Lindy Sutherland, Kaupo Ranch and HC&S; Chuck Boerner, ONO Organic Farm; and the late Dr. Phil Parvin of the College of Tropical Ag and Human Resources, who is known internationally for his work with protea.

Sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, one of the big highlights this year is the expanded “Keiki Zone” complete with bouncers, farm games, trampolines, pony and horse rides, magic shows, face painters and family-friendly food.

Expanding on activities for the whole family, check out the hands-on activity station by Haleakala Ranch’s Conservation Division and the livestock exhibit by Makani Olu Ranch and 4-H Maui. Plan to join members of 4-H Maui for two live shows featuring Maui born and raised livestock.

More hands-on activities can be found in the flower tent. The general public is invited to make fresh flower lei with Jeanna Teixeira of J. Tex Farms.

Led by emcee Alaka’i Paleka, festival entertainment will include Halau Keala Kahinano O Puna under the direction of Kumu Hula Joy Salvador; Maui Taiko (noon); Kalalea and Easy Skankin (12:30 p.m.); Amy Hanaiali’i (1:30 p.m.); and Sheron and the Silver Spur Band (3 p.m.).

Sponsored by the Ulupono Initiative, the 2018 Grand Taste will shine the spotlight on Maui’s famed regional cuisine based on locally grown produce.

This year, meet 14 of Maui’s top locavore chefs who are creating menus that matter. The Grand Taste 2018 participants are Alvin Savella of The Banyan Tree at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua (Maui Monte Cristo); Charles Andres of Humble Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi (Kiawe Smoked Aku and ‘Ulu Brandade); Charlie Owen of Hula Grill Kaanapali (Malama Farm Pork Pot Stickers); Geno Sarmiento of Nick’s Fishmarket Maui (Hamachi Crudo); Gevin Utrillo of Japengo at The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa (Singapore Style Shrimp); Jacob Arakawa of Pailolo at The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas (‘Ulu Arepas De Pastor); Jayse Sato of Umi Maui (Local Big Eye Tuna Nachos); Jeff Scheer of The Mill House Restaurant (Grilled Beef Salad); Justin Pardo of Merriman’s Kapalua (Chilled Corn Vichyssoise); Lyndon Honda of The Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa (Kalo Fried Rice and Kalo Pork Hash Pastele); Marc McDowell of Haliimaile General Store (Haliimaile Ahi Cake Komoda Slider); Robert Barrera of Cane & Canoe at Montage Kapalua Bay (Maui Nui Venison Loin); Ryan Luckey of Leilani’s on the Beach (Springtime Panzanella with Maui’s Bounty); and Travis Morrin of Three’s Bar & Grill (Maui Cattle Beef Tartare).

Set for 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., tickets are available at www.MauiAgFest.org for $30 in advance; the price is $40 at the event.