The 6th Maui Agriculture Festival returns to the Maui Tropical Plantation (MTP) in Waikapu on Saturday, April 6, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The many tents at the ever-popular event feature tastings, contests, demonstrations and exhibits. It's a daylong showcase for local produce, products and creative ways to use them.
Admission is free and open to the public; parking at the MTP is also free but limited.
Notable new additions this year include:
A wide range of Maui produce and products made from locally grown crops are featured at the Maui Agriculture Festival.
Photo: Susan Halas
Free, continuous shuttle service between Wailuku and Maui Tropical Plantation. Full details are available at www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org.
Two panels on value-added products featuring guest experts from the world of Maui food and spirits. Also on hand will be Lou Cooperhouse, a consultant to the new Food Innovation Center set to open next year at the University of Hawai'i Maui College (UHMC), joined by other notable guests.
A celebration of the 200th anniversary of coffee in Hawai'i.
"Fertile Ground," a juried exhibit of work by Maui artists, sponsored by Gallerie Spontaneous.
A live Chefs' Challenge led by Chef Sheldon Simeon of Star Noodle and Chef Perry Bateman of Mama's Fish House. In this contest, seven chefs from the Grand Taste Education event compete for "Top Ag Chef." Judges are Peter Merriman, Mark Ellman, John Cadman, Caroyln Jung and Cinda Chiva.
Grand Taste Education is a tasting event that teams 12 of Maui's best farmers and their select produce with 12 of Maui's hottest chefs. This year, the assignment is to take an item that might usually be served as a side dish and reinvent it as an entre. Some of the featured products include escargot, carrots, breadfruit (ulu), peas, beets, papayas, cauliflower and taro, to name a few.
A Grand Taste card--good for samples of all 12 dishes, costs $25 until Sunday, March 31, and $30 after that date. Cards are available online at agfest2013.eventbrite.com or at the Grand Taste Tent on the day of the event.
Back again are all the traditional favorites like the huge Farmers' Market, Keiki Zone, Ag in the Classroom and live entertainment. Put it all together and there's plenty to do see, eat and enjoy.
Or, as Warren Watanabe, executive director of the Maui County Farm Bureau put it: "At this year's ag festival, you'll soon realize agriculture is more than just food crops. It's landscaping, flowers, and livestock; it's growers, consumers and chefs. Ours is a multifaceted industry and no one sector can carry it all alone."
The festival is an annual event presented by the Maui County Farm Bureau in partnership with the County of Maui Office of Economic Development. Sponsors include Maui Tropical Plantation, Alexander and Baldwin Inc., Roberts Hawai'i, Young Brothers Ltd. and Kaiser Permanente. Partners include Maui Cattle Company, Whole Foods Market Kahului, Maui Thing and UHMC.
For a full schedule of times and participants, visit www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org.