It's that time of year again... and the Hilton Waikoloa again served as the stage for this Hawaiian foodie extravagaza.
This year marked the 19th for this much awaited annual event. It seems to grow every year and new exhibitors keep showing up to round up the diversity of the displays.
The festival is a celebration of our island's bounty and encourages and supports locally produced agricultural products... This is the premier event on our island that showcases the grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, pork (both commercial and feral) and the large diversity of vegetables and value-added food products that can be found on our island.
Photo above - Just a section of the amazing display by Squash & Awe Farm. Dozens of heirloom squash and pumpkins from around the world growing organically in the 'old-fashioned way' by Anna Peach.
The event starts in early afternoon with workshops and / or a Beef 101 cooking demonstration geared mainly to the culinary students of our local Hawai'i Community College School of Culinary Arts, with the students from both East & West Campuses who attend and participate in the evening event with their professors, but the media is also invited.
Opening the afternoon events was a presentation by Glen Fukumoto who was one of the original founders of the Taste so many years ago. He is a local livestock expert and county extension agent with the livestock program for the University of Hawai'i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
I must apologize to Glen, but the photos I took of him before the presentation did not come out at all...I am very sorry, as I was using a 'new for me' camera since mine went on the blink and I was not as familiar with this one.
The important points that Glen brought to our attention were, grazing and weather conditions; not all cuts are steaks and chefs need to learn to use the lesser cuts - from nose to tail. He showed diagrams of the breakdown of a carcass; the different regulatory agencies and certification programs. Interesting display of the labels provided by the different agencies and certification programs and what we might expect in future to see in labeling and creating value-added brand recognition.
Another concern was about the conditions under which cattle are raised on our island and the reason why ranchers send the bulk of their cattle to the mainland. Simply put, there is a higher demand for grass-fed beef on the mainland than in our islands which provides our farmers with a higher profit per pound.
The second afternoon presentation was "Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101" by Peter Abarcar, Jr Executive Chef at the Hapuna Beach Hotel in cluding the Coast Grille Restaurant.
Chef Peter also had timely advice and encouragement to give to the future chefs attending the presentation.
Photo above - HCC culinary students serving samples of Chef Peter's dishes to the atendees.
Mealani's Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership betweenCTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen's Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations.
For more information, visithttp://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.