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Canoe Plant Festival Celebrates National Farm-to-School Month

Breadfruit crudités with chive blossoms. Daniel Lane photo.
Harvesting kalo on the north shore of Kauai. Daniel Lane photo

Harvesting kalo on the north shore of Kauai. Daniel Lane photo

Malama Kauai will host a Canoe Plant Festival on Sunday, October 16, to celebrate National Farm-to-School Month. The event, which is from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., will take place at their farm on Kalihiwai Ridge and showcase traditional food harvests. Polynesians brought nearly 30 plants when they made the pilgrimage to Hawaii and some of those canoe crops will be highlighted at the event. Learn how to prepare them and what they taste like during chef demonstrations, or how to grow them during specialized workshops.

Naoshi Grady, owner of Waialeale Kava Source, with freshly made kava. Daniel Lane photo

Naoshi Grady, owner of Waialeale Kava Source, with freshly made kava. Daniel Lane photo

I’m pleased to be a part of this deserving fundraiser as I believe change begins with our keiki (children). Michelle Lemay, our culinary guide, will be at the Tasting Kauai table in the Hanai Local Chef Tent, while I emcee cooking demonstrations and help pass out tastings. I know all the presenters well and will talk to them about the canoe crop they’re preparing. They are all passionate people who love sharing their knowledge so this is an excellent opportunity to learn and ask questions about authentic Hawaiian ingredients you may be unfamiliar with. Doesn’t making homemade bamboo shoots sound fun? I think so. Here’s a list of presenters and what canoe crop they’ll be using.

  • 10 to 11:30 a.m. Ron Miller, owner and executive chef at Hukilau Lanai, kalo (taro) and uala (sweet potato)
  • 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Guy Higa, executive chef of Kauai Marriott Resort, ohe (bamboo)
  • 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Naoshi Grady, owner of Waialeale Kava Source, awa (kava)
  • 4 to 5:30 p.m. Thomas Pickett, owner and baker of Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza, ulu (breadfruit)
Freshly made bamboo shoots. Daniel Lane photo.

Freshly made bamboo shoots. Daniel Lane photo.

Robyn Pfahl, farm-to-school coordinator for the Department of Agriculture, is the keynote speaker. She will share information on statewide efforts and how producers can get local food into school cafeterias. Workshops include Eugene “Onio” Punzal’s “Eat, Drink & Weave Coconut.” Erik “The Banana Guy” Burton talks story about banana (maia) varieties while Keone Kealoha, founder of Malama Kauai, gives a tour of the banana collection in the Kilauea Food Forest. Josh Fukino explains the agricultural side of awa, and Tuu Goo teaches ti leaf lei making.

Keiki admission is free and children’s activities include Canoe Plant Bingo hosted by Malia Chun of Na Pua Noeau. Chelsey Contrades, of Kukulu Kumuhana O Anahola, will demonstrate how to plant uala. Learn to make canoe plant crafts with Alakai O Kauai Public Charter School, and lei made with ti leaves from Tuu Goo of Kawaikini New Century Public Charter School.

Pancho Graham will entertain at lunchtime. While living on the North Shore of Kauai, he developed a slack-key guitar style that reflects rich musical themes of island life. The singer/songwriter is also the bass player for Na Pali as well as Taj Mahal and the Hula Blues.

Breadfruit crudités with chive blossoms. Daniel Lane photo.

Breadfruit crudités with chive blossoms. Daniel Lane photo.

A variety of nonprofit vendors will sell tasty offerings, such as Kawaikini’s Farm-to-School Program’s Canoe Plant Salad Samplers, Girl Scout Troop 775’s Ginger Lemonade, and more.

Adult tickets are $15 and those who purchase advanced tickets online will receive a special gift upon check-in. Children 18 and under are free.

For 10 years, Malama Kauai has cultivated sustainability and food self-reliance on Kauai. Programs include the 8-acre Community Farm that this event will be held at, as well as the Kauai School Garden Network, Hawaiian Charter School Food Program, Village Harvest Gleaning Project with Kauai Master Gardeners, Kauai Ag Internship Program, and more. For additional information, or to buy tickets, visit http://www.malamakauai.org/mk/

No one pays us to be featured on our blog, book, app or tours. It’s just our professional opinion! All images copyright 2016 Daniel Lane/Pono Photo. For more information, or to purchase prints, visit www.PonoPhoto.com.