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Hawaii Food & Wine Festival Showcases the Work of Local Farmers Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Tuesday, 10 September 2013 09:57

Hawaii Food & Wine FestivalThe recently completed Hawaii Food & Wine Festival attracted a stellar array of chefs (75 in all, from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Philippines and Australia) but, in a way, the real stars were the local providers of the produce, seafood, beef and poultry used in their dishes. At the two events I attended -- "Taste Our Love for the Land," held at the Hawaii Convention Center on September 7, and "Girls Got Game +1," held at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa on September 8 -- the work of local farmers was prominently displayed.

At Taste Our Love for the Land (above), each chef listed the local producers who contributed to their dishes. For instance, Taste's Mark "Gooch" Noguchi highlighted Ho Farms and Paepae o He'ela; Foodland's Keoni Chang showcased Hawaii Island Ranchers, Ka Lei Eggs and 'Nalo Farms; and Halekulani's Mark Freischmidt celebrated the work of Big Island Bees (good work, bees!).

Hawaii Food * Wine FestivalAt the Girls Got Game +1 event, which featured women chefs and farmers, the farmers were there in person to show off their wares. They included Kahuku Farms' Kylie Matsuda-Lum, a 4th generation farmer who has helped open the family farm up for tours and added a cafe; Wailea Agricultural Group's Lesley Hill who, with Michael Crowell, has restored former sugar cane lands on the Big Island to produce Hawaiian heart of palm, tropical fruits and spices (left); and Naked Cow Dairy Farm & Creamery, started by sisters Monique Van der Stroom and Sabrina St. Martin four years ago and the only Hawaii producers of butter and cows-milk cheese.

 
A New Farm Grows at Travaasa Austin Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Tuesday, 16 April 2013 13:47

Travaasa Austin farmLast summer, Linda Hayes visited Travaasa Austin and wrote a piece for GardenstoTables on "Farm to Table at Travaasa Austin" that highlighted the farm-to-table offerings Chef Benjamin Baker was creating with produce from local Austin farms. I recently had the good fortune to visit Travaasa Austin myself and am happy to report that, while they are still sourcing from local Austin farms, the resort has also added its own 3.25-acre farm (left) to its offerings. Run by Farm Manager Kim Grabosky, the farm is incorporating both organic and permaculture practices into growing the vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers that will be used in the kitchen, in signature cocktails and in treatments at its Spa Travaasa.

Travaasa Austin eggsBecause Travaasa Austin wants to continue to support the local organic farm community, Kim said she is going to concentrate on growing vegetables, fruits and herbs that are harder to get locally and, to that end, has already been growing greens and herbs and tomato and pepper seedlings in a greenhouse operation through the winter months. Kim is also overseeing a variety of chickens who will be laying farm fresh eggs for the kitchen -- we were there when the first arrived (right) -- and is planning to bring a honey bee operation in next.

Travaasa Austin will soon be adding farm-related classes to its extensive schedule of "experiences" -- and is also using land near the farm for its equestrian offering, including trail rides and its well-regarded Equine Experience. For more information, visit http://travaasa.com/austin/

 
Lovely Lumeria Maui Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 17 February 2013 16:46

Lumeria MauiThe north shore of Maui is one of my favorite places in the world. Between the wacky beach town of Paia, the glorious organic farms of the Upcountry area and Haleakala herself, the area has a magical quality that's hard to match. What it doesn't have is a lot of places to stay for those who want a real Maui (vs. resort Maui) experience. There is the Paia Inn, located within walking distance of both local Baldwin beach and the restaurants in Paia -- including the wonderful Paia Fish Market and Flatbread Pizza, which lists the local farmers who provided that day's fare on the menu. And there are small B&Bs and home rentals available through Homeaway.com or VRBO.com. For a long time that was about it. But now there's an offering for those who want a location -- and much more -- between the beaches of Paia and the Upcountry town of Makawao: Lumeria Maui.

Lumeria MauiThe brainchild of founder Xorin Balbes, who saw potential in the historic buildings that originally housed retired plantation workers, Lumeria Maui has been beautifully restored and turned into a boutique inn and retreat center with 24 guest rooms, a yoga studio, a farm-to-table-focused dining room and -- naturally -- gorgeous gardens. Complimentary offerings for those staying at Lumeria Maui include an organic breakfast, daily meditation, yoga, classes that include a series of horticulture programs and weekly garden tours -- and, after March 15, a new pool. Special events and workshops -- including Lumeria's signature Glow Cleanse -- are also offered throughout the year. For more information, call 855-579-8877 or visit LumeriaMaui.com

 
Oahu's KCC Farmers Market Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 03 February 2013 17:25

KCC Farmers MarketI've said it before and I'll say it again: One of the best ways to get to know a community when you're traveling is to visit its farmers market. That's especially true on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, where the KCC (Kapi'olani Community College) Farmers Market is the place to be on a Saturday morning (left) -- both for locals and for visitors staying in Waikiki (a 10-15 minute drive away). Offering local produce, flowers (including gorgeous orchids and hibiscus), honey, fish and prepared foods (including some from KCC's Culinary Arts Program), the KCC Farmers Market is one of five markets run on Oahu by the Hawaii Farm Bureau, which prepares a tip sheet each week to help navigate the more than 60 farm stands at the Saturday morning market. Staying in a hotel limits the buying possibilities -- for instance, based on our visit a few weeks ago, there were many gorgeous flowers being taken home by locals and the most popular stand was Big Island Abalone. But even for visitors, there are a lot of great options.

Waikiki from Diamond HeadThere are three coffee stands: Koko Crater Coffee Roasters, which has the premium spot right near the entrance, for those that are in major need of a caffeine fix (like we were), Keopu Coffee and Aikane Coffee. Other favorites included two local honey stands: Rhea's Hawaiian Honey (which offers samples and where we bought some amazing macadamia nut and organic cinnamon honey) and All Hawaiian Honey Coop (which has the best t-shirts and from whom we bought the Christmasberry Honey). We also loved the green juice from Otsuji Farms, made with kale, greens, beets, fresh pineapple, lemon juice and apple juice; the fresh island ginger drinks from PacifiKool; and the fresh roasted corn by Na 'Ono at the Kahuku Farms stand. Again, with 60-some stands, this is a major farmers market and not only a wonderful overview of the abundance of Hawaii's local offerings but a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Another plus is it's located right across from the entrance to Diamond Head State Park, for those who feel fueled up enough after the farmers market to make the trek up to the top of Diamond Head and take in the beautiful views (above).

 
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