Breadfruit Festival goes Bananas

CAPTAIN COOK,Hawai'i Breadfruit Festival Goes Bananas will take place on Saturday, September 29 , 9 am – 3 pm at the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in South Kona. The festival is free and open to the public. In addition to celebrating the cultural and culinary aspects of breadfruit (‘ulu), this year’s festival will also highlight breadfruit’s forest companion—banana (mai‘a).

The festival will start at 9:00 am with “Opening of ‘Ōlapa” by Hālau Hula Nā Pua U‘i O Hawai‘i, Kumu Hula Etua Lopes.

Breadfruit-inspired food will headline the festivities. The breadfruit cooking demonstrations will feature celebrity chef Sam Choy—grand finale competitor in the Food Network’s "Chopped Grill Masters". Dr. Angela Kay Kepler will demonstrate cooking with banana and Shirley Kauhaihao will show when to pick a breadfruit and demonstrate home-style ways to prepare breadfruit. Chef Betty Saiki and the West Hawai‘i Community College Culinary Arts Program will serve a locally sourced buffet luncheon featuring breadfruit.

The public is invited to compete for prizes by entering the Breadfruit Cooking Contest with their own original recipes. Cooking Contest prizes will be awarded in the categories of: Appetizer, Main Dish/Entrée (includes Soups or Salads served as a Main Dish), Dessert, Going Bananas (combining breadfruit & bananas in one dish), Youth (ages 12 to 18), Best of Show and Healthiest Choice.

Winners of the two top prizes Best of Show and Healthiest Choice will each receive a $300 cash prize donated by Kamehameha Investment Corporation.  1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in the categories of Appetizer, Main Dish/Entrée, Dessert and Going Bananas will receive prizes donated by Keauhou Beach Resort, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, Kamehameha Beach Hotel, Fair Winds Cruises, Roy’s, Huggo’s, Kona Brewing Company, Hawai‘i Volcano Sea Salt, Volcano Island Honey Company, Sunshine Nursery, Big Island Brewhaus, Greenwell Farms, Mauna Kea Tea, Coffee Shack, Big Island Bees, Ocean Sports, Kona Coffeehouse & Café and the Keauhou Shopping Center. Winners in the newly added Youth category are competing for a Body Glove Cruise for two and $125 in movie tickets.

Breadfruit Festival Goes Bananaswill feature many Hawaiian and Pacific Islander cultural activities. Jerry Konanui, mahi ‘ai and educator, ‘Anakala Isaiah Kealoha and other experts will conduct hands-on workshops in the art of preparing poi ‘ulu. Lima Tamasese will demonstrate traditional Samoan ‘ulu preparation. Tapa expert Wesley Sen will be demonstrating how to make tapa from ‘ulu bark. The Kona-based ‘ohana of the late Micronesian navigator Mau Piailug will share ‘ulu preparation techniques from their home island of Satawal. Aloha Quilters of Kailua-Kona will demonstrate Hawaiian quilting, with a focus on the ‘ulu motif in quilting.

New to the 2012 festival is a music and storytelling tent featuring: the “Songbird of Miloli‘i,” Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winner Diana Aki; Kumu Hula Auli‘i Mitchell performing Hula Ki‘i (Hawaiian puppetry); “Stories and Hawaiian Mythology of ‘Ulu and Mai‘a” with Ryan McCormack; Music by Auntie Irma DiCenzo and Kahikina's Nahenahe ‘Ohana; and Hula by Beamer-Solomon Halau O Po‘ohala, Kumu Hulali Solomon Covington.

Youth activities include ‘ulu-inspired art and cooking. Students from Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School will be doing a cooking demonstration. Acclaimed artist Caren Loebel-Fried will lead hands-on activities with keiki in the Youth Art Tent and Katrina Spinola will be making lei from ‘ulu and other traditional materials. The Youth Art Tent will also feature the winning art from the island-wide Youth Art Contest. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each age category will win cash prizes ($75, $50 and $25, respectively) donated by Kamehameha Investment Corporation and a gift bag donated by Starbucks Hawai‘i. The top winner overall will receive a Dolphin Quest Dolphin Encounter for two.

A Fine Art exhibit will feature breadfruit-inspired works from the Breadfruit Fine Art Contest. Local artists who want to submit work can register in advance at www.breadfruit.info.

The presentation tent will feature talks by world-renowned experts in breadfruit, banana and agroforestry. Dr. Diane Ragone and Ian Cole of the Breadfruit Institute will speak about “The Future of Breadfruit in Hawai‘i” and “‘Managing ‘Ulu – From One Tree to an Orchard.”Author and ethnobotanist Dr. Angela Kay Kepler will give a presentation entitled “The World of Bananas in Hawai‘i: Rediscovering Hawai‘i’s Forgotten Varieties.” Author and agroforestry expert Craig Elevitch will present “Homegardens—Pasifika Style.” The presentation will conclude with a roundtable discussion entitled Economic Opportunities for Breadfruit and other Traditional Crops.

The popular “Ma‘afala” variety of breadfruit and several varieties of bananas will be available for purchase.

In the week leading up to the Breadfruit Festival, the Keauhou Resort will celebrate the “Taste of 'Ulu” by featuring gourmet dishes in select Keauhou Resort restaurants.

In times of old, breadfruit was a primary staple food and played a major role in the spiritual, cultural, material and political life of Hawaiians. Mixed agroforestry systems (banana, sweet potato, taro, wauke and others) with breadfruit as an overstory crop were once a key Hawaiian cultural and agricultural resource. On Hawai‘i Island there were two regions in which breadfruit played a particularly important role—the kaluuluin Kona and the “hidden” breadfruit groves of Puna. Breadfruit Festival Goes Bananas takes placeamong the remnants of the kaluulu—the ancient “breadfruit belt” of Kona.

Hawai‘i imports about 85% of its food, making it one of the most food insecure states in the nation. Additionally, since the economic downturn of 2008, many families lack access to affordable and nutritious food. Breadfruit is nutritionally and culturally important throughout the Pacific—for Hawaiians and the thousands of other non-Hawaiian Pacific islanders who make Hawai‘i their home. Breadfruit Festival Goes Bananas celebrates the rich culture of breadfruit and banana in Hawai‘i and the Pacific, raises awareness about the importance of breadfruit for food security and gives people an opportunity to taste the many delicious ways that breadfruit can be prepared.

Breadfruit Festival Goes Bananasis presented by Hawai‘i Homegrown Food Network, the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden. The festival is sponsored by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s Kūkulu Ola—Living Hawaiian Culture Program administered by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Doc Buyers Fund at Hawaii Community Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Ho‘oulu Lāhui, Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School, West Hawai‘i Community College Culinary Arts Program, Ke Ola Magazine, and Big Island Resource Conservation and Development.

Learn more about the Breadfruit Festival by visiting www.breadfruit.info


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