Mixed Plate goes to the Maui Agricultural Festival

By Pamela Young
Published On: Apr 24 2013 07:55:41 PM HST

Once a year the farmers, ranchers, and food vendors on the Valley Isle bring out their best for the Maui Agricultural Festival.

The ancient tiller of these fields never heard of the word "sustainability," but they lived the concept.

Walking and working the terrain, watching the interplay of the sun, wind and water, they made sure to nurture the 'aina, as it nurtured them.

"The 'aina we're growing our produce on, the history was it was used in the old Hawaiian days by our ancestors," said Ruth Tolentino of Hana Fresh.  "So, we might not be growing the same thing, but the same idea is there."

Traditional resources are going into growing diversified and experimental crops, as today's farmers seek a market niche that will sustain their operations.

New products and new marketing strategies were in nearly every stall at this year's Maui Agricultural Festival.  Small farmers are taking risks with gourmet produce for more eclectic palettes.

Maui is a great place to grow produce, especially if you're trying out organics, like the Hawthorn eggplant from Canada or the Bianca eggplant from Sicily, both varieties taking root in Maui soil.

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