An Appetite for Culture + VIDEO

How Maui farmers are cultivating ancient wisdom to feed a population—and a hunger for culture.

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poi pounding
East Maui Taro Festival features entertainment, educational and food booths, vendors, and hands-on activities on April 21.

March 3
Breadfruit Agroforestry Workshop, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens in Kahului ‘Ulu experts from across Hawai‘i gather to share growing techniques, preparation methods and more. 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., $35. Register at HawaiiHomegrown.org/breadfruit-agroforestry-workshops.

April 21–22
East Maui Taro Festival, Hāna Ballpark This twenty-sixth annual event features entertainment, educational and food booths, vendors, and hands-on activities on April 21. On April 22, enjoy the famous Taro Pancake Breakfast and field trips. 9 a.m.– 5 p.m., 5091 Uakea Road, TaroFestival.org

September 8
Lā ‘Ulu (Breadfruit Day) 
Maui Nui Botanical Gardens will host the second annual Lā ‘Ulu (Breadfruit Day), featuring food booths, breadfruit cooking demonstrations, ‘ulu for sale, cultural activities, Hawaiian music and hula. 9 a.m.-3 p.m, 150 Kanaloa Ave., Kahului, mnbg.org 

Kahanu Gardens in Hāna is the Maui branch of the National Tropical Botanical Gardens and home to the Breadfruit Institute, which spans 122 acres and includes a variety of canoe plants, a thatched canoe house, and the largest heiau (Hawaiian temple) in Hawai‘i. Guided and self-guided tours available. 650 Ulaino Road, Hāna; ntbg.org

Hawaiian Heritage Farms sells sixteen-ounce bags of ‘ulu flour for $8.99 online at HawaiianHeritageFarms.com. Grown on Maui, the product can be shipped throughout the United States and Canada.

Nā Hoaloha ‘Ekolu is the award-winning restaurant group behind Old Lāhaina Lū‘au, Star Noodle, Aloha Mixed Plate, and Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop. It is also the parent company to Bobby Pahia’s Hoaloha Farms, whose produce is incorporated in each of the group’s restaurants. For example, the farm’s poi is sold in two-pound portions for $10 ($6 for senior citizens) at Aloha Mixed Plate—which also serves“kalo-flower mash,” a creative take on mashed potato that’s made of kalo and cauliflower. Old Lāhaina Lū‘au serves poi as part of its menu and uses the leaves in kalo stew; Star Noodle incorporates kalo into a dumpling; and Leoda’s serves kalo in its veggie burgers. For more information, call 667-2998.

Treat your taste buds with Maui Breadfruit Company’s Pono Pies (a gluten-free dessert made from ‘ulu) and Maui ‘Ulu Hummus. Both are available at markets and restaurants across Hawai‘i, and via online order. Visit PonoPies.com for a list of retailers.

Visit Maui Nui Botanical Gardens to see kalo, ‘ulu and other canoe crops during the
Native Plant Guided Tour. Brochures for self-guided walking tours are included with the price of admission; audio tour wands are available to rent; and docent-led group tours are $10 per person (10 a.m. weekdays, by appointment only). Work with native plants and help maintain the landscape with the Gardens’ Weed and Pot Club, which meets 8:30–10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Open 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday–Saturday. 150 Kanaloa Ave., Kahului; 249-2798; mnbg.org

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