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    October 2017
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Taste of the Hawaiian Range Reformats for 2018

The island’s largest agricultural showcase is returning in 2018 with a new twist at a different location.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range will be Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at Mana Christian ‘Ohana (Old Kahilu Town Hall) and the adjacent YMCA Minuke Ole Park in Waimea. The 2018 Taste will offer all-day agricultural-themed fun and educational activities before culminating with an evening tasting event showcasing locally produced food.

“We’re changing up the Taste to share info with families about our local agriculture,” says event co-chair and rancher Jeri Moniz. “We will still have our popular, evening food tasting event to showcase pasture-raised meats, but will also offer earlier activities geared for the general public, including keiki.”

Daytime fun will include agricultural-themed activities and exhibits at the YMCA Park, with plans for horseback rides and viewing of livestock animals complete with educational displays. Community school groups and organizations will be invited to provide food concessions for daytime attendees. Admission to the park exhibits is free.

Also planned are tours at local farms to see firsthand where some of our locally produced foods come from. Ag-related classes and the annual Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 will be offered during the day inside the classroom building adjacent to Mana Christian’s Hall. Chef Edwin Goto of Waimea’s Village Burger and Noodle Club will lead the popular cooking class with sampling.

Featuring about 20 culinary stations, the evening Taste will be both inside and out of the hall and open to 500 attendees. Tickets will go on sale next summer both online and at select islandwide locations.

In its 22nd year, Taste of the Range is changing its focus to share the importance of all types of Hawai‘i agriculture while acquainting keiki with farm animals and how agriculture is the science, art and practice of producing food.

“In the past, Taste was geared to inform chefs and attendees on the benefits of using grass-fed beef, while encouraging ranchers to produce it,” explains Dr. Russell Nagata, co-chair and retired CTAHR Hawaii County administrator. “Our committee has been meeting all year to come up with a new event emphasizing agriculture in a more broad and comprehensive way. We want to share how our local ranchers and farmers take pride in producing our high-quality food.”

Mana Christian ‘Ohana is located behind Parker Ranch Center at 67-1182 Lindsey Road. For more event information, visit www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com and stay connected via Facebook at TasteoftheHawaiianRange and at @TasteHI on Twitter and Instagram.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, plus encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. Volunteers and sponsors are welcomed; contact Dr. Russell Nagata at rnagata@gmail.com

Federal Worker to Eat Cow Ball for Charity During Government Shutdown

The following post first appeared on the HuffPost Hawaii Site:

After moving to Hawaii in 1993, I’ve had chances to eat things many folks don’t get an opportunity to on the mainland.

Unfortunately, I have a very weak stomach and I don’t take advantage of all the great foods that Hawaii has to offer. Whether a common food, such as raw fish, or a staple such as poi, I just can’t seem to stomach them.

Cow balls getting ready to be cooked.

Cow balls getting ready to be cooked.

The last few years I’ve been invited to the Big Island of Hawaii’s premier food and agriculture event, the Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range at the Hilton Waikoloa Village, where I’ve been able to sample and eat every part of a cow so far, except for, well… it’s BALLS, otherwise known as Rocky Mountain Oysters.

I don’t know why I’ve been so fearful of eating this part of a steer other then the thought of it pretty much disgusts me and churns my stomach. I’m sure I’ve probably had a few cow balls mixed in to my regular hamburger meat at times… it’s just I wouldn’t have known it.

I’ve always believed that if you have a fear of something, you should tackle that fear head-on. Why continue to live in fear of something when you can get over your fear and move past it?

I asked the following question to my friends on Facebook:

1. Have you ever eaten Rocky Mountain Oysters and what did they taste like to you?
2. If you had the chance to eat them in the past…. and didn’t eat them… why didn’t you?

Most of my friends said they tasted like chicken, but then I got this one comment from Leilehua Yuen: “I’ve eaten them prepared very well – tasted a bit like a cross between sweetbreads and brain. And I’ve eaten them prepared poorly – very salty and overcooked so they were too hard to chew. Both times, they had been breaded and deep-fried. Ono (good) with beer!”

Yes, Leilehua said, “BRAIN”!

As I said before, I have to move past my fears and I figured this year at the Taste of the Hawaiian Range I would volunteer to eat a Rocky Mountain Oyster if folks would pitch in for a non-profit charity. I will videotape my tasting and put it on my website.

"Snip"

“Snip”

I didn’t know what type of response I would get but then the offers to watch me choke down a cow ball started coming in. The local automobile magazine, Hawaii Motorhead was the first to pitch in so I offered them the opportunity to pick the non-profit and they have chosen The Food Basket, Inc. (a network that provides food for low income and homeless folks here on the Big Island of Hawaii).

After just a week of posting my offer to swallow down a cow ball and through generous contributions from Hawaii Motorhead, Craig Watanabe, Lucy Denise K. Mossman, Chris Henry, Dustin Acdal, Matt and Kehau Sproat (who don’t want to see the video as it’s too gross for them), Laura Kinoshita of Kinoshita Communications, Mahealani and Kevin Dayton as well as Mark Hinshaw I have now raised over $300 for the island’s food bank.

At the 18th Annual Taste of the Hawaiian Range, between 6-8 p.m. October 4, is where I will be filmed eating this cow ball… and yes, I will have a big glass of water next to me to wash it down. Wouldn’t it be funny if I actually ended up liking the “oyster”?

Thankfully Rocky Mountain Oysters are not the only thing on the menu as the “Taste” will offer 35 restaurants preparing numerous cuts of grass-fed beef–plus lamb, mutton, goat and feral and domestic pork.

And for all you vegetarians out there who I may have completely disgusted with this post, the Taste of the Hawaiian Range is not all about meat, although to this meat lover it seems like it at times but there will also be over 40 agriculture and educational booths for folks to peruse.

So I ask… how much money would it take for you to eat a Rocky Mountain Oyster?

Want to pitch in on this challenge?????

Get Your Feedbag on for Taste of the Hawaiian Range – Event Illustrates How To Use All the Cuts of Grass-Fed Beef

Come hungry to the island’s mega agriculture festival, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Time is 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 and the 18th annual event sprawls inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Tickets are $40 presale and $60 at the door.

Mealani Sign

The menu headlines dry-aged, grass-finished beef—sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that spend their entire life eating grass after being weaned. It is free of antibiotics and hormones. Animal science research shows grass-fed beef is low in fat and calories, contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the richest known sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CIA), which has anti-cancer properties.

Thirty-five Hawai’i chefs are assigned to prepare a whopping 100 pounds of a specific cut of beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar—and the result is a festive adventure of tasting everything from tongue to tail. The chef station annually serving Kohala Mountain Oysters, a nickname for local bull’s testicles, is always a Taste curiosity and favorite.

“The primary reason to assign all the beef cuts is for chefs and attendees to get acquainted with them while having fun,” emphasizes Jeri Moniz, event chairperson and rancher. “By utilizing the whole animal, there’s no waste and the value of the animal goes up. This is important for our livestock industry.”

Taste also showcases the efforts of our hard-working farmers, using a bounty of local vegetables, fruits and fungi in the chef’s culinary offerings. Attendees can talk story with local growers, ranchers and producers of value-added food products at gaily decorated booths while enjoying samples. In addition, Taste offers sustainability and agriculture-themed educational displays.

Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101 culinary demonstration. This year’s guest presenter is Hubert Des Marais, executive chef of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. A strong supporter of sourcing “local first,” Chef Des Marais uses two-to-three whole beef carcasses per month at the AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort. The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10.

Online ticket links for both Taste and Cooking 101, plus islandwide ticket locations, can be found at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Mayor Kenoi and Senator Hanohano look on as Dan Akaka Jr. blows the conch opening the 2011 Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Mayor Kenoi and Senator Hanohano look on as Dan Akaka Jr. blows the conch opening the 2011 Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Hawai’i residents can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $229 per room on Oct. 4 that includes two tickets for Taste. For details, and to book a stay under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit http://bit.ly/14wUunL or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411 no later than Sept. 4.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.