A new video detailing the reasons why eight Hawai‘i Island food producers work to feed our island and choose an agrarian way of life was shared at the 2016 Taste.
Screened on several monitors throughout the event, the footage offered interviews filmed on location at Palani Ranch in Kailua-Kona, Double D Ranch in Laupahoehoe, KK Ranch in Laupahoehoe, Kuahiwi Ranch in Na‘alehu, Parker Ranch in Waimea, Hawaiian Hogs in Waimea, plus Best Farms and Robb Farms at Lalamilo Farmlots in Waimea.
For ease in online viewing, the video was split into seven, shorter segments; each one is about 1.5 to 2 minutes long. We share a sneak preview for each video; find their links below and tune in!
According to Palani’s president Britt Craven, the Kailua-Kona Ranch has been in operation for six generations as a cow-calf operation (calves are sold for finishing on the Mainland) while providing 100 head annually for local consumption.
Craven says Palani’s ranching family “loves what they do and the land” that’s entrusted in their care from previous generations.
“It’s about cattle ranching and that tradition, that heritage, of carrying it forward,” he emphasizes. “We’re stoked how the public has embraced locally produced proteins and vegetables and hope that continues…”
Joanna Nobriga feels its important for her children to be raised on a ranch as she says “they become better people knowing the amount of hard work they have to do on a day-to-day basis… just to maintain what we have on the ranch.”
She and husband Darcy raise cattle, sheep, hogs and hearts of palm in Laupahoehoe, plus goats in Puako. A fourth generation operation, Nobriga admits there’s always work to do and she and her husband can never leave the ranch to take a vacation together.
However, she prefers the ranch setting. “Where else can we go and have a beautiful office like this?” she asks.
Jason Moniz and his family ranch 750 mother cows and their calves on 5,200 acres of leasehold land on the northeast slopes of Mauna Kea near Honoka‘a. Moniz says it was “hard work” to get the pasture to the condition it is today.
KK Ranch markets calves different ways for finishing on the Mainland and keeps 30-40 head “home” annually for finishing locally. Moniz says his family got into ranching for a “second income,” as he had the background and education for it. In addition, it was something the family could do together.
“It’s a lot of hard work, but I find it enjoyable having the family close…especially the days we spend together on the ranch,” he shares.
Siblings Michelle and Guy Galimba, who grew up in the dairy industry, oversee 1,600 cattle on 9,000 acres in Na‘alehu. The animals are predominately sold to the local market, providing 900 head a year for island consumption. In operation since 1993, Kuahiwi sprawls on former sugar cane land.
“We’re raising our kids in the industry,” notes Michelle. “When you buy local beef you’re supporting local working families who take care of the land.” Guy adds, “Every day is different and can be frustrating, but I love what I do.”
Jason Van Tassell came to work in 2014 on a new grass-finishing beef program at the sprawling Waimea ranch in partnership with Ulupono Initiative. He says the program allows the ranch “to use good quality forage on the ranch” to finish animals locally. Sold as the Paniolo Cattle Company brand, the grass-finished beef has received good feedback, he says.
Brought up around horses and cattle all his life, Van Tassell cherishes watching cattle in the pasture and all facets of ranching, saying it’s not just a livelihood, but a life choice.
He adds, “I am really satisfied when I see an animal reach its full potential and end up in a restaurant or supermarket with our label on it. When I walk past that meat, I’m proud of what that product looks like.”
A second-generation hog farmer in Waimea, Lloyd Case has 600 pigs, including 300 feral hogs. His son has shown an interest in taking over the farm someday and he hopes that happens.
“I call it a labor of love,” he grins. “We don’t really get rich and it’s one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever do. But it’s in my blood.”
Case’s typical workday begins at 2 a.m. He picks up the discarded food waste from local hotels, cooks it and feeds it to the pigs. Then he checks all his feral traps and brings the captured animals to the farm, getting home around 5:30 p.m. Other jobs include de-worming the feral pigs and caring for them until they are sold to local restaurants who appreciate their “wild” flavor.
Explaining the importance of food sustainability, Case notes the Big Island produces superior quality food—beef, pork and vegetables. “We take care of our animals, that’s one thing that makes a difference…we are proud of what we do and what we raise.”
Best Farms and Robb Farms
Located in Waimea’s Lalamilo Farmlots, these operations produce a variety of produce. Best Farms grows lettuce, cabbage, persimmons, melons and green onions while Robb, a certified organic farm, offers lettuce, broccoli, beets, fennel and sweet onions.
A third generation farmer, Earl Yamamoto of Best Farms said it takes “years” to create good, arable land and due to varied terrain and rocks, all the land can’t readily be utilized. Chris Robb of Robb Farms feels the scarcity of good farm and water resources makes farming a challenge.
“The beauty of Lalamilo (Farmlots) is the state had the foresight to utilize the upper Hamakua Ditch to allow us to farm in arid Waimea,” details Robb. He says the convenience of the on-site cooperative allows growers to load shipping containers for transport to nearby Kawaihae Harbor. “We can get our produce to the other islands in 24 hours.”
Regardless of the challenges, Robb finds the positive feedback from consumers gratifying, along with supplying the basic needs for people. “We have accomplished something…we employ people and keep money circulating here in our economy.”
Yamamoto gets satisfaction in watching things grow. “For me, it’s like raising kids or pets. You get a seed and every day you watch it grow until ready for harvest. Every day and every crop is different.Share
Recycling efforts at the 2016 Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range diverted a whopping 1,456.3 pounds of waste from the landfill. A waste total of 1,513.79 pounds was generated with 96.2 percent of it diverted or “recovered” as compostables, mixed recyclables, HI-5 redemption and food waste that was distributed to local piggeries. The adjacent diagram shows the breakdown of total waste by pounds and percent.
The County of Hawai’i spearheaded the massive Zero Waste effort, which was assisted by students at Kanu o Ka ‘Aina School. Honoka‘a Intermediate/High School and UH-Hilo. Dr. Norman Arancon of the University of Hawai‘i compiled the waste report and supervised the weighing of the waste.
The 21st annual event at Hilton Waikoloa Village proved to hundreds of attendees and participating culinarians that pasture-raised beef tastes good and can be used to make satisfying dishes. A wide variety of beef cuts —everything from tongue to tail—were assigned and prepared at 29 culinary stations, plus pork, lamb, mutton and goat.
In addition, there were 40 product/educational displays. Some booths shared tastes of goodies, like honey and balsamic vinegar, while others offered compelling agricultural displays and informational handouts on topics like Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death.
Culinary student component
Hawai‘i Community College (HCC) culinary students from both East and West Hawai‘i helped chefs and product booths dish out thousands of tasty samples. They included 21 students and three instructors from West Hawai‘i and 52 students, six graduates and four instructors from East Hawai‘i.
Students also were assigned meat cuts to prepare and serve at their own culinary stations. Hilo students were assigned tripe and served Munudo. “It’s a Mexican stew that’s known as a hangover remedy,” smiled Brian Hirata, chef instructor of culinary arts in Hilo.
Those studying Asian cookery at HCC in Kona prepared Indian Lamb Curry while those in the European class concocted Lamb Shish-Ka-Bobs. Both schools also offered a selection of desserts, including the popular chocolate-dipped cookies by Chef Fernand Guiot’s Kona students.
Educational activities open to all
Pre-gala activities were geared to students and home cooks. The first was a live demonstration, “Beef Carcass Butchering and Product Valuation.” Dr. Dale Woerner and Dr. Keith Belk of Colorado State University showed how a half-beef carcass is butchered into products while sharing the characteristics of each. The well-received demonstration instructed future chefs and food service personnel how to best utilize the whole carcass of pasture-raised cattle. In addition, the presentation was of value to the home cook wanting to learn where beef cuts come from.
Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 Recipes
O’ahu chefs Kevin Hanney and J Schoonover of 12th Ave Grill and Kokohead Cafe demonstrated how to use beef tongue and beef short ribs during Pasture-Raised Beef Cooking 101. Attendees enjoyed samples. Click on these links for their recipes: Red Wine Braised Paniolo Beef Tongue with Sweet Pepper Soffrito and Coconut-Braised Big Island Beef Shortribs. NEED these recipe names LINKED TO WEBSITE PLZ.
Mahalo to the many others who helped make Taste a success! With a mission to provide a venue for sustainable agricultural education and support of locally produced ag products, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. Find a list of the 2016 supporters and participants, details on the Mealani Research Station—where Taste began—plus where to get grass-fed beef on the Big Isle AND recipes, at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.Share
Prepared for Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at the 2016 Taste of the Hawaiian Range
6 10oz pcs boneless short ribs
Salt and pepper
3-4 Tbs canola oil
1 qt good quality beef stock
2 12oz cans coconut milk
Buttered Taro Mash
2 1/2 – 3 lbs white taro- peeled and diced into 1″ cubes
1/2 stick butter room temp
Salt and white pepper
Hauula Tomato and Kula Onion Relish
2 large ripe Hauula Tomatoes- cored and sliced into 1/4″ wedges
1/2 large sweet Kula onion- peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro – roughly chopped
1/2 oz fish sauce
1/2 oz chili oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Portion short ribs to approximately 10 oz. pieces. Season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides.
Heat Dutch oven or large heavy pot on medium high heat. Add canola oil. When hot, add short ribs and sear on all sides until browned and caramelized. This may be done in two batches to avoid overcrowding. Once all meat is seared, drain all excess oil and return to the pot. Add beef stock and coconut milk to fully cover all short ribs. Bring liquid to a simmer.
Cover with lid and place in 325 degree oven for 4-5 hours or until tender. Note: cooking time will vary depending on thickness of beef.
Buttered Taro Mash:
Place diced taro in large pot and cover with water. Bring to a low boil and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain and mash or press thru potato ricer. Stir in salt, pepper and butter until melted and well incorporated.
Hauula Tomato & Kula Onion Relish:
In medium bowl place tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Sprinkle with salt, chili oil and fish sauce. Mix gently and refrigerate until ready to serve.Share
Red Wine Braised Paniolo Beef Tongue, Sweet Pepper Soffrito, Shaved Local Fennell with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
Prepared for Cooking Pasture-Raised Beef 101 at the 2016 Taste of the Hawaiian Range
1 3-4 lb. beef tongue
2 cups rough chopped herbs of your choice. Ie: Parsley, thyme, sage and tarragon
2 cups kosher salt
1 bottle red wine
1 quart quality beef stock
Sweet Pepper Soffrito
2 small red bell peppers, sliced in to 1” strips
2 small yellow bell peppers, sliced in to 1” strips
1 small green bell pepper slice in to 1” strips
3 ripe Roma tomatoes halved and sliced thin
1 medium yellow onion sliced thin
½ cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic sliced thin
¼ cup smoked paprika
Salt to taste
Shaved Local Fennel with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
1 large bulb fennel with fronds, shaved thinly
¼ cup fresh squeezed meyer lemon Juice
¾ cup canola oil
3 tablespoons Manoa honey
Salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon minced thyme
1 teaspoon minced shallot
Place herbs and salt into food processor and pulse until herbs are finely shopped and salt is well incorporated
Rinse and dry tongue thoroughly and place in plastic container. Coat tongue liberally with salt/herb mixture. Refrigerate 12 hrs.
Remove tongue and rinse well. Place tongue in Dutch oven or heavy pot just big enough to hold the tongue. Add wine and beef stock to cover completely. Cover with lid and place in 325 degree oven for 5-6 hours or until tender
Remove tongue from liquid (reserve) and thoroughly cool. Carefully peel off exterior of tongue and discard. Slice tongue in to 1/2” slices. Set aside
Simmer brazing liquid over medium heat until reduced by half. Season brazing liquid with salt and pepper to taste.
Place sliced tongue on oven safe dish and warm in the oven. Ladle reduce jus over tongue.
Sweet Pepper Soffrito:
Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan on medium heat. Add all ingredients except paprika. Season with salt and pepper. When peppers and onions have softened, add paprika and reduce heat to low simmer. Continue cooking for 30-40 minutes stirring frequently until most liquid has evaporated. Taste and reason if necessary.
In medium sized mixing bowl whisk together all ingredients except canola oil. Slowly drizzle in canola oil while whisking vigorously. Salt and Pepper to taste as needed.
Dress shaved fennel with vinaigrette and add a fennel fronts as garnish.Share