Save the Date for 2011 Mealani Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival

Get out your Stetson, boots and denim duds—though they aren’t required—for the 16th Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival on Friday, Sept. 30 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. The annual event showcases the isle’s grass-fed beef industry while bringing together local ranchers, farmers, restaurateurs and eager eaters to celebrate a bounty of fresh, locally produced food.

Find Culinary Fun and Adventure

Keauhou local raised meat

With a goal to promote Big Isle 100 percent grass-fed beef, Taste challenges chefs to use all of the beef cuts—everything from nose to tail. In 2010, the culinary team from the Keauhou Beach Resort wowed the crowd with their preparation of beef tongue. Photo courtesy Fern Gavelek.

It’s where 30 of the state’s top chefs dazzle diners 6-8 p.m. with delectable dishes using grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus fresh island fruit and veggies.

Attendees looking for culinary adventure can taste and enjoy all the cuts of grass-fed beef—everything from tongue to tail.  Chefs offer expertly prepared sirloin tip and ribs, plus cuisine using meat like beef cheek and the infamous “rocky mountain oysters” or bull testicles. The motto is, “Try it, you’ll like it!”

Food Producers On Display

While “tasting,” festival goers can meet Hawai‘i’s food producers at gaily decorated vendor booths and talk story with the ranchers and farmers who make a living growing our food. Taste also affords local food producers the opportunity to hookup with isle chefs, wholesale buyers and consumers.

Adaptations local

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range hooks up local food producers with possible buyers and the consumer public. Photo courtesy Fern Gavelek.

“This year’s event combines our previous afternoon Trade Expo with the evening Taste,” explains Leomi Bergknut, three-year event coordinator. She says Taste will again open at 5 p.m. to VIP guests and that’s when food vendors can network with on-site chefs and invited wholesale buyers.

“Taste is an excellent opportunity for local food producers to meet prospective clients and get immediate feedback on their product from consumers,” emphasizes Bergknut. “Vendors continue to be a mix of our agricultural wealth here on Hawai‘i Island including coffee, hearts of palm, tea, tomatoes and specialty meat products from our ranchers.

Cooking Grass-Fed Beef 101


KTA’s Derek Kurisu

Learn how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef at a 3 p.m. culinary activity: Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101. This year’s guest presenter is KTA’s Derek Kurisu of TV’s “Living in Paradise.”

A former journeyman meat cutter to KTA’s executive VP, Kurisu is the developer behind the grocer’s Mountain Apple Brand line of over 200 local products. He also serves as host of KTA’s “Living in Paradise” TV shows depicting events, places and people of Hawai‘i Island. The shows air daily on Oceanic Time Warner Cable 27 and include various cooking segments. For broadcast times, visit Check out segments on YouTube:

Kurisu says, “I am honored to be a part of this event promoting local, grass-fed meats and fresh produce. Supporting local is very important to our economy and lifestyle. It is a part of my goal in making our island and the state the greatest place on Earth and one day having local products available throughout the world.”

Ticket Prices Remain Unchanged

Tickets prices for the evening Taste and Cooking 101 demo will be conveniently sold online starting March 1 at Taste tickets remain priced at $40 presale and $60 at the door, while the fee for the cooking demo is $10.

Who to Contact for Info

Local food producers wishing to participate with a vendor booth please contact Nina Tanabe or 808-933-8611.

Members of the community or organizations wishing to volunteer, contact Milton Yamasaki at 887-6185.

For general event information, contact Bergknut at 808-987-3432.

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 Leomi Bergknut at 808-987-3432, as soon as possible and no later than September 23, 2011.

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 and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Big Island Resource Conservation & 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


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