Posts belonging to Category Pasture-Raised Beef Hawaii

Taste to Pair Seven Chefs with Specific Ranches and Farms

New this year is a presentation format for seven culinary stations (out of a total of 30). Seven chefs will be paired with meat from a specific ranch and produce from a specific farm and they will be out on the Lagoon Lanai. These food “players” will be identified by signage at their culinary stations for attendees. Event chair Jeri Moniz says the purpose for the pairings is to foster more communication between food producers and the user of their products—chefs.  We checked in with some of the partnered ranchers and chefs to get their take on the challenges of providing local beef and the benefits of using it.

Triple D Ranch with Village Burger

De Luz Ranchers

Antone and Duane De Luz, photos courtesy Duane De Luz

Duane De Luz of Triple D Ranch manages 600 acres between two locations: O‘okala and Honokaia (between Honoka‘a and Kukuihaele). The family operation has been committed to 100 percent grass-fed beef since it started in 1906.

Triple D typically delivers 70 steers and heifers to market annually, overseeing up to 180 animals at any one time in their grass-fed finishing program. DeLuz says they farm a variety of forage that produces well at their two locations: pangola, star and guinea grasses, plus legumes like clover and plantation peanut. The fourth generation rancher says proper pasture management and rotation of herds is key to being successful.

“While prices for wean-offs (calves) to finish on the Mainland are high, we keep ours at home,” says Duane. “By keeping our animals here, we’re feeding the local community and ensuring jobs are here to process and distribute the beef. We are happy to support our fellow local businesses.”

With the motto, “Supporting our Island Ranchers, One Hamburger at a Time,” Chef Edwin Goto of Village Burger has made

Chef Edwin Goto

Chef Edwin Goto of Village Burger. Photo courtesy of Edwin Goto

local food sustainability the mantra at his Parker Ranch Center restaurant in Waimea. He does local in a big way by using ingredients that he can source “close to home” and listing them on the wall for hungry customers to see.

“I buy local beef because it’s in our backyard,” Goto, a long-time executive chef, explains. “It’s convenient and supports our local ranches.” He says pasture-raised beef produces burgers that are juicy and not greasy, so “you feel good after you eat them.”

Chef combines chuck and brisket to make his delicious burgers. For this year’s Taste, he’s assigned beef chuck roll to prepare and is thinking about doing something unique with it. “Maybe I’ll braise it and make a pot roast, or a unique meat loaf, perhaps with an Asian twist,” he muses.

Ponoholo Ranch with Chef Allen Hess of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows

Sabrina White and Pono von Holt

Sabrina White and Pono von Holt of Ponoholo Ranch. Photo courtesy of people pictured.

Ponoholo Ranch is located along Kohala Mountain Road in Kapa‘au. With 11,000 acres it is the isle’s second largest ranch with range running from the mountain to the sea. The ranch generally runs a herd of 4,500 to 5,000 animals, but due to past drought, it currently has a herd of 3,000 mother cows, according to president Sabrina White.

Principally a cow-calf operation, Ponoholo ships the bulk of its animals to be finished on the Mainland. Some are finished and marketed as pasture-raised beef through the Country Natural Beef program, meaning they are fed a combination of pasture, potatoes and other natural products with no added hormones or antibiotics. Other animals are processed through the commodity beef market.

The ranch also “keeps a couple 100 head here” for finishing on grass.

“I feel pretty good to be able to provide for our local market, as long as the local market can support it,” says White, a third-generation rancher with a degree in animal science. “It has to make economic sense to keep our cattle here.”

She explains, “Beef prices on the Mainland are currently at a record high. Hawai’i needs to keep up and raise the price. We’ll support our local retailers because they are coming around to raising prices, but eventually there’s a breaking point…and then we’ll sell to the Mainland.”

Chef Allen Hess

Chef Allen Hess of the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. Photo courtesy of Allen Hess.

Chef Allen Hess is a long-time supporter of local beef; he used it while working at Merriman’s, Alan Wong’s Hualalai Grill and Allen’s Table, and now at Mauna Lani’s CanoeHouse.

“Local beef is tasty,” he says, adding he supports efforts to continue to improve the product’s consistency in quality as he can get a good New York Strip steak and filet mignon, but has “trouble getting a good ribeye.”

During Taste, Chef Hess is assigned beef tri-tip. “I’ll beak it down (trim to get the lean meat) and make a tri tip furikake stuffed in a clear cone sushi.” Furikake is a flavorful, dry seasoning typically sprinkled on top of rice—considered the salt and pepper of Japan, it’s crunchy, salty and briny with a hint of seafood. Chef will also do a beef nacho on homemade shrimp chips.

Tix for Taste are available online or at 12 islandwide locations. Visit


A Look at CTAHR’s Mealani Research Station and 2014 Project Updates

Open since the 1960’s, the Mealani Research Station is part of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR). It’s located in Waimea, Hawai’i Island and investigates and demonstrates products for island farmers and ranchers to use. It’s where Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range began in 1996.

Current Research Projects:

  • Healthy food system products: tea; blueberries; grass-fed beef
  • Forage and pasture grasses for grass-finished livestock
  • Disease tolerance and resistance evaluation of protea, sweet and grain corn
  • Alternative crops: peaches, persimmon, surinam and bing-type cherries
  • Field education of culinary students
  • Artificial insemination/cow breeding with UH Animal Science or Pre-Veterinary students

Overview of Projects

Grass-Fed Beef—Started 1995. Evaluate on-site herd to analyze genetics of various breeds of cattle for selective breeding through artificial Hawaii Steerinsemination, utilize utlrasound to examine animals for desired meat cut characteristics (rib-eye), utilize low-stress animal handling techniques, work with meat processors to refine processing and tenderizing techniques. Goal: to produce quality grade, forage-finished beef to market within 18 to 24 months that is raised entirely on grass. Develop grass-fed beef as a niche, high-value product that’s free from hormones and antibiotics for the discriminating consumer.

Started 2011. Mealani provides Animal Science and Pre-Veterinary students attending UH Manoa and UH-Hilo hands-on experience in the breeding of the cow herd. Under the instruction of Dr. Ashley Stokes, the sessions cover beef cattle reproduction, genetics, semen handling and performing artificial insemination.

Pasture Rotation—Started 2005. Evaluation trials of intensive grazing techniques using approximately 250 head of cattle to best utilize nutritive values of forage while sustaining paddocks. Research involves daily rotation of separate groups of steers (market animals), heifers (young females) and cow/calves among paddocks so each group of animal is always digesting the same part of the grass stalk. Steers consume the top of the grass, which has the highest protein content, followed by heifers who eat the middle of the stalk and cow/calves, which eat the bottom and get the most fiber. Goal: To utilize forage effectively and to demonstrate the production of healthy, vigorous grass-finished beef on less acreage for efficient land utilization.

Forage Systems—Started 1987. Mealani has one of the Pacific basin’s largest collections of tropical forage grasses in investigation and demonstration gardens. They include pangola and kikuyu grasses and legume covers. Legumes, such as the perennial peanut and leucaena, fix nitrogen in the soil and help other forages grow. Mealani is experimenting with a new variety of grass in its forage garden—Stylo. Planted in March 2012, it’s a nitrogen-fixing forage that animals can graze. Mealani ag technician Marla Fergerstrom says it is drought-tolerant, can thrive in poor soil types and has been used as animal feed that has been “cut and fed.” Goal: To make different efficient tropical forages available for ranchers to plant in their pastures.

Bio-Control Moth Production—Started 2013. Mealani is cage-rearing Secusio extensa (Arctiidae) for fireweed suppression and control in Secusio extensa mothpastures. In the 18 months since the inception of this effort, Mealani has distributed over 2,000 caterpillar larvae.Fireweed is an invasive plant toxic to cattle and horses. In partnership with the Hawai’i Dept. of Agriculture (HDOA), Mealani raises the moth lavae until they are a half-inch or more in length for distribution to ranchers. The lavae voraciously consume the leaves, buds and bark specifically of fireweed plants, which is estimated to have taken over more than 850,000 acres of pastureland, mainly on Hawai’i Island and Maui. The statewide Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Council has agreed that bio-control is the only feasible, long-term option for control of fireweed. The Council funded the first exploratory trips by HDOA entomologists to southern Africa and Madagascar to search for an insect or disease that could safely control fireweed. The state approved release of the moth in 2010, with federal approval finalized in 2012. While this bio-control doesn’t eliminate fireweed, Fergerstrom says it makes the plant weak. After six months of production, Mealani has released thousands of lavae to ranchers. Distribution of the insect is done by UH’s Kamuela Cooperative Extension Office, 887-6183, or contact Mealani for more info, 887-6185.

Tea—Started 1999. Evaluation trials of one acre of tea containing 10 cultivars, plus 320 different seedlings for possible cultivar development. Research includes ag production techniques, harvest yield studies, quality control and product processing to remove plant bitterness and astringencies. Mealani provides local tea society growers with cuttings, educational workshops and tours of station planting. In 2013, CTAHR started offering Tea 101 workshops at Mealani to teach the steps of growing and hand-processing Hawaii-grown tea. Tea propagation workshops were added in 2014. Led by CTAHR Extension Economist Stuart Nakamoto and UH extension agent Randy Hamasaki, classes are geared to existing tea growers and those interested in growing and producing tea as a business. Future sessions are planned for homeowners, hobbyists and tea enthusiasts. For info, 887-6183. Goal: to develop unique Hawai‘i-grown teas.

Alternative Crops—Started in 2009. Mealani planted a small arboretum of fruit trees to test varieties requiring a “lesser chill” than the temperate-zoned U.S. Mainland. Different types of peach, Surinam and bing-type cherries, plus persimmon are under observation. Goal: To develop alternative fruit crops.

  • Cultivation efforts for tropical peaches were stepped up in 2014 with trials on four varieties: Tropic Snow, Tropic Sweet, Tropic Beauty and Mealani PeachTropic Prime. Trials are in progress at Mealani and other locations via cooperative volunteers. Mealani offered workshops on tree care that included pruning for better fruit set and techniques for achieving larger fruit size production. Goal: to get a marketable peach grown in Hawai’i

Blueberries—Started 2005. Evaluation trials in and out of hot house of 34 warm-clime varieties that don’t require a high chill. Research includes ag production, acclimatization to environment, resistances to disease (rust), pruning methods and timing for production in high-value market windows. Goal: to develop blueberries as an alternative crop for farmers.

Field Education of Culinary Students—Initiated in 2010. Mealani invites college and high school culinary students and instructors to learn about its research products—especially grass-fed beef. At field station visits, future chefs meet the individuals involved in raising the cattle and view production practices. The visits encourage interaction and foster understanding between future chefs and food producers. The vision of this program has several goals:

  • To educate chefs about what effort goes into the product and its benefits, so they use it.
  • To provide chefs with the opportunity to communicate with food producers so they better understand production challenges.
  • To provide food producers with the opportunity to communicate with those who use their product so they comprehend culinary expectations. It’s found that producers can do a better job if they have a relationship with the buyer.
  • Expand program so future chefs visit private ranches, food producers and food handlers.

Grass-Fed or Pasture-Raised?

What’s the difference?


In Colorado, where grazing is unavailable during the long winter, grass is farmed and harvested as hay for feeding cattle. Photos by Fern Gavelek

According to purists, grass-fed beef comes from cattle that are fed and finished on grass their entire lives. It doesn’t signify that cattle are always grazing out in the pasture as grass-fed cattle can be fed hay in a barn. However, with Hawai’i’s year-round temperate weather, it’s possible for cattle here to eat year-round out on a pasture.

Pasture-raised animals are those that are fed in their natural environment. They move among managed pastures to feed on grass and might also have their feed supplemented for a variety of reasons. Due to drought, pasture health and availability, or the desire to “finish” cattle with a higher energy/protein diet, ranchers may supplement pasture to better bring the animal to market. Supplements may include cull-crop fruit and vegetables, ag by-products like corn stalks and wheat mill run, beet pulp, soybean meal, molasses, etc.

Either way, both grass-fed beef and pasture-raised beef are marketed as free from growth hormones, antibiotics or steroids.

Pasture-Raised and Grass-Fed: Why Taste Supports Both Meat Production Methods

In year’s past, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range has touted the preparation and enjoyment of “grass-fed” beef and other locally produced agricultural products by our local chefs.

“This healthy food initiative has been an effort to support our local ranchers who finish their cattle on grass, showcase our farmers and their products, encourage our chefs to use and create dishes with grass-fed beef and local agricultural products and to educate and encourage Island residents and guests to support local agriculture,” says Jeri Moniz, rancher and event chairperson.

This year Taste will feature and support ranchers producing both grass-finished beef and pasture-raised beef as both products have entered our local beef markets and in doing so, have improved Hawai‘i’s food security.

Beef will be served at 2014 Taste that comes from cattle that is both grass-fed and pasture-raised.

Beef will be served at 2014 Taste that comes from cattle that is both grass-fed and pasture-raised.

“Most of the beef served at Taste will be grass-fed; however, Taste culinary stations will be identified as serving either grass-fed or pasture-raised beef for attendees wanting to know and both meats will be free from growth hormones, antibiotics or steroids,” she adds.
Why is Taste serving both types of beef? It’s because the success of Taste has resulted in local chefs promoting and featuring more local grass-fed beef on their menus and in turn, local beef cattle producers are keeping more beef cattle home for finishing. The increased need for local beef on the island has presented challenges that require beef production flexibility.

For example, there are few geographic locations throughout the State where year-round growth of grass is consistent and where droughts have minimal affect on grass production. There are even fewer places where it is feasible for water to be used to irrigate forage and ensure year-round grass production. As a result, producers participating in the statewide food security initiative by increasing the local finishing of beef animals for local marketing may find it is necessary to supplement their cattle on pasture. These supplements offer additional energy and protein to properly grow and finish cattle with an adequate, balance diet.

“In Hawai’i, a wheat processing by-product is a favorite of cattle producers because of its high-energy and protein content,” details Moniz. “Wheat mill run is a by-product of wheat milled on O‘ahu. It’s barged throughout the State to supplement cattle in pasture-raised programs. The ability for producers to feed a supplement like wheat mill run allows them to keep more cattle home for local production and maintain steady gains, resulting in a more consistent product marketed at a younger age, which tends to improve tenderness.”

Taste to Use Pasture-Raised Branding

Moniz says supporting both pasture-raised and grass-fed beef producers “is the right thing to do” in Hawai’i Island’s quest for food security and sustainability.

“We at Taste don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves and exclude island ranches that have to supplement their cattle on basic grass diets,” says Moniz. “With ranching, there are uncontrollable weather-related conditions that can make supplementation necessary. In addition, some ranchers choose to finish their cattle with supplemental feed to insure a consistent, final product.”

Either way, both grass-fed/grass-finished and pasture-raised beef is a good, healthy product and promotes the humane and sustainable production of our island food.

Rather than differentiating between them, Taste is collectively referring to all its beef as “pasture-raised” in all current and future branding on the website, facebook, etc.


Where to Get Pasture-Raised Beef on Hawai‘i Island

Food4By Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Retailers, Restaurants and Resorts

Retailers are listed in bold.

Info is subject to change. This list is alphabetized and divided into geographic areas for convenience. Check with resorts for specific restaurants serving pasture-raised beef. This list was compiled by contacting restaurants and retailers—however, some locations may have been inadvertently missed. To have your biz put on this list, kindly email Updated 7.2014. Mahalo!



Grandma’s Kitchen, Honoka’a-775-9943
Green Café, Honoka’ai-775-0004
JJ’s Country Market, Honoka‘a-775-7744
Tex Drive In, Honoka‘a-775-0598
The Landing, Honoka’a-775-0888


Bueno Burrito-930-6565
Café Pesto-969-6640
Don’s Grill-935-9099
Hilo Bay Café-935-4939
Island Naturals Market & Deli-935-5533
KTA Super Stores: Puainako St.- 959-9111, Keawe St.-935-3751

Food5East Hawai‘i-South

Foodland, Kea‘au-966-9316
Island Naturals Market & Deli, Pahoa-965-8322
J Hara Store, Kuristown-966-5462
Kaleo’s Restaurant, Pahoa-965-5600
Malama Market, Pahoa-965-2105
Verna’s Too, Mountain View-968-8774
Volcano Store, Volcano Village-967-7210


Hana Hou Restaurant, Na‘alehu-929-9717
Island Market, Na‘alehu-929-7527


North Kohala/Kawaihae

Big Island Brewhaus, Waimea-887-1717
Blue Dragoon, Kawaihae-882-7771
Café Pesto, Kawaihae-882-1071
Figs Mix Plate, Kapa‘au-889-1989
Hawai‘i Island Retreat, Kapa‘au-889-6336
Kahua Ranch, North Kohala-882-4646
Kohala Burger & Taco, Kawaihae Shopping Center-880-1923
M. Nakahara Store, Hawi-889-6359
Minnie’s ‘Ohana Lim Style, Kapa‘au-889-5288
Sushi Rock, Hawi-889-5900
Takata Store, Hawi-889-5261


Earl’s Waimea-887-1800
Healthways II, Parker Ranch Center-885-6775
KTA Super Store-885-8866
Paniolo Country Inn-885-4377
The Fish & The Hog Market Cafe-885-6268
Village Burger, Parker Ranch Center-885-7319

Kohala Coast/Waikoloa Village

The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai’i, Kohala Coast-885-2000
Foodland Farms, Shops at Mauna Lani-887-6101
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Ka‘upulehu-325-8000
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Kohala Coast-880-1111
Island Gourmet Market, Waikoloa Queens’ MarketPlace-886-3577
Lava Lava Beach Club, ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay, 769-5282
Merriman’s Mediterranean Café, Waikoloa Kings’ Shops-886-1700
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Kohala Coast, 882-7222
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Kohala Coast-885-6622
Napua at Mauna Lani Beach Club, Kohala Coast-885-5910
Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill, Waikoloa Kings’ Shops-886-4321
Three Fat Pigs, Waikoloa Kings’ Shops-339-7145
Tommy’s Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Shops at Mauna Lani-881-8686
Waikoloa Village Market, Waikoloa Highlands Center-883-1088


Annie’s Island Fresh Burgers, Kainaliu-324-6000
Choice Mart Super Market, Captain Cook-323-3994
Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel, Kailua-Kona, 329-2911
Daylight Mind Coffee Co., Waterfront Row, Kailua-Kona-329-7824
Harbor House, Honokohau Marina-326-4166
Holuakoa Café, Holualoa-322-2233
Humpy’s Big Island Ale House, Kailua-Kona-324-2337
Island Lava Java Bistro & Grill, Kailua-Kona-327-2161
Kona Brew Pub, Kailua-Kona-334-2739
Island Naturals Market & Deli: Kailua-Kona-326-1122, Kainaliu-930-7550
Kona Natural Foods, Crossroads Center, Kailua-Kona-329-2296
KTA Super Stores: Kailua-Kona-329-1677, Keauhou-322-231
Mahina Café, Captain Cook-323-3200
Mi’s Italian Bistro, Captain Cook-323-3880
Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Keauhou Shopping Center-333-3434
Sandy’s Drive In, Kainaliu-322-2161
Ultimate Burger, Kailua-Kona-329-2326

Taste-of-the-Hawaiian-range--2013--227To Purchase Beef in Bulk

Hawaii Beef Producers, Pa‘auilo-776-1109 or JJ’s Country Market, Honoka‘a-775-7744
Kahua Ranch, North Kohala-882-4646
Kulana Foods, Hilo-959-9144

Taste of the Hawaiian Range Tips for Purchasing Big Isle Pasture-Raised Beef

The Basics of Meat Cuts

Dry-Aged or Wet-Aged?

Purchasing Meat in Bulk

Save the Date

9.26.2014 for Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range at the Hilton Waikoloa Village


Zero Waste Effort Diverts All Discards from Landfill, Recipe Shared for Popular Honey Ginger Ale

Mahina Café offered a mini laulau complete with taro and haupia at Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Mahina Café offered a mini laulau complete with taro and haupia

The 18th annual Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range at Hilton Waikoloa Village proved to over 2100 attendees that grass fed beef tastes good and can be used to make a wide assortment of satisfying dishes. A wide variety of beef cuts—everything from tongue to tail—were featured at 35 culinary stations, plus pork, lamb, mutton and goat.

Kulana Foods offered Pipikaula Poke at Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Kulana Foods offered Pipikaula Poke

In addition, there were 36 product/educational displays. Some booths shared tastes of goodies, like pipikaula poke and PAVA smoothies, while others offered compelling displays ranging from heirloom squash to solar cooking.

A handy Graze Your Way at Taste map again guided attendees through the event. Info and recipes collected from booths could be conveniently stowed in canvas Taste bags that were given to each attendee.

Attendees raved about their fave “tastes” on Facebook, including the Honey Ginger Ale, a collaborative creation by HawCC Ag Program and the UHH Adopt a Beehive program. The recipe is here.

A 636-pound pumpkin with Cinderella at Recycle Hawaii’s booth

A 636-pound pumpkin with Cinderella at Recycle Hawaii’s booth

Another big hit at this year’s Taste was a 636-pound pumpkin that was grown using kitchen scraps composted by The Bokashi Bucket system. Complete with a costumed “Cinderella,” the display was part of Recycle Hawaii’s booth

Recycle Hawaii also helped with the event’s zero waste effort. Attendees discarded their compostable serving ware and leftovers at 15 waste stations, assisted by students at Kanu o Ka ‘Aina School.

“The kids were super great to work with and it was gratifying to see that they got what we were doing,” says Kristine Kubat, zero waste coordinator for Recycle Hawaii.

Kubat reports that “everything we recovered got recycled, redeemed or composted. Northing was taken to the landfill.”

Percentage breakdown of discards captured for zero waste effort at Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Percentage breakdown of discards captured for zero waste effort

According to Dr. Norman Arancon of the University of Hawai‘i, total waste (discards captured) was 2,852 pounds, of which 49.2% were compostables, 8.8% were HI-5, 6.1% were mixed recyclables and 35.9% were food wastes (see graph).

A slew of Hawai‘i Community College culinary students from both East and West Hawai‘i helped chefs and product booths dish out hundreds of tastes. They included 26 students and two instructors from West Hawai‘i and 61 students and five instructors from East Hawai‘i.

HawCC Culinary students at Taste of the Hawaiian Range

HawCC Culinary students helped chefs and also staffed stations presented by both the West and East Hawai‘i campuses.

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 2013 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

Click here for the Honey Ginger Ale recipe.