Learn the basics of home food preservation and how to grow mushrooms at educational presentations. Find out whom to call when unwanted bees are buzzing in your “belfry” and browse local, value added products.
Keiki can “milk” a replica of a Holstein cow, watch just-hatched chicks, bale hay with pint-size tools, plant a seed to take home and get up close and personal with farm animals.
The free, daytime Taste of the Hawaiian Range Agriculture Festival has something for everyone. All the fun is outdoors under the big tops at the YMCA Minuke Ole Park behind Parker Ranch Center in Waimea. Time is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7.
Educational presenter and exhibitor Zach Mermel of Ola Design Group hopes to encourage attendees to “explore the fascinating world of fungi” with how-to info for cultivating mushrooms in your home and garden.
“The process is pretty straightforward,” notes Mermel, a Big Isle native with a master’s degree in ecological design. “Like any organism, mushrooms need to be given the proper balance of food, water and sunlight in order to flourish.”
Mermel says the benefits of growing your own shrooms, rather than buying them at the store, is that “homegrown” mushrooms taste better. “Plus, you get the satisfaction of an edible science experiment!” he adds.
“Mushroom Cultivation FUNdamentals” is 10:30 a.m. in the Presentation Tent and kicks off the day’s schedule of agricultural and culinary-themed presentations with Q & As. Other topics include grafting at 11:10 a.m., hydroponics at 11:50 a.m., rat lungworm and other pests at 12:30 p.m. and food preservation at 1:10 p.m. More details on the presentation list.
In addition, Mermel will have a display on mushroom cultivation in the big exhibit tent. The lineup of exhibitors is being finalized.
Bee Happy with Sweet Service
Ho‘ola, which is headquartered in Hawi, will be selling different honey varietals and sharing info on its islandwide bee rescue/removal service. Attendees will be able to view an on-site observation hive of live bees and sample honey.
“We relocated our first colony of honey bees from a water meter box near our home in 2016, and have since grown our Kohala apiary to 70-plus hives rescued from across the island,” says Kailin Kim, of Ho‘ola.
The family operation offers swarm catching and live structural removal services to relocate and subsequently monitor the health of hives. The Hoʻōla Honey Bee Relocation Project is a fiscally sponsored project of the North Kohala Community Resource Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Ho‘ola, which means “to save, to heal, to thrive,” sustainably harvests honey from its apiary and shares the importance of bees though the sale of honey and outreach activities in schools and the community.
“Whether it’s by tasting fresh honey comb straight out of the hive, trying a natural product like deodorant or sunscreen made with beeswax, or peeking in on thousands of honey bees in an observation hive, our hope is by sharing these life experiences, we can also share our love and passion for bees and open up a dialogue to talk about their importance,” shares Kim. “If we want to save our island’s bees and the future of our food systems in Hawaiʻi, we have to find new ways to work together to protect our pollinators.”
The Taste Ag Festival precedes the Taste of the Hawaiian Range gala, 5:30-7:30 p.m. September 7 at the adjacent Old Kahilu Town Hall. Presale gala tickets for $50 will be available during the ag fest and are already for sale at Parker Ranch Store and online at www.tasteofthehawaiianrange.com. Tix at the door are $60, if available; attendance is limited to 500. Find details on the gala, including the lineup of participating restaurants.