Added-Value Workshop for Farmers
The event was called “Adding Value and Profit to your Farm Operation”. Reggie Knox and Eric Winder were able to create this workshop because of a grant they received at California FarmLink from the Education Division of the Risk Management agency of the USDA. Reggie had owned an 11 acre organic farm for four years. He is passionate about helping farmers. They are knowledgable of succession planting, leases and purchases and creative financing for farmers.
On arrival we were met by Pomai Weigert and Harrison. We split into two groups for the walking tour.
Lani Weigert gave a wonderful presentation about how they grew the business and how they received a Value-added Grant.
We all proceed to Naalae Road for the Watanabe Vegetable Processing tour.
Heidi told the story of their farm where they provide fresh cut fruits and vegetables for local hotels schools and other markets. They grow lettuces, leeks, cabbage and more for over 28 years on this land in Kula.
After the tours, everyone headed back to meet Market Fresh Bistro owners Chef Justin Pardo, his sister Olivia Coletti and David Magenheim. Excellent local food was being prepared while we listened to presentations by Ken Love of Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers about jams, jellies, sauces, the basics of navigating start-up and regulations, packaging ideas, product ideas and more. Vincent Mina showed us the story of his green sprouts operations from conception to the present. Susan Wyche, University of Hawaii spoke of the millions of dollars she was able to obtain for Maui Community College through her Grant writing in the last 8 months and offered to assist others in the process. Lynn Alborino Food and Drug Inspector; Layne Belen Sanitation Inspector Hawaii Dept. of Health gave helpful information on Food Safety.
Eric wrapped it up with a slide show about creative financing strategies and Grants. We had some questions and then it was time for Justin to present the food. I was starving… At 5:30 PM Justin gave a short but passionate talk about why he insists on using local ingredients and supporting the farmers on our island. He told the story of how he got started in New York City and did all the shopping at farmer’s markets. He was so appreciative of the farmers that drove two hours from the country to deliver their beautiful food to the city for sale to chefs and the public. At Market Fresh Bistro they are nearly 85-95% local. That is terriffic!
Sorry I didn’t get pictures of the lovely Olivia, David and Justin…