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Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range September 26

September 9, 2014, 9:01 AM HST
* Updated September 8, 12:28 PM
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Fresh Hawai’i Island food and the people who produce it are the stars of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range on Friday, Sept. 26 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

This year’s annual event that promotes agricultural sustainability is from 5-8 p.m., and now offers an extra hour of “grazing” for patrons.

Tasty culinary stations, food producer booths and agricultural-themed displays will be featured both inside the Hilton’s recently renovated ballroom and outside on the scenic Lagoon Lanai.

Pre-sale tickets are available at a dozen islandwide locations and online for $45 through Sept. 25.  Tickets will also be sold for $60 on event day.

New this year, seven of the 30 culinary stations will showcase a chef using local products from a specific rancher and farmer on the Lagoon Lanai. These stations will identify those who contributed to the dish as well as the specific cut of meat used.

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Participating ranchers and farmers are also invited to talk story with attendees at each station. Event chair Jeri Moniz says the purpose for the pairings “is to foster more communication between food producers and chefs,” one of the event’s goals.

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Each chef has been tasked with preparing 100 pounds of a specific cut of pasture-raised beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar.

The result? A festive adventure of “tongue to tail” tasting experiences. A press release issued on behalf of the event’s organizers stated that the pasture-raised beef at the festival will be sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones.

In addition to “grazing” on prepared top round or Rocky Mountain Oysters (aka bull’s testicles), attendees can taste samples at local food product booths and view educational displays on sustainability and agriculture.

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Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual “Pasture-Raised Beef Cooking 101” culinary demonstration.

This year’s guest presenter is Peter Abarcar Jr, executive chef of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, who is preparing Chinese Style Oxtail with Radish and Salt Fish Fried Rice plus Grass-Fed Chuck Steak Pipikaula with “Killachurri” Sauce. The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10; tickets are available online or at the door.

Also open to the public is a free 1:30 p.m. seminar, “A Primer on Local Beef” by local livestock extension agent and long-time researcher, Glen Fukumoto. “A Primer on Local Beef” will delve into the history of the beef industry in Hawai‘i and look at the product’s supply and demand issues. Fukumoto will also examine meat quality for the grass-finished market through the years, based on his 30 years of research.

Hawai‘i residents may take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 26, including two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Free parking and shuttle service is available from ‘Anaeho‘omalu Bay from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m. For general event information, call 969-8228.

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