In the loop

When Joy Webster’s not busy in her Makawao studio creating purses and other items out of recycled materials, she can be found encouraging others around Maui to go green.

She organized Saturday’s “Muc ‘n’ Stuff” spring fair and rummage sale at Makawao Union Church, where entries for the third annual “Chair-ish Maui” recycled art contest were turned in for judging.

Three years ago, Webster and others from the church discovered dozens of rusty old folding chairs stored under the community hall. The first inclination was to haul them to the landfill, but Webster wouldn’t have it. She was determined to find a way to make some money out of the chairs for the church, and the art contest was born.

Since February, participants have been picking up chairs to decorate for an entry fee of $15. The winners of this year’s contest will be announced April 5, and the chairs will be on display at the church until April 19.

Webster said the church has gone through all the old chairs, so unless more pop up, this will likely be the last year for the contest.

Also coming up soon is the 13th annual Art of Trash exhibit at Maui Mall. Webster volunteers to manage submissions on receiving day, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The exhibit, presented by Malama Maui Nui and SharingAloha, will run April 11 through May 2 and will feature original works by Maui County residents made solely from repurposed materials.

The exhibition is meant to demonstrate how items can be repurposed for fun, for art and for the sake of the environment. Art of Trash founder Ira Ono will serve as juror.

The entry fee is $15 per piece, with no limit on the number of pieces each artist may enter. Works that include natural materials, food or water features will not be accepted. Due to the size of this year’s gallery space, smaller pieces are preferred.

In past years, Webster has submitted entries for the exhibit, and has also created and modeled outfits for the opening-night Maui Trashion Show. The show is for fashionistas who want to participate by entering garments made from reused materials and is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 10 at Center Stage. The exhibit will be open that night from 7 to 9 p.m., with regular hours to follow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For entry forms and information on the exhibit and fashion show, call event coordinator Wilma Nakamura at 877-2524 or email wilma@sharingalohamaui.org.

In the loop

The recent Taste of School Gardens at Hotel Wailea raised $54,000 for the Maui Grow Some Good program, which serves more than 3,000 students in 12 schools on the island.

“More than 450 people supported the event,” says Grow Some Good co-founder Kirk Surry. “We’re looking forward to digging into another year of supporting community food and healthy keiki programs on Maui. We still have more funds to raise for our 2015-16 school year, so stay tuned for more opportunities to help us grow our programs.”

For more than 71 years, Hana Ranch has been a staple in East Maui. In early 2014, it was purchased by Hana Ranch Stewards, which is committed to organic, sustainable farming and ranching. It grows a variety of fresh, locally grown produce in its verdant fields and tends a growing herd of cattle.

Now you can get a taste of the farm. That’s because the recently opened Hana Ranch Farm Stand sells produce to both locals and visitors on the scenic 52-mile Hana Highway.

Just drive past Hasegawa Store in Hana town center and the farm stand is less than a mile on the mauka side of the highway. Hana born-and-raised Selmah Kaiwi and Maile Kaiwi run the stand.

Bring your eco-friendly shopping bags and load up on bananas, lettuces, lemons, sweet potatoes, parsley and taro, or “kalo,” a traditional cultural staple that came here via canoe.

To ensure that the produce offered is of the highest quality, Hana Ranch recently received California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) organic certification, meaning all produce is grown by standards set by the USDA National Organic Program.

Hana Ranch will be part of the Maui County Ag Festival on April 4. Bring your eco-friendly shopping bag.

Whole Foods Market Maui continues to celebrate “Beauty Week” until Tuesday. According to Whole Body coordinator Maren Giuliano, “Ingredients trending are turmeric, kombucha and watercress as well as mongongo oil.”

Cynthia Nazario-Leary, a doctorate in Natural Resources and Environmental Management, has been named the new urban horticulturist for the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources program. She has basically taken over as interim director for the Master Gardeners program, replacing Lorraine Brooks.

Nazario-Leary has been a leader in the natural resource management in Hawaii for the past 14 years and will be available for a meet and greet at UH Maui College from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday.

Nazario-Leary and her team of Master Gardeners will appear in the Maui ag fest’s Educational Tent as part of Cooperative Extension Service.

“We’ll have some plants for sale. UH seeds for sale. And we’ll have a help desk or a plant doctor kind of thing,” says Nazario-Leary. “We can help people with the resources that we have, like printed material or links. We have signup sheets for people who are interested in becoming Master Gardeners and in our workshops.”

The UH Master Gardener Program is a a weekly class held each semester. About 40 candidates are chosen from a large pool of applicants, and they must put in at least 50 hours of community service upon completion.

Each week, doctoral and other experts speak on topics such as plant pathology, basic botany, pesticide safety, soil nutrition, and tropical fruits and plants.

For more information, call 244-3242, Ext. 228; or visit www.mauimg@ctahr.hawaii.edu.

By the way, Maui Master Gardeners will also appear at the Haiku Ho’olaule’a and Flower Festival on April 25, manning a booth.

Lovers of ag fests should also mark their calendars for the East Maui Taro Festival on April 25. Some people like to even enjoy the Haiku fest first and then make the scenic drive to Hana.

Under the auspices of the Maui County Farm Bureau, Kokua Ag presented a talk Friday in the Nahele Room of the Kahili Golf Clubhouse in Waikapu.

Speakers included Warren Watanabe, bureau executive director, who opened about Hawaii issues and technology solutions; Harold Keyser, a retired soil microbiologist, whose topic was foundation for global biotech solutions; and Monsanto’s Mark Edge of the Water Efficient Maize for Africa partnership, who talked about Monsanto’s and Maui’s connection to feeding the world.

Taste of Aloha will be a one day event from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday at Lahaina Civic Center Amphitheater with food trucks, food booths, keiki corner, live music and comedy. It will raise funds for the Lahainaluna High School boarding department.

In the loop

Native Parisian and world-famous artist Guy Buffet is back on Maui, his former home of 25 years, for two more showings at Lahaina Galleries locations.

He’ll appear from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Lahaina Galleries upstairs in The Shops at Wailea and during the same hours Friday at the original gallery on Front Street in Lahaina.

Now residing in Napa Valley, Buffet is renowned for whimsical paintings of wine, waiters, chefs and sommeliers. He’s been official artist for Perrier-Jouet champagne house and he’s doing a special art project for Silver Oak winery in Napa as well as another for Alexandria Nicole in the state of Washington.

For his Maui shows, he’ll feature from 10 to 20 new paintings from the South of France and Spain. The public is invited to stop by, peruse his artworks and sip a little wine. Call 228-2006.

Want to indulge in bubbly of the highest order? The Veuve Clicquot Dinner is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Wailea.

The feast will include five courses by Chef Dan Bader, a fun cocktail and Veuve champagne with each course.

Begin with a Grand Marnier Smash and salmon tartare at the cocktail reception. Other courses are chilled jumbo shrimp, honeycrsip apple and haricot vert in Dijon vinaigrette; followed by lobster bisque en croute; filet mignon with black-truffle and foie-gras butter; and pear-and-almond tart for dessert.

Also at Ruth’s Chris in Wailea as well as in the Outlets of Maui mall in Lahaina, you will receive 25 percent off bottles on Wine Wednesdays. Call 874-8880.

Mama’s Fish House in Kuau can pride itself on being the only restaurant here that pours Pride Mountain Vineyards reserve wines. According to Tami Joslin, Mama’s general manager, the 235-acre estate is the only winery that straddles both Sonoma and Napa counties.

Floyd and Doris Christenson founded and still own Mama’s, and Floyd’s cousin Carolyn Christenson is the proprietor of Pride Mountain Vineyards. Thus Floyd gets the “good stuff.”

With several locations on Maui from Kahului to Lahaina, Tamura’s Fine Wine & Liquors announces Tessarossa Artisan Chardonnay 2012 is bottled exclusively for the franchise. This vibrant wine boasts citrus pillowed by honey and butterscotch with subtle French oak tones and a crisp acidic backbone. Rich yet balanced, says the manager.

Also bottled exclusively for Tamura’s, Tessarossa Artisan Pinot Noir 2012 is silky smooth, with vibrant and juicy fruit supported by solid acidity and a finish of soft inviting tannin.

In case you haven’t heard, the world’s most expensive cheese slicer was stolen recently from inside Amsterdam Cheese Museum. Designed by Boska Holland and Rodrigo Otazu of Argentina, this big, diamond-encrusted cheese slicer is worth $28,000.

First, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o’s pearl dress was ripped off, then Travis Kvapils Sprint Cup car – and now this! Cheese, Louise, what’s next!?

Otazu is an international designer known for extravagant jewelry designs, creating pieces for well-known stars like Britney Spears and Madonna. The slicer is studded with 220 diamonds.

Anyone who offers tips that lead to the retrieval of the cheese slicer will receive a gift basket and the world’s largest fondue set – a Mr. Big Fondue! For more details, visit www.boska.com/usa.

“Wine Enthusiast” has crowned the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations of 2015 in its annual Travel Issue. The coveted list, includes where to dine, when to go, and of course, where to taste. They are Piedmont, Italy; Finger Lakes, N.Y.; Hawkes Bay, New Zealand; Rhone Valley, France; Istria, Croatia; Orlando, Fla.; Galicia, Spain; Okanagan, Canada; Loire Valley, France; and Mendocino, Calif.

In the loop

The National Pork Board just released its latest Hawaii food trends factoids. Did you know that the Mainland favors maple and pork pairings, while Hawaii prefers to “go for the garlic?”

The NPB also stated that the Hawaiian palate is inspired by Asian cuisine – with sweet, spicy and hot flavors ranking at the top for flavor.

Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are a popular meal in the islands, according to Hawaiian social chatter.

The Sterling Rice Group’s 2015 report says that Filipino food is the No. 1 trend in America. The Filipino-American population has grown to over 3.4 million and is the 4th largest immigrant group in the U.S. behind Mexico, China and India according to the U.S. census.

From 3 to 8 p.m. today, Chef Sheldon Simeon, who is of Filipino heritage, will cook his specialties at the first anniversary party at MiGRANT in the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

“Come My House, Celebrate!” is his catch phrase, and you may savor specials and happy-hour pricing all day. Willie K and Yoza will perform.

“Check out the oyster shooters, Tocino sweet pork, Korean fried chicken, roasted ahi belly, pancit noodles and Ay Kudesh! spicy garlic noodles, says the restaurant’s manager Melanie Wicker.

Ag in the Classroom gathered together 200 2nd graders on Thursday and 500 on Friday in an nice outdoor setting under six different tents at Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu, and kids were also treated to a tram ride around the scenic agricultural property.

The field trip is the second part of the Ag in the Classroom program. The first part included an in-class lesson plan called “Where Would We Be Without Seeds” presented by Maui County Farm Bureau representatives.

Part two last week featured presenters providing hands-on activities and demos by HC&S, Haleakala Ranch, Maui Electric Co., Maui Tropical Plantation, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources program, Monsanto Hawaii and partners Kula Country Farm and Maui Gold Pineapple.

Kaui Awai-Dickson of Maui Electric did cooking demos and offered tastes to the kids, representatives of Monsanto Hawaii passed out super-sweet corn plants and flashlights, and Haleakala Ranch’s Greg Friel, who does animal husbandry and is the operations manager, showed off lambs and sheep to excited students from Princess Nahienaena.

Grand Taste 2015 – “A Bite of Maui” will be presented in partnership with Slow Food Maui from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. April 4 at Maui Tropical Plantation. It’s the event within an event as part of the popular Ag Fest Maui.

Maui chefs pair with Maui farmers and ranchers to create localicious bites at this year’s Grand Taste. Guests will enjoy a mouthful of local, fresh and flavorful bites made by 12 Maui chefs. Each of the 12 farmer and chef stations features six bites with a local protein as a main ingredient and six bites with a locally grown fruit or vegetable.

The event is for those who crave dishes inspired by local ingredients grown as well as raised by Maui farmers and ranchers, and prepared by a dozen of the island’s top locavore chefs. Cost of Grand Taste is $30 in advance and $40 at the event. For more details or tickets, you may visit www.mauicountyfarmbureau.org.

The next Chef Bloc is still scheduled for Saturday at Andaz Maui in Wailea and will involve George Gomes Jr. of 5 Palms and Riko Bartolome of Montage Kapalua Bay in partnership with the Maui Brewing Co. The hotel’s newly named Executive Chef Isaac Bancaco will lead the charge. For more details, call 879-1234.

In the loop

Today through the end of March, 126 restaurants statewide will participate in the popular, second annual Localicious Hawaii campaign.

The Hawai’i Agricultural Foundation is behind this program that raises the public awareness of island restaurants that are committed to sustaining local agriculture. It also raises money for ag education in the local schools.

Here’s how it works:

Just bring your appetites to restaurants that are participating. The servers will ask you if you’d like to order a Localicious dish that is made with a locally grown, caught or raised product.

Each time the dish is ordered, restaurants will donate $1 to the Hawaii Agricultural Foundation’s Veggie “U” or “university” educational program.

The dishes will be easy to spot, even if the server forgets to tell you about it. All are identified on menus with a Localicious sticker or logo.

The program is growing as fast as the Maui coffee crop. Last year, 58 restaurants participated and raised $31,000 for 65, 4th grade public school classes using the 25-lesson Veggie U curriculum that is a combination of science, health, language arts and math and an engaging educational experience for students.

As part of the campaign, the Hawai’i Agricultural Foundation is teaming with Hawaii Gas to sponsor a new art and essay contest for students in grades K through 6 called “My Favorite Dish and Where it Comes From.”

Designed to expose young school kids to where their food is grown, the contest has an art contest for students in grades K to 3 and an art and essay contest for students in grades 4 to 6.

Winners from each category will receive a class party, a celebrity chef appearance and an Apple iPad mini. Entry forms and rules are available at www.localicioushawaii.com/agcontest.

Participating Maui restaurants include Hula Grill Kaanapali, Black Rock Kitchen & Bar, Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, Honu Seafood & Pizza, Japengo Maui, Ka’ana Kitchen, Ko, Lahaina Grill, Leilani’s on the Beach, Mala Ocean Tavern, Migrant, Pailolo Bar & Grill, Pi Artisan Pizzeria, Pulehu, Roy’s Kaanapali, Star Noodle, Sugar Cane Maui, Teppan-Yaki Dan and Zippy’s.

Last year, the Hawaii State Legislature declared March to be Localicious Hawai’i month in support of the program.

The Localicious campaign will coincide with National Agricultural Day, which will be celebrated March 18. For more details, visit www.hawaiiagfoundation.org.