Saturday, May 21, 2022 |
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PO‘IPU — Newness was just one facet of the Flavors of Kukui‘ula, which opened to a full house of shoppers Wednesday afternoon at The Shops at Kukui‘ula.
“We have just under 500 parking spaces and everything was filled,” said Veronica Lovesy, the Kukui‘ula senior marketing manager. “We have an additional unpaved lot and that, too, was filled with cars.”
Parking sprawled along Lawa‘i Road, creeping toward Prince Kuhio Park as shoppers used the sidewalks to access the event, which combined the popular weekly Kaua‘i Culinary Market with invitations for the shopping center’s tenants to join the market with their own unique Kaua‘i-grown specials.
“We have the Andrade girls who brought out their 100 percent natural Kaua‘i beef and some of the pieces were sold out in the first 10 minutes of the market opening,” said Melissa McFerrin, the Kaua‘i County Farm Bureau event coordinator who partners with Kukui‘ula to host the weekly farmers market. “The girls wanted to see what the reception to their Kaua‘i beef was going to be and will be part of the weekly Wednesday offerings.”
Stacie Chiba-Miguel, the Kukui‘ula assistant real estate manager, was overjoyed at the response to the event designed to integrate the offerings of the shopping center’s tenants to the appeal and traffic of the weekly market.
“We wanted to add more protein offering to the weekly market,” Chiba-Miguel said. “This is so unreal. We’re going to explore more possibilities, including fresh pork, eggs and poultry.”
Shoppers threaded their way among the throngs of people who browsed through the wide array of offerings including artwork, publications and food, many of the restaurants offering free, if not modestly-priced, portions for eager shoppers.
Charlene Steuri of the Kauaibots, a high-school aged robotics team housed at Island School, used the opportunity to talk about the program while soliciting orders for the Thunder Chicken fundraising coffee, which was also specially packaged for Valentine’s Day giving.
“This year, the Kauaibots was able to get students from the Kawaikini Charter School to participate so the program has now grown to include five different high schools competing as a single team,” Steuri said. “We’re getting down to just a couple of more days to complete our robot for this year’s competition, which will be held at the University of Hawai‘i.”
Thunder Chicken is roasted for the Kauaibots by Lappert’s and was outside its location.
Rick Lovesy of Uncle’s Shave Ice was unassuming in the introduction of his new Uncle’s Shave Snow, which was inspired by a popular Taiwanese treat.
“I believe we’re the only place on Kaua‘i which has this right now,” Lovesy said.
“There’re two places on O‘ahu and several places where it’s appeared on the Mainland, but this is the first on Kaua‘i.”
Utilizing syrup flavors he creates, the syrup is mixed with milk and frozen into the ice before being shaved, the result being a ribbon-like band of “snow,” instead of the ice crystals.
“It’s fun to watch the people discover this,” said Lovesy.
“The local kids kind of ‘discover’ it, and the next thing you know, it’s all over the social media with other kids coming in to ask about it.”
John Rivera of The Greenstone Project unleashed his full musical entourage with the popular group to carry the crowd through the initial opening.
The Dolphin, recently celebrating its opening at The Shops at Kukui‘ula, offered up samples of its spicy poke to eager patrons.
“We have this in spicy, sesame and limu,” said Kalani Barretto between spiking chunks with toothpicks and distributing them. “We have a huge fish market inside for more.”
At the upper end of the market, activity was just as brisk, the Living Foods clerk looking over what was left of her breads and baked goods.
“It’s always busy,” she said. “You take it out, especially the breads, and it’s gone, almost instantly.”
Helen Lacono, whose homemade soups are only available at the weekly Kaua‘i Culinary Market, was also packing up early.
“We brought double of what we normally bring, but it’s all gone,” she said. “If you can find a cup, a bowl or something, I can sell you whatever I have left. We already ran out of bowls.”
The weekly Kaua‘i Culinary Market is held each Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at The Shops at Kukui‘ula. Chiba-Miguel said they will assess the results of the Flavors of Kukui‘ula to see if they can incorporate it into future markets.
• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.
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