Sunday festival celebrates breadfruit

The first festival on Kauai to celebrate ulu (breadfruit) is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Southshore Visitors Center in Poipu.

The event — which also spotlights kalo (taro) — features cooking, cultural and flour-making demonstrations and presentations by experts from Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Big Island. Breadfruit trees, cookbook sales, music and keiki activities are all part of the program.

“We’re bringing the festival to Kauai this year because this is the tenth anniversary of the Breadfruit Institute,” said institute director Diane Ragone.

Ragone said participants can expect a “fun, great day,” full of opportunities to watch, learn and participate.

“It is a truly special event,” she said.

Breadfruit- and taro-inspired dishes will be available for purchase, and celebrity chef Sam Choy will join other experts on cooking with ulu.

“Sam is just a true breadfruit enthusiast,” Ragone said.

Hand-on demonstrations include poi- and kapa-making, and coconut plate weaving.

NTBG staff and volunteers will demonstrate a system of processing ulu into flour using a manual shredder, solar drier and pedal-powered grinder. Festival attendees are invited to participate.

Admission is free and event parking will be off the western bypass road (Ala Kalanikaumaka) near the roundabout, with a free shuttle to the event venue starting at 8:30 a.m.

Ulu trees, including three varieties never before available in Hawaii, will be available for purchase, as well as cookbooks featuring the important food crop. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Music will be provided by Paul Togioka, Rhoda Libre and Mahea Yamashita.

The event is presented by Hooulu ka Ulu — Revitalizing Breadfruit, a project of the Breadfruit Institute of the nonprofit NTBG and the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network.

The festival is made possible through grants from the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

No coolers or beach chairs will be accommodated. This is a family-friendly alcohol-and-drug-free event.

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