Showcase of Kauai

LIHUE — Hannah Huang, co-owner of Kauai Glory Farm, wanted more exposure for her produce than she gets from local farmer’s markets.

A first time vendor at the Kauai Made and Kauai Grown trade show, Huang was excited for the opportunity to increase her farm’s exposure to the public.

“This is a good way for us to get in touch with the public, with restaurants, with wholesale stores and even family,” Huang said. “We’re happy to see everybody come here. This is our first time (at a trade show) and we wanted to see more than just family people; we wanted to meet store owners, restaurants, managers and chefs.”

Huang was one of 17 vendors who came out to the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue on Tuesday afternoon, hoping to inspire others to participate in trade shows down the road.

“This is a good opportunity,” Huang said. “I think products that are Kauai made, it’s not only for just ourselves. Being local grown can promote agriculture and that’s what we need. We’re very short on farmers so we came to this to get more people interested in joining us.”

Huang wasn’t alone in wanting more farmers and vendors to come to trade shows. That was what Melissia Sugai, coordinator for Kauai Made and Economic Development Specialist for the Office of Economic Development, wanted to see.

“Our goal is to get people registered and signed up for both programs so that they can be apart of something like this,” Sugai said. “We do farm inspections to make sure that what they are selling here is from their farm so that, for us, it certifies that it’s locally grown.”

Sugai put together the trade show for local farmers and was pleased to see an improvement in the show’s second year collaborating with Kauai Grown.

“They’re local products, local farmers and so our goal is to be able to take these people and promote them out into our hotels, restaurants and retail stores not only on Kauai, but throughout the state as well,” Sugai said.

While there wasn’t a large crowd lining up at the door to enter the center, Sugai was still pleased to see the show getting local recognition.

“For the Kauai Made program, we’ve been in existence with them for 10 years, so we’ve had this trade show and so now we want to incorporate the farmer’s side of it,” she said. “A lot of our returning customers look forward to new vendors out here now with the farmers. The hotels are coming out now and they want to use local products: the produce, the vegetables, the fruits.”

Not only were managers from stores and chefs from restaurants in attendance, but people passing by the convention hall were welcomed into the center with live music and various products to look at and buy.

Paula Schultz, a Kauai resident for the past 25 years, said: “I like that there are healthy choices here and I think, also, that we’re supporting community vendors while keeping money on Kauai.”

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