LIHUE — George Mukai said his friends were surprised when they came to the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair Thursday at the Vidinha Stadium parking lot.
“You know, they all came to see the kalo,” Mukai said. “This year, I still had the kalo, but look at the ginger root. It is unbelievable. It got a blue ribbon, too.”
Mukai finished second in the Grove Farm, Hawaii Dairy Farms Ulupono initiative Fruit and Vegetable Show judging with 511 points.
The overall winner went to the Wooton Family Farm with 863 points, led by Bob and Louisa Wooton who traditionally wait until the final minutes of the submission period to bring in their plethora of farm produce.
Zongping Huang, a regular vendor at the island’s farmers market, finished with 408 points, followed by Lin Farm at 224 points and Kalaheo grower Sandra Henmi collecting 179 points. Huang also reaped Best in Show honors for her broccoli.
“They are such nice people,” said Mary Pigao, representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture station. “They work really hard, and when you shop at their table, they’re really nice. They take care of the land — no matter how big or small — they care for the land so they always get the most from whatever plot they farm. Hannah has a degree in agriculture, and when they started she was working as a waitress for several restaurants. When she saw what was coming in for the restaurant use, she told herself, ‘I can grow that.’ That’s how they started.”
Mukai also topped the special contest which featured eggplant, followed in that judging by Harry Yamamoto taking second and third places.
“Look at those eggplants,” said Pat Fallbeck of the University of Hawaii Master Gardener program. “Those are seeds they got from us. They’re beautiful. I’m so proud the seeds came from the Master Gardeners.”
Luke de la Pena submitted peppers to take the youth judging, a new category for this year’s fair.
Estelle and Raymond Furuiki were awarded Best in Show honors in the anthurium judging.
Deedee Gorospe was Best in Show in the Garden Island Orchid Society judging.
Gates to the Kauai Country Farm Bureau Fair open at noon today and tomorrow, and the fair continues through Sunday night.
The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative Keiki Talent Show takes the stage from 2 p.m. today, followed by the 4th annual HMSA Happy Healthy Keiki parade at 4:30 p.m., and the 4H Beef Steer, Lamb, Hog and Goat auction at 6:30 p.m.
The Spectrum Super Saturday Blackout Bingo is in the Hawaiian Airlines entertainment tent from 7 p.m., followed by Willie K closing the night from 8 p.m.