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Maui festival offers tasty lessons in agriculture

Maui festival offers tasty lessons in agriculture
Isaac Bancaco, executive chef at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, was among the chefs participating in a timed cooking competition at the 2014 Maui County Agricultural Festival. This year's festival is April 4. (Steve Brinkman Photography)

A working farm is the classroom and tasty morsels are the textbooks for an upcoming lesson on the importance of farming to Maui's economy.

Learning -- but in a fun way -- is at the core of the April 4 Maui County Agricultural Festival in Waikapu.

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From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., guests can visit the stalls at Maui Tropical Plantation, a combination working farm and tourist attraction.

Year round, visitors can take tram rides through fields of sugar cane and pineapple. During the festival vendors will be selling freshly made foods using locally sourced ingredients, many of which will be for sale at a farmers market. Farm animals will be on display, and barnyard games are there for entertaining kids.

Admission to the grounds is $3 for adults. Visitors 17 and younger are admitted free.

There's an additional charge for the festival's showcase event, the Grand Taste.

From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., 12 of Maui's top chefs will prepare small bites for participants to sample. Six cooking stations will feature protein as the key ingredient while the other half-dozen will spotlight locally grown veggies. There will be opportunities to interact with the chefs as well as those who grow and raise food.

Grand Taste tickets cost $30 if purchased online. Otherwise, they're $40 at the event.

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