Most of us are familiar with local apple bananas and the ubiquitous Central American Chiquita. Few of us know about or have eaten a Hawaiian banana or enjoyed bananas in a savory dish. The Waimea Valley Banana Festival is a fun exploration of Hawaiian banana: its botanical and culinary history, as well as how to successfully grow and use bananas.
Banana varieties brought as canoe plants to Hawaiʻi by Polynesian voyagers include many varieties that have disappeared or are very difficult to find. These rare banana varieties include Iholenas, Maolis, Popoulus, and Fei bananas. In particular, Iholena and Maoli plants have been found growing in our forests, believed to have been planted by ancient Hawaiians and/or recently by workers building irrigation canals. Effort has been underway to collect and preserve these unique varieties.
The free Banana Festival was created to expand our notions of what a banana is and what it can become in our diet. Noted island chefs will be on hand to provide samples and recipes for banana dishes. Banana-based lunches and desserts will be available for purchase. There will be opportunities to taste different kinds of honey, learn about pollinators at the Hanai Hives booth, find out how to support the Hawai’i Tropical Fruit Growers—and what they offer to both farmers and backyard fruit fans.
2022 Mai‘a ‘Ho‘olaule‘a (Banana Festival) at Waimea Valley
Hawai‘i Banana Source, Slow Food Oahu, and Hawai’i SEED, with partner Hi’ipa, are hosts for the free inaugural Mai‘a ‘Ho‘olaule‘a/Banana Fest.
- Where: Waimea Valley 59-864 Kamehameha Highway Haleiwa, HI 96712
- When: Sun, November 13, 2022, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM HST
- Admission: FREE
Check out the list below detailing some of the other fun activities available during this one-day banana festival at Waimea Valley.
Highlights of the Mai‘a ‘Ho‘olaule‘a (Banana Festival)
- 12:00 pm, Gabe Sachter-Smith of Hawai’i Banana Source will give a talk and slideshow presentation on best-growing practices and botanical & culinary history.
- 2:00 pm, Ken Love, Executive Director of Hawai’i Tropical Fruit Growers, will speak on banana preservation and cookery. He will also be available to answer any questions on the cultivation and use of tropical fruits.
- Dye your a t-shirt with banana stalks, stems, and flowers. Babs Miyano-Young will supervise several booths and provide the materials necessary for dyeing.
- Mahina and Cheryl Pukahi will show off their talents as lauhala weavers, using black banana fibers to highlight their work. Wesley Sen will demonstrate Kapa making using banana dyes.
- Organic cotton shirts sporting a beautiful botanical illustrationwill be for sale
- The ultimate guide to all things banana is Angela Kepler’s “The World of Bananas in Hawai’i: Then and Now”. This hard-to-find book will entertain and educate you about Mai’a history, best gardening practices, pests identification, and how best to prepare, cook and eat bananas. A few copies will be available for $80, $36 less than its Amazon price.
- Gabe Sachter-Smith of Hawai’i Banana Source, Pu’u o Hoku Ranch, Ho’okua’aina, and other growers and farms will provide plants and fruits for sale. Some unusual types will be available, including a few Hawaiian mai’a. Samples will be offered so that attendees can learn about the flavors and features of numerous varieties of bananas.
More info: Mai‘a ‘Ho‘olaule‘a / Banana Festival 2022 Tickets, Sun, Nov 13, 2022 at 11:00 AM | Eventbrite
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Oʻahu: Waimea Valley (Haleʻiwa)
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleʻiwa, HI 96712