Coffee, views highlight Kaanapali Fresh luncheon
BY CHRISTIE WILSON / firstname.lastname@example.org
The message was supposed to be about gourmet coffee and other grown-on-Maui products, but it was hard to think about anything but the grand views and luxurious island-style living when the Kaanapali Fresh Culinary Experience stopped by the home of Roger and Joyce Amadon for lunch on Saturday, Aug. 31.
The home in the Kaanapali Coffee Farms agricultural subdivision featured an infinity pool and a view of the Pacific Ocean and neighboring Lanai and Molokai, as well as rolling fields of green coffee trees. The development has 51 five-acre lots; each affords an acre for a home and four acres for coffee trees farmed by MauiGrown Coffee.
So far, only four homes have been built, with another under construction. (The model house next door is reportedly in the process of being sold for $5 million.)
Now about the coffee: The farm grows four types of Arabica: yellow caturra, red catuai, typica and Maui mokka, the latter made from a 1,000-year-old variety once thought lost. Heading MauiGrown is Kimo Falconer, a sixth-generation Mauian whose family has long ties to the island’s 120-year-old sugar industry.
Falconer turned to coffee when Pioneer Mill shut down in the 1990’s. He said because their coffee is grown at a lower elevation, it has more body and less acidity than Kona coffee (it’s also considerably cheaper).
Maui coffee farmers have another major advantage over the Kona growers — the destructive coffee-bean borer insect afflicting Big Island crops has not yet reached the Valley Isle.
In just a few short years, MauiGrown has gone from start-up to producing more than 500,000 pounds of coffee per year on 500 acres of land.
There are about 40 coffee farms on Maui, including others Upcountry.
Along with the coffee-growing tutorial, foodies and travel writers on Saturday’s tour enjoyed lunch on the lanai of the Amadons’ home, with food prepared by Christian Jorgensen of CJ’s Deli & Diner in the Kaanapali Fairway Shops and his catering arm, The Comfort Zone.
The former executive chef at the Westin Maui said he picked up many of the ingredients at the Kaanapali farmers market earlier in the day.
His bounty included sweet Kula strawberries, grilled zucchini, mango, and other fruits and veggies.
The bread and 10 varieties of cheese served were made by Jorgensen. The menu reflected his Scandanavian roots (Jorgensen is from Denmark) and also the theme of the event: coffee. The chef said many of the preparations incorporated the essential tonic.
Two of the highlights on the buffet table were coffee-cured salmon with mustard-dill glaze (a savory delight) and the bisque of Molokai kabocha and sweet potato with ginger (a rich, creamy wonder). Jorgensen was eager for guests to try pickled herring with a curry sauce — a taste explosion.
The tour ended with a visit to the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store in Lahaina at the foot of the Pioneer Mill smokestack — you can’t miss it. If you love coffee, make this a stop on your next trip to Maui.
Other events during the three-day Kaanapali Fresh festival include the Signature Kaanapali Fresh 5-0 Food & Wine Festival on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Royal Kaʻanapali Golf Course, serving up farm-to-table cuisine paired with wine selected by Southern Wine & Spirits. Entertainment will be provided by Amy Hanaiali’i Gilliom and Makana.
On Sunday, Sept. 1, Kaanapali Fresh joins the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival for a “Maui Malama” celebrity chef dinner at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. It is the first time the Food & Wine Festival is holding an event on Maui.
Christie Wilson is Features Editor at the Star-Advertiser. Follow her on Twitter.