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Festival celebrates Hawaii’s mangoes

June 22, 2014 - 1:04am

Mangoes come in many colors and flavors. Many local varieties will be featured at this year’s mango festival. Sonia Martinez/Special to West Hawaii Today

Gardening events

Farmer-direct markets: Hooulu Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturdays at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay; South Kona Green Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Sundays at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden in Captain Cook; Keauhou Farmers Market, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at Keauhou Shopping Center.

Plant advice lines are answered from 9 a.m. to noon Thursdays at 322-4892 and 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Fridays at 981-5199. You can also email or

By Diana Duff
Special to West Hawaii Today

We live in a climate that allows us to grow many mango varieties. Most of them ripen during summer. Despite our ever-changing climate, most mangoes have flowered and some are already fruiting. We are looking forward to a bountiful year for mangoes. Since our mangoes are not exported to the mainland, we can enjoy some of the best varieties in abundance right here at home.

This year Randyl Rupar of the Sanctuary of Mana Kea Gardens, inspired by some early varieties, chose to move the date of the annual mango festival to June 29. 

This is the sixth year the sanctuary has offered this festival along with the West Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers and the Sheraton Kona Resort &Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Starting at noon, celebrants will gather on the bayfront lawn at the resort for a full mango experience. Information on mango varieties and their cultivation will be offered in addition to tastings of the fresh fruit, as well as samplings of mango recipes offered by vendors and recipe contest entrants.

Foodie blogger and cookbook author, Sonia Martinez is responsible for the amateur recipe contest and is encouraging those with established mango recipes or ideas for new ones to enter the contest. Several guidelines can help you enter the winner’s circle in one of the three categories: salads, entrees or desserts. Of course, you need to get your dish entered on time with the recipe attached. Your recipe needs to have the amounts of all the ingredients in a list along with a description of the steps used in the preparation. Judging of the entries will consider several factors, including the best use of the main ingredient (mangoes), the taste and texture of the dish, its appearance and presentation, as well as the creativity or originality exhibited in the recipe. ChoiceMart and Island Naturals are offering gift certificates as prizes for the recipe contest. For more information and entry forms contact Martinez at 963-6860 or visit

In addition to experiencing a plethora of fresh mangeos and many mango-related items, attendees will be treated to musical and cultural presentations, educational workshops and keiki activities.

Harold Moodie will offer a presentation on grafting mango trees and will have some grafted specimens for sale. Mark Suiso from Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers will have many unique mango varieties available to taste and the annual panel discussion “Keeping the Culture in Agriculture” promises a lively interchange. West Hawaii master gardeners will also be on hand to field plant questions.

The original festival poster art signed by Janis Solerno, as well as matching organic cotton festival T-shirts will be featured among the arts and crafts vendor booths. Bolo, Maka, Poncho Man, Auntie Irma’s Kahikina Nahenehe Ohana and Hands of Fatima Bellydance Troupe are in the lineup of entertainers on the main stage and keiki activities will be happening in various places on the grounds.

The festival is a free community event open to the public. As with other events his organization sponsors, Rupar has set up the event to be waste-free. Zero-waste events make recycling of all waste a high priority. Everything from the food waste to the used service items, including water and beverage containers, are separated on site and recycled or reused in some way.

Diana Duff is a plant adviser, educator and consultant living on an organic farm in Captain Cook.

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The Chaunsa has a Brix rating in the 22 degree level which is unheard of!
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Come this summer pamper your loved ones abroad with a box of delicious mangoes through DHL’s Express Easy Mango service, a unique one-stop-shop and hassle-free service for gifting mangoes all across the world.

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