Keauhou, North Kona
The 1st Annual Hawai'i Island Mango Festival opened at the Keauhou Farmer's Market at 10 am with a free and delicious culinary presentation by chef William Trask. The celebration of mango, the "King of Fruits", continued in the afternoon at the Keauhou Beach Resort's Royal Garden, beginning with an opening pule by Kumu Keala Ching, followed by live Hawaiian music and hula. Mango jams, butters, smoothies, salsas, shave ice, entrees and desserts brought sheer delight to the hungry and curious attendees.Raffled prizes included community-donated orchids, essential oils, dinners, art, etc. Informative and practical educational activities about grafting, natural pest control, growing techniques and the nutritional and healing values of the mango were presented. A zero-waste event, the Mango Festival vendors used 100% compostable utensils and were assisted by the Boy Scouts of America to recycle waste in the appropriate bins, provided by the Hawai'i County Zero Waste program.
Over 1,000 unique varieties of mangoes have been identified throughout the tropics, and approximately 200 varieties are grown in Hawai'i. This healthful, delicious fruit is appreciated worldwide for its unique flavor and culinary diversity. Raw, cooked, blended, or baked, the mango delights the palate. Besides the Festival's cultural, culinary, musical, educational, and farming experiences, it demonstrated the uniqueness of Hawaiian agriculture. Research and development of value-added products is necessary to enhance the economic viability of the family farm. Canned, dried, pickled, and frozen mangoes are showing up in the marketplace. The Festival highlighted a range of value-added mango products, encouraging consumers to be bold and try new foods that include mango.
Research studying the health-promoting benefits of the mango shows that an extract from the mango kernel is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, known for their prevention of free radical build up in the body. Mangoes also exhibit one of the lowest glycemic indexes of all tropical fruits and can be enjoyed in moderation by those with a blood sugar imbalance.
Next year's Mango Festival promises to offer an even better look at Hawaiian mango products.