Join the Maui County Farm Bureau as we honor legendary Maui farmers at the Maui Tropical Plantation on April 2nd at 8am for a PANCAKE BREAKFAST! That’s right, pancakes. We don’t care if you’re for or against celebrating the important contributions of the hardest working people on our island. Pancakes rock!
Actually, we do care.
These farmers have dedicated their lives to working the land, employing workers, and teaching their families values that are often lost to newer generations. Come talk story, learn something, and meet new and old friends.
“This is the first year we have named Legacy Farmers as part of AgFestival,” says Warren Watanabe, Executive Director of Maui County Farm Bureau. “These three individuals and their families have made huge contributions to agriculture on our island over the years. We are thrilled to have a chance to honor them in some small way for what they have done for us and for Maui Nui.”
Celebrate with syrup!
Join us in celebrating Maui’s agricultural industries most important contributors: Pardee Erdman, Buddy Nobriga, and Hanako Hashimoto with pancakes, bingo, and prizes. If you’re already planning on going to the Ag Fest, come early for great food and company. Your Pancake Breakfast ticket gets you into the festival too!
BE A WINNER!
Not only are you looking at a $5 savings to the festival, you get to play 1 bingo card ($2 per each additional card), and a raffle ticket (again $2 each additional raffle ticket.)
- $50 gift certificate to Star Noodle
- $50 gift certificate to Hula Grill Ka’anapali
- $50 gift certificate to leilani’s on the Beach
- $50 gift certificate for Duke’s Beach House
- $25 Grown on Maui Produce Box
- Gift Certificate to Roy’s Ka’anapali for 4 ($400 value!)
Bingo Grand Prize:
- Staycation for 2 nights with Sunday brunch for 2 at the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel
- (one room, double occupancy, black out dates apply)
C. Pardee Erdman
Pardee Erdman bought the historic 22,000-acre ‘Ulupalakua Ranch from the Baldwin family in 1963. ʻUlupalakua was the former favorite vacation spot for the Merrie Monarch, King David Kalākaua, and once operated as a sugar plantation and mill. Today, the 18,000-acre ranch remains devoted to its heritage, able to retain its paniolo roots while also home to many new ventures, thanks to the stewardship of Pard and his wife Betty Erdman and their sons Chris and Sumner, now ranch president.
In 1974, Pard collaborated with winemaker Emil Tedeschi to plant the first wine grapes on the slopes of Haleakalā. While awaiting the first harvest, they used Maui’s plentiful golden pineapples to produce a delicious sparkling wine. Today, the pineapple wines are still among Maui Wine’s most popular.
Over the years, Pard partnered with Maui Pineapple Company to obtain juice from their pineapple operations. After Maui Pine folded in 2009, Pard joined with other investors to “save pineapple on Maui.” They formed Hali‘imaile Pineapple Company and purchased Maui Pine’s production assets, including the juicing equipment which he brought up to ‘Ulupalakua. As the winery evolves, it’s bringing home an increasing number of awards for both its grape and pineapple wines. The pineapple company now operates under its dba Maui Gold Pineapple Company.
Today, ʻUlupalakua Ranch covers 18,000 acres, from the south Maui shoreline at Auwahi to the 6,000-foot elevation of Haleakalā. The Erdmans helped create Maui Cattle Co., whose mission is to provide grass-fed, island-raised beef to local markets. They’ve introduced elk, sheep and goats, and have found a receptive market for ‘Ulupalakua elk and lamb at the Ranch Store. Pard focuses much of his energy on land and pasture management, always mindful of the native flora and fauna because of the critical role they play in the water and mineral cycles of the land.
The Erdmans have been progressive environmentalists, active partners with The Nature Conservancy and Leeward Haleakalā Watershed Restoration Partnership, and patrons of successful reforestation projects at upper-slope acreage in Auwahi. In 2012, they dedicated acreage to the Auwahi Wind Farm operated by Sempra US Gas & Power for the production of renewable energy.
Sumner, who’s been president of the ranch since 1997, carries on his father’s commitment to maintaining wide open space for future generations. Working with Hawai‘i Islands Land Trust, they established an agricultural conservation easement of 11,300 acres along the leeward slopes of Haleakalā so that it will remain a working ranch and wildlife habitat. This was the largest-ever voluntary easement donation in Hawai‘i’s history.
Thanks to Pard and the Erdman ‘ohana, ‘Ulupalakua Ranch exists today as a steward to the land, dedicated to preserving and protecting Maui’s open spaces and agriculture, as well as traditional lifestyle and culture, while at the same time embracing new technology and diversification.
David “Buddy” Nobriga
Buddy Nobriga is the patriarch of a family that has devoted itself to running and building successful small businesses and to serving the community. For more than half a century, the Nobriga family has owned and operated Maui Soda & Ice Works, Ltd., one of only several dozen independent Coca-Cola® bottlers/distributors left in the nation and the manufacturer of Roselani Ice Cream.
Buddy’s grandfather Antone established Nobriga Ranch as a family operation in Kahakuloa in 1930. Buddy has been President/Chairman since 1981.
Buddy started working part-time for Maui Soda in 1941 as a freshman at St. Anthony’s School. When his father, Manuel, retired in 1971, Buddy became president and 10 years later he was CEO. Today, daughter Catherine Nobriga Kim is General Manager, and the other four Nobriga siblings all work at Maui Soda too. Buddy “retired officially” in 1998 but remains Chairman of the Board of Directors. Buddy’s wife Barbara passed away in 2015 after 62 years of marriage.
Buddy was a major advocate for Hawai‘i’s cattlemen, helping form the Maui Cattleman’s Association in 1970 and serving as its president for 10 years and as president of the Hawai‘i Cattleman’s Council for four years. He served on the Board of Water Supply for 20 years, and held positions on the State Water Commission and in the Department of Agriculture. He was inducted into the Paniolo Hall of Fame in 2001.
Out of 54 years of service to the West Maui Soil & Conservation District, Buddy was chairman for 50 years. He and his colleagues are responsible for creating the Honolua watershed which protects the Nāpili area from flooding, for cleaning up the ocean in the Kahana area, and for work on the Lahaina watershed project. In 2009, Buddy was one of four people in the Pacific Islands recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as environmental heroes for founding the West Maui Soil and Water Conservation District.
Buddy counts his decades of service to the Federal Land Bank Association of Hawai‘i (now known as Farm Credit Services) among his most significant because this organization serves specifically to help the state’s small farmers. He has served as member for 36 years, 26 of them as Chairman of the Board.
The Nobriga family – which now includes eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – is a part of Maui’s community landscape, helping out at every fundraiser and charitable event, continuing Buddy’s legacy.
Hanako Makimoto was born in Pu‘unēnē, where her father worked at HC&S. Hanako was the oldest of nine children and bore the burden of taking care of her siblings. The family later moved to ‘Ulupalakua where they farmed vegetables and oranges. In 1943, Hanako married John Hashimoto of Kula, who was one of the active leaders in the agricultural community.
The Hashimoto Persimmon Farm was established on the slopes of Haleakalā in the early 1920s by Shinichi Hashimoto, John’s grandfather. Shinichi began to farm vegetables but his love for persimmons led him to bring over some plants from Japan. As the fruits’ popularity grew, he increased his acreage.
Soon Shinichi turned over the farm to his son, Isami, who turned over the farm to his son John. Hanako worked side by side with John, raising vegetables and persimmons. Head cabbage and Kula onions were the main crops raised, but persimmons became a major crop in later years. More persimmon trees were planted, many of them by Hanako, even with children in tow.
Hanako and John raised five children (Thelma, Howard, Linda, Clark and Noel), and all five graduated college with a degree. It was hard work but Hanako was determined to raise her children and make sure they all got a good education. She was the “unsung hero” who kept the family together, all the while working on the farm and tending to the children.
Today, the vegetable farm is run by Howard. The persimmons sector (Hashimoto Persimmon Farm) is managed by Clark with brothers Howard and Noel as partners.
The farm encompasses 500 persimmon trees on five acres of land. The fresh fruits are harvested and sold during October, November and part of December of each year. In 2005, Clark’s wife Jackie developed a line of persimmon products that includes persimmon jam, butter, scone mix and salad dressing, as well as dehydrated persimmons. These value-added products now bring income to the farm on a year-round basis.
Hanako has been a pioneer in agriculture, along with her husband John, who passed in 2007. She works hard, never complains, and is always determined to get the job done. Even at her young age of 96, she still wants to help at the farm, packing, grading or doing whatever else she can do. Most of the trees age 80 to 90 years old are still producing wonderful fruits…the fruits of her labor.
“We encourage the Maui community to come to the Pancake Breakfast and to meet our Maui Legacy Farmers and their families,” Watanabe says. “It’s an exciting way to kick off the 9th annual AgFest and to share the vital role that agriculture plays in our economy, environment and lifestyle here on Maui.”