Have no fear, Kanemitsu Bakery will be at the fest


POSTED: Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Momentary panic gripped tightly when your columnist did not see Kanemitsu Bakery & Restaurant of Molokai among the exhibitors for the 2010 Made in Hawaii Festival—especially since the exhibitor registration deadline is Monday.

This August's three-day event will be the 15th annual showcase of Hawaii-made and Hawaii-manufactured foods, food products, clothing, jewelry and so much more—how could it possibly be the same without the Kanemitsu crew?

“;We go every year. ... I'm one of the pioneers there. Us and Maui Jelly, we're the oldest people there,”; said manager Blossom Poepoe, assuring that the company would bring its famous bread and lavash varieties again this year.

“;The past two years we sold out so early, it was embarrassing,”; she said. Capacity is limited on the cargo plane, so “;I can't take any more than what I take.”; She also doesn't want to sell old product, she said.

(Note to self: Go as early as possible on Aug. 20. Hope the editors aren't reading this.)

Nearly 100 cases of breads are stuffed into the plane, “;and I ship my car over, loaded with my lavash—it's fragile,”; she said.

The first bread to sell out is usually the fruit breads, such as apricot, pineapple, coconut, strawberry, blueberry, cinnamon-apple, cinnamon pull-apart: “;They sell out fast.”;

She brings every variety of bread Kanemitsu sells on Molokai except for its Hawaiian sweet bread. It doesn't travel well. “;By the time I get there, it's pancake. ... Because it's so soft, it just smashes.”;

Monday is the deadline for yet-unregistered exhibitors to return a completed application and $200 deposit. Standard 10-by-10-foot booths are $570 and corner booths at $620, and exhibitors who share are subject to a $200 surcharge.

To qualify as “;Made in Hawaii,”; a product must have at least 51 percent of its wholesale value added by manufacture, assembly, fabrication or production within the state of Hawaii.

The annual event typically draws more than 400 exhibitors, who now include the ranks of high-end retailers all the way to jewelry crafters whose only other presence is online, via their own websites or crafter-collectives such as, such as Kaleimaeole Latronic. The festival will give Latronic and any other Etsy-shop owners IRL (in real life) face time with their customers.

Last year's festival drew record attendance of more than 35,000 people, including more than 1,000 professional retail buyers from Hawaii, the mainland and Japan, who get early access to exhibitors.

The annual event also showcases Hawaii's top chefs and cooks in demonstrations so popular some attendees park themselves from one demo to the next. They vacate the prized seat only for a restroom break, whilst sending kids, nieces or nephews to pick up exhibitors' must-have items such as shortbread cookies from All Butter Dreams or sauces from Som' Good Things. Parked in a seat, however, they are likely to miss a cool new T-shirt from a longtime favorite vendor or a must-have kimono-fabric-enhanced blouse from Hisako Barrow.

Festival hours will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 20 and 21, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 22.