Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Princeville Ranch Tour & BBQ

By Lee Roversi
Slow Food Kaua'i

When Slow Food speaks of the benefits of eating locally, the Princeville Ranch is precisely the type of business to which they are referring. And Kauai’s Slow Food members and their guests got a firsthand experience of that stellar sustainable operation on Saturday, June 21, 2008.

Our own Kauai cowgirl, Karin Carswell Guest, who grew up riding the ranch with her family, so graciously gave us an inside look at this living piece of Kauai’s heritage. Princeville Ranch was one of the first established cattle ranches in Hawaii, created during the reign of Kamehameha III. A.S. Wilcox, the Carswell's ancestor, purchased the ranch in 1895 and ran cattle on it. The Carswell family started Pooku Stables, a trail riding operation, in 1978. The rides lead across the Princeville Ranch lands, giving riders a glimpse of the grazing cattle. Then in 1994, the family also took over the cattle operation. They began proudly marketing Princeville Pride beef locally in 1996, utilizing no antibiotics or hormones. The cattle are a breed called Brangus, a mix of Angus and Brahma, a perfect match for the tropics. Completely grass-fed, with pastures being switched frequently, they live a bucolic life, a far cry from the factory farming which provides most beef in the world.

After a fun ride across the ranch in our three pick-ups, punctuated by Karin’s fascinating information about the cattle and ranch and culminating in a breathtaking view from Green Hill at the very top of the acreage, we then reconvened at the barbeque site on the bluff overlooking Kauai’s north shore with more vistas to stun your senses. There Don Carswell, the patriarch of the family and a master on the grill, prepared Princeville Pride Filet Mignon and New York cuts for our sunset dining. We enjoyed local corn from Kilauea. As well, North Country Farms provided the organic salad greens and Icing on the Cake delighted us once again with both dinner rolls and fantastic dessert. The sun dropped behind the pali as we all ran out of superlatives to adequately describe the sheer beauty of the ranch and the superb product they grow so consciously there.

Slow Food Kaua'i would also like to thank Papaya's Natural Food and Kauai Tent and Party Rental for their generous donations for this event.