I had this idea for a Scenic Farm Tour…
We acquired this beautiful bus from the Old Maui Pineapple company auction. It had been used by Kapalua Hotel as a shuttle.
When things began to change on Maui and the economy got crazy, I thought let’s do something we might really enjoy that could also bring attention to the farms on Maui. I was especially concerned when I heard that we could run out of food in a week and a half, if the ships stopped coming to our island. This was shocking to think that in a perfect climate we weren’t growing enough food to sustain the population, when Hawaiians had survived here for over eight hundred years living off the land and the sea.
I knew that the sugar cane was diminishing and Maui has the only working sugar plantation in the state. I envisioned the future of Hawaii as a series of cottage crops all over the island sustaining the people. But how will this get started if young people don’t take interest in farming and agriculture? The average farmer is sixty years old. Kula Country Farms was started by young farmers Chauncey Monden and Teena Monden, growing pumpkins, corn, onions, strawberries, herbs, flowers and whatever is in season. The Lavender Farm, “Ali`i Kula Lavender” is thriving and carrying on the legacy of Ali`i Chang it’s founder and providing scholarships to the youth of Maui who qualify to learn the business of agriculture. Lani and Pomai Weigert have traveled around the US and Canada teaching what they have learned about their successful “Country Chic” Brand. I recently attended the “Added-Value” Workshop sponsored by Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao where several of Hawaii’s growers shared information on product creativity, product development and their stories of how they put together their businesses. Lani shared how they received their first $100,000.00 USDA added-value grant. Added-Value means products. I learned so much about products created for sale from ingredients Grown On Maui. For more information on Grants go to Grants.gov We are so inspired by Lani Weigert of the Lavender Farm and now Pomai Weigert and Koa Chang who run operations. As they explain, originally they marketed to the seniors and now they are focusing on the youth.
Koa Chang of Ali`i Kula Lavender
I began the process of marketing when I created my books, The Amaryllis of Hawaii series, what a ride. I have been an organic gardener since twenty-five years old, I love to cook, and do every creative thing I can get my hands on. I have a burning desire to share with the world so I offer it daily via Twitter, Facebook, Flicker and You-Tube. Coming soon, much more video teaching of how to cook, how to plant and how to create whatever I’m up to at the time such as card-making, sewing, quilting, painting on tees, plant a tree, planting bulbs, making a pie-crust, lemon-meringue pie, apple pies, pumpkin pies, lilikoi jelly, stuffing a turkey and the whole day. I’m also a registered nurse and really enjoy giving that added attention to my guests.
So, I thought why not create a country farm tour. I LOVE country and everything nostalgic about country living. I live Up-Country on Maui on the slopes of Haleakala. It’s quiet, with chickens and roosters crowing in the distance and peacocks too. There’s a pig farm nearby and on some mornings we hear deer nearby. My husband knows the sound they make. On Sundays there’s no traffic passing by so you really get the feel of what Maui must have been like in the olden days.
I wanted to take people back to a simpler place and time. I wanted to go there myself. So we started Maui Country Farm Tours “Sharing Maui’s Agricultural Beauty” and presented at The Maui Ag Festival 2011. People responded with great interest. It seems the Food Movement across the world is taking hold and people do want to know where their food is grown. Locavore is becoming a household word.
So here we go. I thought why not pick up people at Whole Foods (a great starting point and a wonderful supporter of local farmers) then take them on a scenic drive where local people might go on a Sunday drive. We go to Ho`okipa to check out the magnificent surf, then head up to the country.
Since my husband was born and raised in the Pineapple Camp (Hali`i Maile) we journey through pineapple country which is also diminishing since Maui Pineapple was sold in 2010. Now the boutique Pineapple company Hali`i Maile Pineapple sells the Maui Gold Pineapple and grow on approximately 1200 acres. They have pineapple tours, also. We tell the story of my husband’s experiences growing up in the camp then head on over to scenic Ulupalakua. The best part about this is actually slowing down long enough to feel the quiet, to relax under one hundred and fifty year old trees and picnic on the ranch.
Next we stop at Kula Country Farms overlooking all of West Maui. My goal was to get people excited about the beauty and the products of Maui. Teena and Chauncey have created a charming farm stand on an actual working farm with chickens, goats, and changing colorful crops year round. The hands on strawberry picking, Feb-May and Pumpkin time Sept-Oct makes it a great activity for families on Maui.
We arrive at the Lavender Farm for Tea and scones then take an amazing walking tour and fill our pockets with scented lavender, geraniums and the story of the farm.
I started with the popular farms, but with over eight hundred farms on Maui it is truly my goal to introduce others that qualify for tours. I plan to visit as many as possible and do virtual tours at first to bring attention to their products and hopefully interest more and more people around the world about everything that comes out of our islands.
Of Course we go to Surfing Goat Dairy and we love the pride they have fortheir farm and the cheese making process!
Charlene Kauhane of Kauhane Inc. is responsible for promoting Maui County Farm Bureau and hosted several Grown on Maui events in the month of September. See Maui County Farm Bureau
I’m hoping you will spread the word and everyone who takes our tour writes a review at Tripadvisor.com by typing in Maui Country Farm Tours to find us or clicking on the link above, and then clicking on Write Review.
We’ve got Coffee Tours in the works and the Story of Chocolate by Melanie Boudar, the Sweet Paradise Chocolatier coming soon…
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Call me to book a tour at 808 283-9131 and call me with any questions you might have about farms on Maui. If we don’t know we’ll find out for you.
I get a lot of calls about Kula Country Farms. You can check out their page on Facebook.