Maui Ag Fest
The Maui Ag Festival was bigger than ever. The crowd was amazing. The enthusiasm for farmers, food, flowers, coffee and all things agriculture was celebrated with music, Hula, Taste Education demonstrations with chefs paired with farmers and some of the most amazing talented people of Maui. The atmosphere was exciting, uplifting and energizing. We got to see friends and be surrounded by the things we love about Maui. There was so much going on from Spirits to chocolate, Ulu, (breadfruit), Taro, exotic fruits and vegetables, macadamia nuts, coffee, sugar, pineapple, citrus and avocados, persimmons, lavender and a flower arranging contest. The barbecue smoke permeated the air. Soccer groups served BBQ plates, others served pork sliders, Maui Cattle, ribs and others debuted Shaka Pops made from fresh fruits of our island. I barely got to see it all as I was working in the Education Tent with Pomai Weigert. We partnered together to share the Hawaii Ag-Tourism Association with everyone. As an incentive we offered a chance to win a free tour for two and over one hundred people signed up! The enthusiasm was so great I’m still smiling. I saw my friend Ken Love President of the Hawaii Tropical Fruit Grower’s Association only for a moment at 7:30 AM.
Here I am meeting my Twitter friend, Macrobiotic Chef @Macrohawaii Leslie Ashburn.
My Friend and local hero, Susy Stille of Piliani Kope Farm. She and her husband Greg Stille (President of the Hawaii Coffee Association) were just voted one of our local heros for all the wonderful ways they give back to the community in the state of Hawaii.
The most abundant unique vegetables grow on Maui. This citrus is called Buddhas hand. The unusual cauliflower is grown by Coca farms in Kula, Maui. I get to visit many farms but have barely touched the surface when it comes to the eight hundred farms on Maui. If only everyone was ready for Ag-Tourism. For now we got to see many of the farmers come out in explosion at the Maui Ag Festival an annual event we would like to become a daily event. Imagine growing enough food on Maui that we could survive here without imported food. Well at least we could decrease dependence.
Here’s the small edible garden at the Lavender Farm in Kula. Situated among old proteas from South Africa and Australia, French, English and Spanish lavenders, the new edible gardens are a bounty of lettuce, bok choy, beans, peas, onions, chards, spinach, edible flowers and the orchard are full of stone fruits including plums, pears, apples, mulberries, citrus and avocado. There’s even a cinnamon tree. I can just imagine in five years how beautiful the orchard will be.
I never tire of the giant king proteas that took to the slopes of Haleakala back in the nineteen seventies. The lavender is gorgeous surrounded by prehistoric flowers that have been on earth since dinosaurs.
We love to take our guests to Ho`opkipa en route to the country farms. It gives us a sense of where we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Now we stop at Lumeria Maui on our way up Baldwin Avenue through the old Pineapple Country changing before our eyes. It’s a four star resort in the country popular for meditation retreats, yoga, massage, organic food and classes in horticulture and aromatherapy. The landscaping with palms and native plants is breathtakingly healthy and a beautiful place to feel the trades blowing through the palms.
We want to encourage native plantings of original Hawaiian Plants every day in Hawaii to help restore the natural beauty of the islands . The islands were so different in ancient times. Let us take the time to learn and preserve what is left. Part of the agricultural beauty is the preservation of the natural beauty that is Hawaii.
Pin Cushion flowers are plentiful on the slopes of Haleakala, Maui. There are over twenty five varieties.
The Jade flower vines are so beautiful at Maui’s Winery.
These awesome farmers are Manu Akana and David Horsman of Ho`opono Farms
Food from Ho`opono Farms West Maui Farm
Jimmy Gomes is Ranch Manager for Ulupalakua Ranch. Aloha Jimmy!
These ladies are doing a wonderful thing with the “Waste Not, Want Not” Foundation. When fruit is needing to be harvested before it goes to waste, people call them sometimes on short notice to come and harvest. The food is donated to senior homes and after school programs. The Foundation is supported by donations.
Kula Country Farms Strawberries grow year round. The picking season for the public is February through May. They waited until after the Easter Egg hunt so everything would be perfectly beautiful for the children. The Pumpkins will be planted in the upper fields this summer for harvest in September and October. On the lower one hundred eighty acres more strawberries grow, and onions, cabbage, string beans, squash, kale, zucchinis, carrots, beets, and other root vegetables.
These are from my own garden where I grow lettuces, beets, string beans, carrots, peas, onions, chives, hollyhocks, basils, thyme, rosemary, sage, lilikoi, papaya, apple bananas, coffee trees and eagerly plan to dig in the soil and plant more.
These are my old friends from Hana Fresh where I used to work as a registered nurse at the Hana Community Health center, now Hana Health. They’re growing on ten acres and have a farmers market tent seven days a week in front of the clinic in Hana.
My friend Pomai Weigert and one of my partners in promoting agricultural tourism. We are connecting farmers and visitors in the community to enhance the visitor experience. People are wanting an enriched experience that takes them closer to the land. Our goal is to innovate, educate and perpetuate enthusiasm for agriculture. It takes a vision written on your heart to achieve a dream such as a farm, an added value product, a new way of making a living. We see the future of Hawaii as a series of cottage crops on all islands thriving and growing food for all. Many farmers want to do Ag tourism but don’t know where to begin. Hawaii Ag Tourism Association is here to walk you through the hoops. There are many steps to make your farm ready and you can begin by utilizing the check list available at the HATA website. “Are you ready for Ag-Tourism?” First become a member by joining HATA. Together each achieves more. We will work together. Lani Weigert, the co-founder of Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm is the executive director, and together we can use that model to create many more successful farms.
The Maui Ag Festival was a “farmers market on steroids” as Melissa Chang said it in her blog at Non Stop Honolulu. Maui is really off the charts full of talent, and amazing farmers, chefs and gardeners. The creativity is inspiring for everyone to see. So come join us any day of the week on Maui. We’ll visit farmers, farmers markets, chefs and foodies, artists and agricultural beauty.
We love sharing Maui’s agricultural beauty!
Call me to schedule a personalized tour. 808 283-9131