Maui Down on the Farm

Photo by Carol Fowler

Where farm-to-fork dining begins on Maui

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It’s easy and fun to experience Maui agritourism while you’re on the island. The best thing ever to cross your lips may be a chunk of Maui Gold pineapple, hacked off the plant with a machete in a Hali‘imaile field. Let the juice drip down your chin and savor every sweet drop, still warm from the sun.

You’ll indulge in this treat on the Maui Pineapple Tour, one of several chances to visit a Maui farm, a highlight of agritourism on the island. And it’s a perfect way to take a break from the beach. The experience will introduce you to a side of Maui you’ve never dreamed existed.  It will also get you acquainted with people who live and work on the island.

Follow us on some of the agriculture tours that are about a half-day activity. Just across the road from the pineapple field, continue touring at Haliimaile Distilling Company. When the pineapple gets too ripe, it becomes spirits. The company also distills rum from sugarcane. Follow up these visits with lunch at Hali‘imaile General Store across from the distilling company. It’s a one-stop tour.

Other agritourism destinations are farther Upcountry near the town of Kula, famous for its gardens and flowers. It’s cooler and sometimes misty here, and you could make more than one stop for a full day down on the farm.

Maui Agriculture Tours

Driving up the flanks of Haleakala, you’ll come to Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm where 45 varieties of lavender grow over 13 acres. You can tour the property, have lunch, shop for luscious body butter to slather on dry skin or munch on a lavender scone. Just up Waipolipoli Road — watch for cows on the pavement — you can pick your own lunch and watched the chef prepare it at O‘o Farm. Rows of pale green curve in graceful rows along the hillside in the cool Upcountry air..

Drop down to Kula Highway, turn left and keep going until you think the road will play out. On the left is MauiWine, perhaps the island’s longest running agritourism attraction. Originally Tedeschi Vineyards, the winery was founded in 1974. Long before that, King David Kalakaua visited what was then Rose Ranch and stayed at the cottage, now the wine-tasting room. Here you can sip Maui Blanc, made from Maui Gold pineapple grown downslope at Hali‘imaile. If you want to have a wine picnic, stop at nearby Ulupalakua Ranch Store, where you can get a burger made of beef, lamb or elk from animals raised nearby.

Flower and produce stands line the road in Kula. At some of them, you pick up a protea blossom or two, and put your $5 in a pail. And don’t forget farmer’s markets in almost every Maui community.

It should be nearing the end of the day, time to drop down to Surfing Goat Dairy. On the last tour of the day you can help herd goats into the barn. Not far away is Ocean Vodka, made from organically grown sugar cane the stretches out beyond the visitor center lawn.

If you’re interested in a full day on the farm near Hana, ONO Organic Farms at Kipahulu serves a feast that may include jack fruit, ice cream banana, lilikoi, soursop and several mango varieties at their tropical fruit tasting. It includes estate-grown coffee and chocolate, all followed by a walk among the trees.

For a one-stop agri-tour, visit Maui Tropical Plantation near Kahului and see how papaya, mangoes, macadamia nuts and sugar cane grow. Board the little train the runs through the property. Or ride the zipline above the plots and lagoon. For a real working farm, drop by the Kumu Farms Stand at the edge of the parking lot. You can stock up on lychee nuts and mangoes from the Moloka‘i farm, or kale from the field out back.

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Agritourism on Neighboring Moloka‘i

You can make a day of agritourism with visits to the home of Kumu Farms, Coffees of Hawaii, Purdy’s Mac Nut Farm and Molokai Plumerias. The lovely fragrance will lure to the last stop. Click here for more information on Moloka‘i.

Agritourism on Neighboring Lana‘i

The only relic of agriculture days here are the shreds of black plastic blowing across what once were pineapple fields. However, the Lana‘i Culture and Heritage Center has excellent exhibits on the agricultural past. Check out more information on Lana‘i.

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