Tour Upcountry Maui’s Popular Farms

By Kyle Ellison
Oʻo Farm.  Photo:  Kaiscapes.

Oʻo Farm. Photo: Kaiscapes.

Did you know that cotton was grown on Maui during the US Civil War, or that during the Gold Rush in California, so many potatoes were grown Upcountry and shipped to California, the area became known as Nu Kaleponi—Hawaiian for “New California?”

Set on the slopes of Haleakala volcano between 1,500-4,000 feet, Upcountry Maui has the perfect climate for agriculture and farming. Daytime highs are around 75°F, and evening lows, depending on elevation, can dip to the 40s in winter. The soil is fertile and nutrient rich, and even Kula, the area’s main town, means “pasture or field” in Hawaiian.

Learn Why Maui Farms are in the Spotlight

Photo:  MauiWine.

Photo: MauiWine.

While farming and ranching have always been staples of life to Upcountry locals, it’s only recently that island visitors have become entranced by the views, open space, and wealth of colorful produce.

As island restaurants now work to offer the freshest local produce, Maui’s farms have been thrust in the spotlight for their succulent onions, zesty herbs and tomatoes that burst with flavor—not to mention artisanal goat cheese or grass-fed, locally-raised beef. The result is not just an increase in people who want to visit Upcountry, but an increase in visitors who actually want to go to the source of the food.

Eat Beneath a Vine-Covered Trellis at Oo Farm

upcountry maui farm tour

O’o Farm, Kula, Maui. Photo: Hawaii.com member Janis S.

Farm tours in Upcountry are exploding in popularity, and one of the favorites is the luncheon tour at 8-acre O‘o Farm (which sources produce for Pacific‘O restaurant and also offers a coffee tour). During the popular luncheon tour, guests have the chance to pick their own salad while strolling across the farm, and an on-site chef prepares a meal in the outdoor kitchen of your dreams. The meal is enjoyed at a large farm table set beneath a vine-covered trellis, and you can even bring your own bottle of wine or just sip on the French-pressed coffee.

Take the Family Farm Tour at Shim Farm

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Protea from Kula Farmer’s Market, Maui. Photo courtesy of Alden Cornell via flickr.

For a farm tour that isn’t as luxurious (or expensive), Shim Farm in Keokea offers personalized tours of the family-run farm that specializes in coffee and protea. Tours are offered from February-March and last around an hour.

Get Your Hands Dirty Surfing Goat Dairy

If you’d rather get a little hands-on and feel like you’re working the farm, check out the “Afternoon Chores” tour at quirky Surfing Goat Dairy. This sprawling goat farm in lower Kula produces creative, flavorful goat cheese, and by joining along on the 3:15pm tour, you can try your hand at milking the goats and experience life on the farm.

Find Out Why Pineapples Don’t Grown on Trees

 

Photo:  Hawaii.com member via Hawaii Moments.

Photo: Hawaii.com member via Hawaii Moments.

If you still think pineapples grow on trees, you’ll definitely want to spend a day on the Maui Pineapple Tour, at which you’ll journey into the pineapple fields, pick the fruit by hand and taste how the flavor completely differs by how long it’s left on the plant.

Tour Maui’s Distilleries and Winery

ocean organic vodka farm tour

Photo: Brian Lauer.

And, considering that alcohol made on Maui is sourced from Upcountry produce, it only makes sense that distillery tours are growing in popularity. Hali‘imaile Distilling is located right next to the Maui Pineapple Tour, and Ocean Organic Vodka is made right next to Surfing Goat Dairy. Both distilleries offer tours and tastings, and you can also head out to MauiWine to sip the fruits of the beautiful Upcountry vineyard.

Take in the Purple Hues at Maui’s Popular Lavender Farm

Aliʻi Kula Lavender Farm.  Photo:  N1D0.

Aliʻi Kula Lavender Farm on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi. Photo: N1D0.

For shampoo or sunscreen with a floral touch, Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm offers tours of their Upper Kula property that’s bathed in purplish hues. Order a scone from the small café and sip on lavender tea, and watch the mist as it gathers on flowers up here at 4,000 feet. The lavender farm is right up the road from the luncheon at O‘o Farm and is another one of the most popular stops when it comes to Upcountry farm tours.

Pick Up Some Fresh Produce and Flowers

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A variety of bell peppers. Photo courtesy of Sue Salisbury via flickr.

Or, if you simply want to pick up some produce directly from Upcountry farmers, Kula Country Farms has an ocean view farm stand with hay bales and games for young kids, or stop in the market at Maui Nui Farm for produce, eggs and flowers. Not only will you find succulent produce at prices much cheaper than in stores, but you’ll also help support local farmers who help keep Upcountry country.

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