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O’o Farm Raises the Bar

Farm to table has become all the rage in the last few years, and for good reason.  Many people want more than just a meal, and they want to eat it with a clean conscience, knowing that is was made in a kind and sustainable manner.  High above the bustle of Maui’s beach scene is a charming farm tucked into the green countryside that embraces this belief.

O'o Farm

O’o Farm in Kula is a charming farm perched on the hillside, peeking out from the billowing fog that often frequents their land.  My friend and I were met by our guide, Ancil (who has the job title of tour guide, server, bus boy, barista and composter) at the entrance and joined by a very friendly couple from Oregon.  Most tours range from 8-20 people, but we were lucky to have a more intimate group.  The moment the farm tour started, it became very apparent how much this company truly respects the land they farm on.  These 8 1/2 acres sit 3,500 feet above sea level and they have found themselves growing a “culinary adventure”.  From olives to coffee beans to stone fruit, this mediterranean climate is able to produce items not usually found on a tropical island.  Funnily enough, they’re too cold to grow many of the tropical fruits, and the rainfall is only about 30 inches a year.  They’ve found some success with growing subtropical fruits, however, like cherimoya and loquats.  On the tour, you’ll get to pick some of these straight off the tree.  Taste testing doesn’t get fresher than that!

O'o Farm

Ancil pointed out the surrounding forest of wattle trees, known for being a huge pest to grow around but also being very beneficial because of its high nitrogen levels that it transfers to the soil.  These trees didn’t hold much significance until I found out that they nearly saved the upcountry lifestyle after a widespread Kula fire wiped out almost all of the vegetation in the early 1900’s.  Today, these trees are used for the wood fire stove and are chipped up and used in the compost.

O'o Farm

This farm was actually the brain child of Pacific’O Restaurant in Lahaina, who are dedicated to serving local and sustainable dishes.  They were running into an issue on acquiring what they needed and keeping their commitment to local produce, so they got creative and started their own farm to cut out the middle man.  We walked down lines of citrus trees, winding through rows of swiss chard, mustard greens and candy stripe beets.  Their herb garden would win in any contest and their edible flowers were as beautiful as they were tasty.  However, their pride and joy was a small red berry on a tree.

O'o Farm

Coffee is a passionate topic for many, from a morning necessity to slowly sipping it to ascertain notes of mocha and cherry.  This farm family started their coffee hobby by roasting their own beans in the tool shed.  What began as a small interest has now become ardent pursuit of the perfect cup o’ joe.  Their stunning roasting house, which is built with recycled wood, sees these lovingly grown beans from bean to cappuccino.  It’s rare to drink a cup of coffee on the land that the beans were grown, roasted and brewed!

O'o Farm

Ancil regaled us with a plethora of unique facts about goats being the first to discover coffee beans, the fool-proof method of lasagna gardening and O’o Farm’s future in olive pressing.  On cue with our grumbling  stomachs, he handed us over to the chef in the rustic outdoor kitchen.  Looking perky considering his 6 am arrival at the farm, Chef Daniel proudly showed off his basket of freshly picked fruits and vegetables that would be a part of our dining experience.  The colors, the fragrance of lemongrass and kaffir lime drifted our way.

O'o Farm

After Chef Daniel entertained us with the impending feast that he’d be preparing, Ancil reappeared and guided us to their roasting house to get up close and personal with their passionate pursuit.  Their passion is in good company, as coffee is the second most traded commodity after oil.  And now O’o Farm is jumping into the competitive coffee ring and entered the 2015 Cupping Competition, a prestigious statewide competition that crowns someone with the coveted Grand Champions of Hawaiian Coffee award.

O'o Farm

The lunch bell rang and we made our way over to the buffet, where skillet crispy tofu mingled with candy stripe beets, yellow beets and rainbow carrots.  A dish brimming with juicy brined chicken was next, paired with blood oranges, kaffir lime, rutabaga and hints of rosemary and cardamon.  The fresh catch of the day was Monchong, which was perfectly moist and flaky.  This delectable dish boasted flavors of caramelized Florence fennel and elephant garlic with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf.  We proudly piled on a mixed green salad and citrus vinaigrette from the bounty we had just picked from the garden.  Lastly, and possibly my favorite, was the wood fire focaccia bread, still warm from the stove.

O'o Farm

We relished in each bite, and the freshness of each dish was so apparent and appreciated!  As the fog slowly started rolling in, perfectly timed french press coffee pots were brought out for our sipping pleasure, and was paired with house made dark chocolate truffles.

O'o Farm

This culinary experience was more than just a fun time or a great meal.  It connected us to the entire process from the growing to the picking to the cooking to the eating.  For anyone that wants to take home once in a lifetime memories that include more than just the beach, this is a must do!

To read up on another commentary of this incredible farm, visit this O’o Farm Review.

Ten Reasons to Visit Leilani Farm Sanctuary

Leilani Farm Sanctuary of Maui

Leilani Farm Sanctuary of Maui provides care for rescued animals, humane education to the community, and a model of compassionate living. Today we have a guest blogger, Barry Sultanoff, who will share with us ten (10) great reasons to visit LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY:

1. Honk–if you love geese!

Vern, the Chinese Goose, is eagerly awaiting your presence – up close and personal. If you have never embraced a goose, this can be your chance.

Vern and his sister Verna are King and Queen of the duck-and-goose yard at LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY and they announce this fact jubilantly. You will hear their “Model-T-Ford” honking voices as you begin your tour. And you’ll also meet Pete, a Swedish Blue duck. With just one foot, he has a comical gait, but holds his own among his mates.

Goose at Leilani Farm Santuary of Maui


2. The hares and the tortoises

As the fable goes, the tortoise outwits the hare by practicing “Slow and steady wins the race!” At LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY, the rabbits and tortoises don’t compete, they cooperate. See the maze of tunnels that the rabbits have dug–and that the African Tortoises love to play in.

Tortoise at Leilani Farm Sanctuary on Maui


3. Holding the chicken

At LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY, we love to say, “Just hold the chicken!” (like Jack Nicholson did in the film “Five Easy Pieces.”) Chickens are cuddly and soft; and you will have the chance to cuddle Akachan, Avi, Kenny, or one of the other friendly hens and roosters–hands on!

holding the chickens at Leilani Farm Sanctuary on Maui

4.  An Upcountry Slice of Paradise

LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY is a delicious Haiku getaway from the intense activity of Kihei, Kahului, or Lahaina. You will meander some of the 8 acres on which the animals live and thrive, comprised of gently rolling hills and expansive ocean vistas. You will taste a slice of Upcountry Maui paradise!

5. School without walls

At LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY you will learn about the land itself and the 12 species of animals who live there. This will be a fun, low-key education–in how to walk gently upon the earth, in harmony with all life.

6.  Hoofin’ it!

Your visit will about an hour of gentle exercise, as you visit all the animals, including our charming and playful goats. As our bumper sticker says, “My Kid is a Goat!”. You can even take one home if you like (Not a goat, a bumper sticker!  :-)

Goat at Leilani Farm Sanctuary of Maui

7.  Taking Care of the Earth

At the end of your tour, you’ll receive reading materials that can help you shift your diet toward a more plant-based style of eating. Changing your diet can be one of the most powerful choices you can make in support of the well-being of Planet Earth. You and your family will become a lot healthier, too.


8. The “Brays” have it!

LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY is named after the Sanctuary’s first resident donkey, Leilani. On your tour, you will meet the two personable donkeys who currently reside here–Lehua, who loves to be kissed; and Jenny, who loves to be hugged. Scrumptious encounters!

Donkeys at Leilani Farm Sanctuary Maui

9.  George, the potbelly pig

George arrived at LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY grossly overweight from being fed restaurant garbage for many years. After several months on a weight-loss diet, George’s health has improved and he now lives happily in his artfully hand-painted house. You will also meet Kea and Berney, the Sanctuary’s other two engaging porcines.


10.  Treasured images to take home

Laurelee Blanchard, your tour guide and founder of LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY, is an award-winning photographer who will capture some unforgettable moments of you and the animals. You may want to bring your own camera, too, as the Sanctuary offers a myriad of unique subjects to photograph.

We here at LEILANI FARM SANCTUARY invite you to come experience the magic!

Visit their website:

Contact them via Email:

Connect with them on their Facebook Page: 

Be a volunteer:

My friend David Raatz is volunteering on Martin Luther Kings Day, January 30th and he is inviting you to join them!



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