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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.

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Musings on Maui

Calm after the storm

KULA  “Calm After The Storm” Photo via @ErikBlair of www.erikeverywhere.com

Musing on the storm before, during and after.

It was interesting the amount of preparation people on Maui did for these hurricane Iselle and Julio.  It was quite entertaining seeing so many photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter about long lines at Costco and empty shelves at Safeway. Even my boss who usually does not post on social media channels posted about it. What a hoot!   There was a bit of a panic buying, but then again, everyone wants to be prepared.

The school were cancelled.  Many of the offices sent their employees home early as well.

Then we waited, and waited.  It did not even rain in Kihei till the day after Iselle was supposed to hit Maui. Later we found out that Upcountry had a lot of rain and crazy wind that night, and there were some damages in Ulupakalua area. Considering what the Big Island Hawaii had experienced, Maui’s storm experience was mild. For that we are thankful. Now praying for quick recovery of the Big Island.

So was the 2 days cancellation of school a fail? Was the storing up of food ad water a fail?  In my book, it’s absolutely not.  Storms and hurricanes are have a mind of their own. It’s hard to precisely predict what is going to happen.  I remember one year when DOE did not cancel school, then it rained hard in the middle of the day, and then there were power outages, and there were chaos among parents trying to pick up their kids from school. That was a disaster.  So canceling  the school due to a weather forecast saying that a hurricane is hitting Maui is good in my opinion.

Musing on my new job.

Well, it’s not so new anymore. I have been with Wailea Realty for 3 months now.  Sometimes I still can’t believe that his hobby/passion of mine turned into a career/job. Friends always ask, how’s your new job? Are you still liking it? The answer is yes. My new job is great and yes I am still liking it. Who wouldn’t want to get paid  cruising Facebook and the Internet? ha ha.  OK, this job is not for everyone, and not everyone will enjoy what I am doing.  For me it’s great to be able to talk about Maui as part of my job. Of course I do more than cruise the internet, but it’s a fun part of the job. It is quite fulfilling too. Check out the comments on this Facebook Post when you get a chance and see how friends on the internet appreciates what I do :)

Musing on my kids and family.

When I started blogging, my kids were little  and  young. Now they are tall and teenagers.  Will I still be blogging when they turn into adults and then have a kids of their own? Ha! I would be a grandma blogger.  The question is, would blogging still be existing by then?  I wonder what other technology with come up.

Musing on Blogging.

Speaking of blogging, did any of you noticed that there was no “Best Local Blog on Maui” category in the recent Best Of Maui 2014?  I initially wanted to ask why, but then the more I thought about it, the more I feel I shouldn’t ask why.  I decided to apply the wisdom of Yoda as in this scene:

Luke: But tell me why I can’t… Yoda: No, no, there is no why. Nothing more will I teach you today. Clear your mind of questions.

 

Well, there goes the musings. Thank you for reading along. Hopefully this will jumpstart the blog and I will regularly blogging again.  However, if at any point in time I become MIA again, know that you will find me at Wailea Realty’s Maui Blog.

A hui hou!

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