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Hawai‘i State Chili Championship Cookoff on Sunday, July 20 at Ulupalakua Ranch – Come for a Sunday Drive

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Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill, along with Shaka Pops Maui and Maui’s Winery, invites the public to come on up to beautiful Upcountry Maui for the 2nd Annual CASI Hawai‘i State Chili Championship Cookoff on Sunday, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The cookoff, which is sanctioned by the nonprofit Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), debuted last year at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and was so successful that the organizers decided to expand this year’s event and make it part of the Ulupalakua Sunday Drive series, with proceeds again benefiting the Maui 4-H Livestock Association.

Chili Cook Off

As anyone knows who’s “come on up” for a Sunday Drive, the day is all about fantastic live music! Maui’s own Country Knights will be performing on the beautiful grounds of Maui’s Winery. The Knights are good-time island favorites, featuring Herb Andrews on vocals and guitar, Rob Loney on bass, and Jon Melia on drums. They perform at many major resort conventions here in Hawai‘i, with music described as having a relaxing, island-style country feel, especially their most frequently requested original song “Maui, You’re On My Mind.” The Knights will perform from 11 to 3 p.m.

Maui News Maui Scene Pic

Over at the Ranch Store, Bradda Francis will entertain from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bradda Francis has been called “the Hawaiian Elvis” for good reason. A full Native Hawaiian, he has a deep, rich voice that can transition into many different styles (and he can also sing in seven different languages!). Maui audiences especially love his authentic Hawaiian melodies, and you’ll hear plenty of those at the Sunday Drive event.


Just as hot as the music that’s playing on the Ranch is the lunch that’s cooking on the Grill. Executive Chef Will Munder has created a spicy new menu that’s all about chiles in all shapes and sizes. Try the Anaheim Chile Enchiladas with Queso Fresco, or Steak Tacos with Pasilla Pepper Salsa. From the Hawaiian Chile Pepper Croutons in the famous Caesar Salad, to the Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos you can order on the side, to the Red or Green Ranchero Sauce you can add to your Elk Burger, it’s a day full of flavor and spice. Yes, and that includes dessert: Ancho Chile Pepper & Double Chocolate Tarte with Cinnamon Whip Crème—¡ay, caramba!

The event also marks the debut of Ulupalakua Ranch Store’s own Pulehu BBQ Sauce and No Bull Hot Sauce, newly bottled, labeled and on sale. Like everything else at Ulupalakua, the sauces are all made from local ingredients and created fresh in-house. If you love what you taste, take some home with you!

Shaka Pops for Chili Cook Off

The chili cookoff was brought to Maui by husband and wife chili enthusiasts Larry Lutz and Christine Vestfals—the makers of Shaka Pops Maui. These handmade, natural Hawaiian ice pops are the perfect way to cool down after a bowl of hot chili. (Unless you’re trying the Spicy Mayan Chocolate pop, made with fiery chili spices just for the event!) How many pops can you eat? That will be the question during the Shaka Pop-Eating Competition at the Ranch Store. Keiki from Maui 4-H will be selling pops, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the 4-H program.

Popsicle eating contest Maui

Just across the road at the King’s Cottage Tasting Room, Maui’s Winery is offering new kama‘aina pricing all day for all visitors. The Winery recently brought home two prestigious medals from the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition: a Gold for the lively and elegant Lokelani Sparkling Rosé, and a Silver for the layered and intriguing 2011 Plantation Red. In celebration of these triumphs, the Winery is offering low celebratory pricing on both wines just for the day.


Tasting room staff will offer visitors advice on “Pairing with Heat,” with a display of the do’s and don’ts of pairing wine with various levels of spice. “It can be hard to find the perfect marriage between wine and spicy cuisine, where the classic rules of food and wine pairing just do not apply,” says Joseph Hegele, Director of Marketing for Maui’s Winery. “Pairing the wrong wine with spicy food can actually accentuate the heat and impair your palate.”

For the chili cookoff, visitors can purchase a $5 tasting kit to sample the competition from 12:15 to 2 p.m. and place their vote for theirfavorite chili in the People’s Choice category. “Anything goes” for that category, as well as for the Best Restaurant category, so cooks can get creative. Rules are a bit more stringent for the official CASI Rules chili. All three categories require that the chili be cooked onsite the day of the cookoff. A limited number of judging seats are also available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dan MIller

Maui’s own Don Miller of Makawao will be returning to defend his 2013 title, taking on chili aficionados from around the islands. The competition will be spicy, as 2008 Terlingua International Chili Championship (TICC) winner Susan Dean from Johnson City, Texas, and Texas Men’s State Champion Alan Dean will also be competing. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m.

The winning three Hawai‘i resident cooks will be invited to compete at the legendary TICC in Texas on November 1, 2014. Prizes include a hand-painted cookstove donated by Shaka Pops Maui for the first-place Hawai‘i cook, as well as gifts from Ulupalakua Ranch and Maui’s Winery. Last year’s event raised more than $1,600 for Maui 4-H. Ulupalakua Ranch has a long-standing commitment to Maui County’s agriculture community, as well as to the future farmers and ranchers in the Maui 4-H program.

CASI is a major nonprofit organization that raises over $1 million annually for local charities and its scholarship fund, all while promoting chili appreciation.

Poster Chili champsionship Maui

 “We are so proud to welcome the state chili championship here once again,” says Diana Azevedo, manager of Ulupalakua Ranch Store & Grill. “It’s a wonderful and fun way to bring the community together, and we’re excited to introduce our new line of Ulupalakua Ranch branded food products on this special day!”

For more information, visit www.shakapopsmaui.com/chili.

About Sunday Drive events at Ulupalakua

Ulupalakua hosts twice-yearly Sunday Drive events to share and honor different aspects of this unique historic area. Each event features live music on the beautiful grounds of Maui’s Winery, lunch specials at Ulupalakua Ranch Store, complimentary wine tasting, and opportunities to learn more about the area’s history and culture.

For more information about Sunday Drive events, call toll-free (877) 878-6058. To learn more about Ulupalakua, please visit www.mauiwine.com or www.ulupalakuaranch.com.


PLEASE KOKUA and support Ulupalakua! Help us keep these events free and open to the public by patronizing the Tasting Room and Ranch Store and by respecting our rules: NO DOGS (for the safety and comfort of all), NO COOLERS (purchase your delicious meal and drinks here in Ulupalakua!) & NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL (county liquor laws are very strict). Mahalo!


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Time for Ulupalakua Sunday Drive. Enjoy Ulupalakua Sparkles 2011

Maui’s Winery and Ulupalakua Ranch Store invite the public to come on up to Upcountry Maui for “Ulupalakua Sparkles” on Sunday, December 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (I am posting this Saturday night, so that’s tomorrow.  You might be reading this on Sunday, that mean it’s today for you :) )

This festive event rings in the holidays in true Hawaiian style: with entertainment by award-winning musicians; mouth-watering food; free wine tasting; and a chance to shop for only-on-Maui gifts for the whole ‘ohana. The ranch store and winery will offer the biggest specials of the year on all branded merchandise, wines and locally made items.

Giving Grammy-winning sparkle to the day will be slack key guitar master Jeff Peterson, performing together with Nathan Aweau. The two will premier their brand new album “Mamo,” not yet released in the U.S. but available for the first time at this special event! The CD features Hawaiian music with jazz interpretations, ranging from hula classics to original songs. One of Hawai‘i’s most versatile and talented musicians, Peterson is the son of an Ulupalakua Ranch paniolo, with music that reflects his passion for his heritage. Formerly a member of Hawaiian supergroup HAPA, Aweau has been named three times as Na Hōkū Hanohano “Male Vocalist of the Year.” Peterson and Aweau will perform on the winery grounds from noon to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.

More Maui talent will shine with respected Kumu Hula Uluwehi Guerrero and Gale Wisehart leading Maui’s Community Choir, Na Leo Lani O Maui, in concert from 1 to 2 p.m. Guerrero’s Halau Hula Kauluokala will add the language of dance to this gift of Hawaiian culture.

And it wouldn’t be the holidays without Christmas carols by the keiki! Seventh- and eighth-graders from the Samuel E. Kalama Intermediate SchoolUkulele Band of Makawao will perform holiday favorites at 11 a.m., with a special appearance by the sixth-grade semester band. The young musicians are led by director Benny Uyetake, another talented local favorite who will perform at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store from noon to 3 p.m. He will also be singing “Mary Did You Know” with Teri Garrison  on this event.

Shoppers at “Ulupalakua Sparkles” will find plenty of uniquely Maui gift ideas: like the 2009 Plantation Red Maui County Syrah, a limited estate wine made from Syrah grapes handpicked from the slopes of Haleakala, offered for a final tasting on this day. To enhance the shopping spirit, both the winery and ranch store will offer 25 percent off all logo wear and made-on-Maui items!

And what could gift could say “Maui” more than a sweet Maui Gold Pineapple, shipped straight from the field home to friends and family? Hali‘imaile Pineapple Company will provide samples, sales and information about their juicy product (which just happens to be the source of Maui’s Winery pineapple wines!).

Maui Cattle Company will also be on hand, serving up the Ranch’s famous Ulupalakua Steak Chili and Chow Fun. Formed in 2002 by a group of local ranchers, the company prides itself on all-natural, premium Angus beef that is raised on Maui and full of flavor.

The good grinds continue inside Ulupalakua Ranch Store Deli & Grill, with burger specials (try the Ulupalakua Elk Burger); sandwich specials (grilled marinated veggie and roasted sliced beef); plate lunches (beef brisket and sweet-and-sour pork made with Maui Gold Pineapple); salads and more, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other treats include delicious offerings from graduates of the Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows Program, a leadership program at University of Hawai‘i Maui College. Proceeds benefit the program.

With amazing food, fun, shopping and music, Dec. 4 is sure to be a day that sparkles!

“We look forward to sharing the Ulupalakua holiday spirit with everyone at this very special event!” says Paula Hegele, president of Maui’s Winery.

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The Lavender Farm Summer Festival


Photo by Peter Liu ( @Peterliu47 )

Ali`i Kula Lavender building stronger communities through their Sustainable Aloha Summer Fest!

Kula, Maui –  Ali`i Kula Lavender (AKL) will hold its first Sustainable Aloha Summer Fest, a day of activities in sustainability, education and culture, to be held on July 9th, Saturday from 9a to 2pm at the Lavender Farm in Kula.

There will be a showcase of Hawaii’s most talented entertainers headlining this event, with Hawaii’s Song Bird Emma Veary,  soulful vocalist Paula Fuga, Grammy Award winner, George Kahumoku and Song Legend, Brother Noland.  There will also be a performance by halau, Wehiwehi o Leilehua directed by Kumu Hula,  Gordean Bailey and a spirited performance by Isle of Maui Pipe Band.

A range of interactive activities to educate while encouraging more sustainable living will be offered.  Slow Foods Maui will share how to bake using locally sourced ingredients, Maui Electric will have energy saving tips, Maui Humane Society will raise our awareness on taking care of our pets during a disaster, Community Work Day will demonstrate how easy and creative it is to recycle our trash with their rendition of the “Art of Trash, “and finally AKl will offer “build your own terrarium” that will have a contained eco-system that waters itself.  Fun, easy and a beautiful take home gift!

Noho`ana farms in Waikapu, will offer their knowledge of how to pound your own poi.  Maui Cultural Lands will also be on hand to share creative ways to restore nature while creating balance in our everyday lives with useful items, such as bookmarks made from native plants and seeds.

Is it time to replace some of those water thirsty plants with drought loving lavender? The Lavender Farm will have its first plant sale of various lavender varieties grown on the farm, along with colorful succulents and other plants.  Pots & plants will all be on sale for 20% off.  Garden enthusiasts are encouraged to go early for best selection.

Nothing tastes better than eating local favorites in the great outdoors. Favorites such as spam musubi’s , Kalua pork,, Teri chicken and Stir fry vegetable bentos and hot dogs , fresh fruit smoothies, delicious lavender lemon tarts, onolicious kettlecorn, cotton candy, refreshing shave ice and ice cold beverages all day long.

Sustainable Aloha is a grassroots movement of socially and culturally responsible people who choose to take action (big & small) to sustain and nurture themselves, their family, their community and the planet, through act of Aloha.  AKL’s movement is driven by a deep belief that Aloha connects all living things and when acting within its value center, the result is a sustainable and beneficial way of life that creates possibilities and opportunities for everyone.  Ali`i Kula Lavender believes that Sustainable Aloha is a lifestyle that builds stronger communities through collaboration and cultural values.  The entire days activities will be dedicated to Alii Chang, founder, farmer, and visionary who passed on April 13, 2011.  This celebration will be a tribute to his legacy.

Admission will be $3 per person with children 5 years and younger at no charge.  Directions to the farm can be found at  www.aklmaui.com or by calling 808-878-3004.


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10 Things To Do On Maui

Ocean on Maui

1. Beach. This one is probably obvious, but the option of the beach can easily be taken for granted. Time at the beach, whether a long leisurely day with a cooler full of snacks or just an hour splashing around in the water, is always time well spent. A packed cooler, an umbrella or a shady tree and some sunscreen can be enough to keep kids (and adults) of all ages content to spend the whole day lounging at the shore. Even a quick jump in the ocean can wash away the stress of the day and do wonders for the soul.

Hiking On Maui2. Hike. Hiking on Maui is a great way to get the exercise we all say we need. Puu Olai aka Red Hill in Makena is challenging but the reward of a sweeping ocean view is well worth it- just don’t forget shoes! Waihe’e Ridge Trail is also a great work out and provides amazing vistas of the ocean, green valleys and waterfalls in the distance. Or if you want to get out of the hot sun, take a few hours to walk under the shade of the trees at the Makawao Forest Reserve.

3. Eat. Many posts could be devoted to just this one, and beloved, topic. Maui is well known for a variety of mouth-watering establishments from plate lunch to fine dining. One of the best aspects of dining on Maui is the relaxed island attitude that can be found in just about every restaurant. From oceanfront fine dining to a simple container of poke, there’s sure to be something for every price range and craving.

4. Paddleboard. This activity has recently caught on like wildfire. If you drive by the beach in the morning, chances are you will see at least on paddleboarder out there. Paddleboarding can be as challenging or relaxing as you like, and it is a fantastic way to get out on the water and get in a little exercise.

5. Lahaina. If you’re in need of some gifts, souveniers or just a little people watching, then head up to Lahaina. Art galleries, historic buildings, restaurants and shops are all nestled together along the shore. Take your time to stroll around the Banyan Tree, check out the Old Courthouse and duck into a few shops.

Ulupalakua Winery6. Upcountry. When you just need a day off from the beach then a trip upcountry is your cure. The cooler climate can be a especially welcome change if you have had a bit too much sun. A day upcountry would not be complete without stops at Ali’i Kula Lavendar Farm, Ulupalakua Winery and General Store and the Farmers Market on Kula Highway.

7. Pa’ia. This charming and eclectic town is home to some of Maui’s most distinct shops and best restaurants. There is something for everyone within the few short blocks of Pa’ia. Watch the surfers at Pai’ia Bay or check out the dozens of unique shops and work up an appetite because every restaurant in this town is guaranteed to satisfy.

bamboo forest8. Hana. If you are in need of a little breathing room then Hana is the perfect setting. The lush greenery, rugged shoreline and slower pace of life will remind you to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. The drive itself is an adventure. Take your time, stop to hike and enjoy the scenery.

9. Whale Watch/Boat Trip. Being on the ocean and taking in the view of the islands is one of the best things you can do on Maui. And there are few experiences that compare with being on the ocean off of Maui and close to a whale. No matter how long you have lived here, the return of the humpback whales is always an exciting time. Whale watch, snorkel or sunset cruise, being on a boat in the waters off of Maui is a true luxury that everyone should experience at least once.

10. Sunset. One of the most simple yet rewarding things to do on Maui is to just stop and take in the sunset. The day is always magically improved by taking a few minutes to just watch the blue sky fade into jewel tones and see the sun slip into the horizon.

Sunset on Maui

*This post is written by our guest blogger, Justine Volk. She’s a wonderful friend and very talented young lady. She will be co-blogging with me here at A Maui Blog and I am very happy about that. Stay tuned for more helpful and fu posts from her. Aloha!

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