Laulima Farms: Maui, green and wild

30 October 09

| Smoothies in Paradise |

Bicycle blender at Laulima Farms in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii, USA

Most people venture into the ever-greener wilds past Hāna on Maui to check out the pools of Ohe‘o Gulch or Charles Lindbergh’s grave. We go for organic fruit smoothies whipped up in a bicycle-powered blender. Or for a cup of smooth, shade-grown coffee, brewed from biodynamic/organic beans roasted that very morning; they were dried on a trampoline in a Bucky Fuller dome with help from a solar-powered fan. (Make mine with a splash of coconut milk, please.)

Anti-GMO sign at Laulima Farms in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii, USA

How ’bout THEM bananas?

You’re in Kipahulu at the roadside stand of Laulima Farms, the most beautiful middle of nowhere you’ve ever seen. Look around. Sloping upward from the too-cute stand, this is the epitome of alive, a natural riot of food-in-the-making, flowers, butterflies, and pollinating bees. At a nearby pond, ducks make snacks of slugs and other garden pests. Because you’re on the gentle haunches of Mt. Haleakalā, you’re in a United Nations biosphere reserve. The good folks of Kipahulu have also declared it a GMO-free zone.

It was all guava and cane grass, recalls Josh Stearn, the farm’s manager, when it was purchased by his family. Laulima means “many hands together,” and that’s what it took to transform these 13 acres. Most of the labor, then and now, comes from interns who trade use of their hands for the chance to live in this beautiful place. Today they’re harvesting all kinds of leafy greens and tasty veggies, herbs, roots like ginger and turmeric, tropical fruits (including 8 varieties of banana), cacao, not to mention the awesome coffee. Nearby Hotel Hāna-Maui, a green oasis of a much tonier sort, buys tons of this bounty; the rest is sold at the farm.

Talking story, promoting permaculture

Laulima Farms roadside stand in Kipahulu, Maui, Hawaii, USA

Roadside stand: beautiful middle of nowhere

All power flows from solar panels, the wind, or a back-up generator that runs on veggie oil (as do the farm’s vehicles and motorized equipment, including the small coffee roaster). Plantings are done permaculture style-permanent agriculture—to minimize energy use, human and otherwise. Ground cover, for instance, is the low, quickly spreading peanut plant, which need no mowing and puts lots of nitrogen back into the soil. The farm stand is a local gathering spot for talking story, checking out crafts by local artisans, and bulletin boards with flyers and newspaper articles about organic agriculture and sustainability. There are even weekly farm tours.

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  • David Rivera

    Felicitaciones, excelente!!!

  • gtg2009

    Ron, the last time we were there, they sold fruit and veggies … no milk. Please let us know if you find out differently.

  • Ron Akre

    Just wanted to know if you sold milk (whole milk) We live in Makawao

  • Max

    Hi, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work!

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