Maui’s beaches and sightseeing are indeed spectacular, but there’s an entirely different experience waiting should you decide to visit gorgeous Upcountry near Haleakala. It’s about 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the island, a little cloudy, and the perfect break from sun and sand. Stretching across Maui’s southern and eastern coastline, Haleakala National Park houses Maui’s highest peak. Rising approximately 10,o00 feet above sea level, Haleakala’s slopes can be seen from just about any point on the island. Haleakala means “house of the sun” in Hawaiian, and legend says that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last longer. In addition to being a tourist magnet for mountain-top sunrises, the fertile slopes are home to ranches, botanical gardens and farms with breathtaking views. We visited three of these places and it made for a really fun day off the beaten path.
Nestled in the community of Kula, O’o Farm consists of eight sustainably maintained and biodynamically cultivated acres. The farm is the result of the owner’s commitment to providing high-quality, local produce for their Maui restaurants in order to deliver a true farm to table experience for diners seeking to participate in the slow food movement. In 2000, Louis Coulombe and Stephan Bel-Robert purchased mostly undeveloped land with a small citrus and stone fruit orchard and a few coffee trees. Today, O’o farm is maturing with more coffee trees, fuju persimmons, white sapote (tropical pear), five varieties of lemon, lime, tangerine, tangello, pomello, mandarin oranges, plums, figs, cherries, avocados, berries, kaffir lime, buddhist palm, almonds, loquat, peaches, Maui onions, and more. They recently added a few chickens. The farm supplies upscale Lahaina eateries Pacific’O, I’O, The Feast at Lele, and Aina Gourmet Market. O’o Farm is also the home of roasting operations for Aina Gourmet Coffee. Aina is a single-origin coffee offering unique characteristics derived from the land, and in their own words, offering Aloha in every cup.