Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ono Organic Farms - Maui - Hawaii

Ono Organic Farms
A couple of weeks ago at the Maui Swap Meet we stumbled upon a treasure. The sign said "Ono Organic Farms" and we were delighted to meet Chuck Boerner, owner of the Farm. He told us that his family has farmed organically in the lush jungle environment of Hana for more than thirty years.

A wonderful spread of exotic tropical fruits were displayed before our eyes, and while sampling star fruit, rambutan, passion fruit, papaya and avocado, to name a few, we learned more about Ono Organice Farms.


Chuck told us that their farm is about the only place on Maui to find papayas (and other foods) that have not been derived from GMOs (genetically modified organisms). We were happy to hear this because we believe that buying organic food is the only road to optimum health, and finding a place on Maui that we can depend on is very comforting. As Chuck so aptly puts it on their website. "The key to our wealth is our health" He states that they have been growing and eating organic foods for 60 years, and have raised 5 children on their farm.

There was a photo showing an aerial view of the 50 acre, certified organic farm. Banana trees (300 per letter) make up the Ono Farms sign.

If you decide to drive to Hana you can go on one of their tasting tours and sample exotic fruits such as star-fruit, rambutan, cherimoya, chocolate persimmon, sweet gourmet guava, jack fruit and more.

If you don't make it to the farm they offer farm fresh organic coffee, jams, jellies and tropical fruits at their fruit stand next to the gas station in Hana, Sunday through Thursday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Every Saturday you can find them at the Swap Meet in Kahului from 6:30 AM to 1:30 PM in the Maui Community College parking lot.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to experience the wonderful flavor of fresh, organic, exotic tropical fruits, chocolate and coffee. For more information visit the website of Ono Organic Farms.

Needless to say we went home laden down with healthy produce in our shopping bags.

We will definitely be going on their taste tour in the New Year so stay tuned for our next blog on this topic.  Last time we went to Hana we stayed overnight at the  Hana Aloha Hale, and found that we had much more time to explore the area. We will probably stay there again or choose from some other Hana Vacation Rentals.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa Arrives on Malauka Beach, Maui Via Canoe

We get the Maui News delivered and every Thursday a supplementary paper called Maui Scene is included in the bundle that lands with a smack on our doorstep anywhere between 3:30 AM and 4:30 AM. I know this because I am often awake at these ungodly hours wondering if sweet dreams will finally come. This past Thursday as I was reading through the coming events for the week, a headline caught my eye. "Santa Arrives On Malauka Beach Via Canoe". Well by now you know we are Canadians, so a sleigh and reindeer are the only vehicles that Santa can use to navigate our snowy territory. What fun it would be to see Santa arrive by outrigger canoe on a tropical island. It was a unanimous decision between Les and myself that we attend this event, but first where is Malauka Beach? I am getting very good at using google maps for this and that and discovered that a beach that we called "Our Secret Beach" years ago was actually Malauka Beach, located in front of the now Makena Beach and Golf Resort which used to be the Maui Prince Hotel.


After a few wrong turns we found parking for the beach and made our way down the brick walkway.

A few families were gathered on the beach, looking out to sea and trying to determine which vessel carried Santa. It was soon pretty obvious as an outrigger turned toward the shore and made its way directly to where we waited on the beach.

We were there as the canoe beached and Santa greeted everyone with a "Ho Ho Ho" and how happy he was to be back in beautiful Maui with our beaches and sunshine. Everyone cheered and of course yelled out an Aloha greeting, and the kids lined up in eager anticipation of a meeting with their seasonal hero. After a great rendition of MeleKalikimaka sung by Santa, his two helpers and anyone else who knew the words, it was time to give the kids their treats. Thankyou Alex for sharing your photos, including this one of your beautiful granddaughter.

What a fun way this was to spend a Christmas Eve morning in Maui. Our family and friends back home will get a kick out of our tropical celebrations here this Christmas.
video
By the way, we have heard via the grapevine, that Malauka Beach is one of Maui's best kept secrets. It is a great place to picnic, snorkel, play in the waves, get married, and just soak up the sun. We will be sure to revisit our "secret beach" when our company arrives in January. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fantastic Production of 'The Fantasticks' on Maui

The Fantasticks
Last Friday we were treated to a fantastic show at the Pro Arts Playhouse in the Azeka Shopping Centre in Kihei. 'The Fantasticks'  composed by Harvey Schmidt and lyricist Tom Jones in 1960, is the longest running musical in history, and the seven actors and one actress pulled it off flawlessly. Just to hear the amazing voices of Baritone Bob Wills and soprano Leighanna Locke was worth the price of admission. The comedy parts played by John Peterson and Kalani Whitford were priceless and the improvised sets very cleverly orchestrated. We really enjoyed The Mute, played by James Natividad, who was the Wall among other things. This show is a must see if you enjoy live musical theatre. A week later I am still singing the signature song "Try to Remember"  Thankyou Gord and Joyce for this wonderful early Christmas gift.
A synopsis of the story as seen on the Pro Arts Website is as follows.

Two fathers (Johnathan Lehman and Dale Button)decide that they want their children to fall in love. They decide to stage a mock feud amongst themselves in order to help the boy and girl fall in love. They hire El Gallo (Robert Wills) to stage a mock abduction of the girl, so that the boy can save her, becoming a hero. The boy (Tom Althouse) and girl (Leighanna Locke) fall deeply in love, but soon realize the feud was staged. Their love fades away. Later, after both children experience a little life experience on their own they reunite once again with much less drama. Features such great tunes as Try to Remember, Soon It's Gonna Rain, and I Can See It.
It is not too late to attend this great show and they even offer gift certificates. The next performances will be
January 7 - 16. Hint: The seating is reserved so book early and get a front row seat if you can!!!! For more information visit the website of Pro Arts Playhouse. The Fantasticks was produced by Jonathan Lehman and Doug Kendrick.

Find some great Maui Vacation Rentals for your base as you take in the magic of Maui this holiday season.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our Christmas Tree - Then Canada - Now Maui

Christmas in Canada
I remember the days back home in Canada when we would don our winter clothes and go hiking in the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree.

After they stopped letting you cut down trees on crown land we would go up to the Indian Reservation and buy from the 1st Nations People, the biggest tree possible for safe transport.

The hardest part was tying it onto the car, fingers numb with cold, and wondering if our knots would hold for the bumpy journey home.



Our twins when they were little


Our tree was always the focal point of our living room during Christmas and the wonderful pine fragrance that would fill the house now fills our memory.

Things have changed dramatically since those days when our kids were little, because now we are retired and spend our winters here on Maui.



Our Maui Christmas Tree

We know there are live trees to buy here on Maui, but for us it is more convenient to just go to the attic and take out our special, garage sale bought, 6 ' artificial one.


Most of our decorations are Hawaiian style that we have purchased from local crafts people over the years. You may want to read the blog about the huge Maui Swap Meet that is held in Kahului every Saturday morning.

This is a great place to find all kinds of seasonal decorations and gifts.  Here are just  some of our favourite Maui Christmas decorations.





Little Hula Girl



Little Hula GirlHawaiian GrannyHawaiian Granny

Nativity in a Gourd
Nativity Scene in a Gourd
Hawaiian BoyHawaiian Boy
Would love to hear about your Favourite Christmas tree, then, now or both.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Maui Salvation Army Christmas Red Kettle Campaign

Starbucks in Kihei, Maui
Yesterday after talking with the lads selling Friendly Xmas Trees in the Piilani Village Shopping Centre, I decided to treat myself to a peppermint mocha latte, one of my favourite seasonal drinks from Starbucks. As I relaxed at one of the tables outside Safeway, a familiar sound which I remember from Christmases in  Canada, caught my attention. It was a Salvation Army bell-ringer not only ringing his bell, but greeting everyone who passed him with a friendly "Aloha", or "How are you folks today?". The Maui bell ringer was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt, a stark difference from our Canadian volunteers who shiver in the bitter cold all day long, woolen scarves wrapped snugly around their necks.
I have always admired the Salvation Army for the work they do and was happy to see the organization alive and well on Maui.
Maui local Nelson Verzosa volunteers for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign

As I made my donation I struck up a conversation with the friendly young man.  He told me his name was Nelson and that he was born and raised on Maui. I asked him what made him volunteer for this job, which requires standing for hours on end ringing a bell and hoping people will put a donation into your kettle. 
Nelson then proceeded to tell me that he had been a drug addict and homeless person, until he decided to turn his own life around.  He did this without help, because he realized that all the beautiful things in life were passing him by. He admitted that he had even lost his family during those bad times. Because the Salvation Army does so much on Maui towards helping the homeless, it was a no-brainer that he give some of his time to help out this worthy cause.

He then told me that the Salvation Army was helping him go to college in January, where he is going to study Culinary Arts and fulfill his dream of becoming a chef. Nelson had no qualms about me sharing his story with my readers, and was happy to tell me that now he is clean, he has his family back and is on the verge of a new and exciting life.

On Nov 25, 2010, Maui News staff writer Claudine San Nicholas wrote an article 'Expect Change' with donations. The article gives you statistics on what the previous year's collections during their Red Kettle Campaign helped pay for on Maui. Helping the homeless was high on their list including donations of 88,995 hot meals, 15,687 hygiene kits and 32,281 food bags for homeless people.  They also give financial assistance to needy families as well as many other charitable endeavors.

For me it was uplifting to meet Nelson, and hear his story. It just shows what you can do if you are determined enough to make positive changes in your life. I wish him much Aloha and expect to see him as a well known Maui chef one of these days in the future.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Where to find Live Christmas Trees on Maui

Friendly Xmas Trees
Today I set out to find signs of Christmas on Maui, and came up with lots of ideas for my Christmas season blogs.
My first stop was at the the Piilani Village Shopping Centre in Kihei. Here before my eyes was a venue selling live Christmas trees set amidst palm trees below blue sunny skies. Can there really be Christmas tree farms on this tropical island I thought to myself? I decided to go and talk to the lads who were selling the trees.
Anthony Friend on right with his assistant on left
As I approached the area where the trees were displayed I was hit with nostalgia for a Canadian Christmas as the wonderful fragrance of fir filled my senses. They call themselves Friendly Xmas Trees, rightfully so, because it turns out that Anthony 's last name is Friend, and his family has been selling Christmas trees on Maui for the last 29 years.

The trees are grown on their farm in Oregon and they harvest from 50,000 to 70,000 trees per year mainly to be sold wholesale on the mainland. Some are shipped to Maui as a sideline enterprise, and offers them a tropical vacation as a bonus. I asked about their re-planting stategy and Anthony told me that for every tree cut down, 3 more are planted. Friendly Xmas Trees sell three different varieties of Fir trees, namely Douglas, Noble and Grand, which is a hybrid cross of Noble and Douglas and the most fragrant of all . The trees range in price from $20 and up, so there is a tree for every lifestyle, every budget and every home.
A percentage of sales goes to the Boys and Girls Club

A heartwarming feature of this company is that a percentage of all sales goes to the Boys and Girls Club, so if you want to support a good cause and experience a real live Christmas tree, it is not to late to find them at the Piilani Village Mall on Pikea street, Kihei.

I did find out that Maui has a couple of Christmas tree farms of their own, both located upcountry in Kula. If you prefer pine trees to fir and want to support a Maui business, The Kula Botanical Garden has been selling home grown Monterey pine trees since 1974.

Stay tuned for more signs of Christmas on Maui.

If you are not here yet and need a vacation home for your winter getaway go to Ideal Vacation Rentals- Maui.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mahalo for an Unforgettable Maui Vacation - I Miss Maui

Kaanapali
Here is a nice way of saying Mahalo from Travelin' Pat, a recent guest at our Maui Garden House.

I woke up this morning and found myself checking the temperature on the computer and being slightly depressed that it wasn’t going to be warm.

I miss Maui where everyday the weather is wonderfully the same. When I was there the days looked like this - 82,82,82,82,82,81,82,82. Paradise can be soo predictable.

I miss Maui when I think back to 5:15 pm and me trying to run as smoothly as possible while heading to the beach to watch the sun go down. I say running smoothly because I didn’t want to spill any of the red wine I had in my hand! You haven’t lived until you have had a glass of wine while watching a fabulous Hawaiian sunset!

Upcountry MauiI miss Maui where venturing out in the big white Cadillac, snaking along the narrow road up to cooler weather and green green hills, I was treated to unbelievable vistas. What a terrific day trip we had going Upcountry Maui to the Ali Kula Lavender farm and Tedeschi winery.



Wailea Beach Walk
I miss Maui and the morning walks along the ocean reading in the afternoon without feeling guilty, enveloped in the warm tropical air.  In the background are the calls of the ever- present Myna birds and melodic songs of cardinals, making it impossible to feel stressed, not to mention the scent of the flowers that seem to follow me everywhere.
Hong Kong Orchid Tree
Speaking of flowers I miss Maui and happy hour on the lanai of the Kihei Maui Garden House gazing out at the lovely grounds overflowing with plumeria, hibiscus, gardenias, all kinds of palms and a hugely impressive Hong Kong orchid tree.

I miss Maui and the annual pilgrimage to the Maui Friends of the Library book store to stock up on my holiday reading material and my fun experience of doing a Zumba class for the first time. I miss day tripping to Lahaina….. I just plain ol miss it there!

PlumeriaGuess I'd better get in touch with Ideal vacation Rentals and plan my next trip back!

Mahalo
Travelin' Pat

Monday, December 6, 2010

Maui Pops Orchestra Holiday Concert - A Review

It is hard getting used to Christmas in Maui after living in Canada almost all my life, where I didn't just have to dream of a white Christmas. It was for real. Have you ever tried to dream of snow while sitting on the beach in tropical surrounds, listening to the gentle lapping of waves on the shore and watching children play in the sand? It is next to impossible.
A few years ago we discovered that the secret for getting into the Christmas spirit in Maui is music, the most uplifting remedy in the world for whatever ails you.
Yesterday afternoon we attended the Maui Pops Orchestra Holiday concert at the MACC and as soon as they started to play a medley of Christmas favourites we were hooked on the season. During the first half of the program the music included 'White Christmas', 'The Christmas Song', 'Winter Wonderland', 'Ave Maria' and a lovely medley from 'The King and I'. You may ask how the 'The King and I' fits into Christmas. I guess it doesn't but it has been my favourite musical since I was twelve, so I loved it and had to restrain myself from breaking out in song from my balcony seat. James Durham, the very talented conductor told us that the song 'Getting to Know You' was originally written for 'South Pacific', but it didn't fit so Rodgers, the composer, put it on the shelf until he wrote "The King and I" which was a perfect match for the song. A tidbit I never knew before.
In the second half of the program the Orchestra was joined by the Honolulu Symphony Chorus and we were treated to 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', and a medley called 'The Many Moods of Christmas'. The grand finale was excerpts from Handel's 'Messiah', ending with the famous 'Hallelujah Chorus'. Since my husband and I have been choristers for years, we were with them with every note and every word, me in alto and he in bass. The magical combination of the Honolulu Chorus and the Maui Pops Orchestra did it all justice, and after resounding applause, the conductor jokingly announced that he liked to think that he was "renting to buy" this great group of singers who paid their own airfares to Maui for this special event. Dr. Esther Yoo, the Artistic Director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus, was in attendance and made an appearance on the stage for bows at the end of the concert.
The concert ended with a Mitch Miller style sing-a-long of Christmas carols. James Durham told us that years ago, Mitch was a friend of his and the one thing he learned from him was to tell the audience to make sure they followed his stick. We certainly did, mostly because he is such a dynamic conductor and was hard to resist.
Now fully in the Christmas spirit we headed home and with joy in our hearts resolved that the next day we would put up our tree and decorate the house for the season!

To find out about upcoming Maui Pops Orchestra concerts visit their website.

If you are coming to Maui between May and November of next year, you may want to make our lovely Maui Garden House your vacation home.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

History of The Pioneer Inn - Lahaina, Maui

While enjoying a yummy breakfast with my friend at Lahaina's historic Pioneer Inn, we happened to glance at the back of the menu which told quite a colourful story, dating back to 1901, the year that President William McKinley was shot and succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

As the saga goes, a 6 foot-five 300 pound Englishman named George Freeland, came to Hawaii as a Royal Canadian Mountie with instructions to "get his man". I guess the venture failed so in order to avoid embarrassment back home in Vancouver, he decided to make Hawaii his new hale.
Somehow he managed to convince some local citizens to put up the money in stock shares so he could form "The Pioneer Hotel Co. Ltd." He then went on to build the plantation style hotel after a likeness of a similar structure on the island of Lanai.
This was a time of transition in Maui, when sugar plantations replaced the whaling industry as the primary source of income.
There is much more to the story, so if you want to read all about it, consider eating a meal or staying in this very historic building located at the ocean's edge of Lahaina Harbor in downtown Lahaina.

The old Plantation Inn now operates under "Best Western" offering 34 rooms. The restaurant provides breakfast, lunch, pupus and dinner and is a favourite eating spot in the heart of Lahaina. The manager, Mr. Guerrera was happy to pose for us in front of the restaurant. For more information visit the website of The Pioneer Inn.

You might want to make your base in a local Maui Vacation Rental when you explore Lahaina and area.

Please do not copy any articles or photos from Maui Vacation Guide without obtaining written permission.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Zumba Fitness in Kahului Maui

When my friend Lucy invited me to a special Thanksgiving Day Zumba class this morning I didn't know what I was getting in for except that I had to drag myself out of bed bleary eyed at 6:30 to be at her house in Wailuku at 7:30. After a protein shake to sustain us, we piled into her van but not before she had lent me a special skirt that she said I must wear during the class. The skirt looked something like belly dancer attire, with coin shaped silver bangles all over it. In a daze I tied it around my middle and I guess was all set to wiggle my hips and jingle.

As we made our way to the YMCA, Lucy filled me in on what Zumba was all about. Apparently celebrity fitness trainer "Beto" Perez stumbled on the concept of a fitness approach inspired by Latin music. The story goes that one day he arrived at his class, and realized he had forgotten his music, so he settled for some latin tapes that were handy. He improvised the whole class based on traditional latin dances such as the salsa, cha cha and merengue. From this idea, Zumba, a new revolutionary fitness program was born. Some entrepreneurs started a company that promoted a global Zumba fitness philosophy and voila, it is now here on Maui. Instructors have to take a qualifying course and learn all the universal Zumba steps and dances.
The room was crowded, mainly because it was a special Thanksgiving class and anyone could go as long as they donated canned goods to the food bank.



As Lucy and I crammed ourselves into a corner at the back of the room, the music started up and I desperately tried to follow the steps without hitting the person next to me. We did dance after dance and what a work out it was, with quick breaks for a drink and a much needed hasty wipe off with a towel. I have to say that I was enjoying myself so much and realized that as long as I was moving it didn't really matter if I missed a step or turned the wrong way. I was getting EXERCISE. I have to admit though, that it was a relief when the teacher announced that it was cool down time.
After class Lucy introduced me to the instructor Jean Nagata-Sevilla, who is the Health and Wellness Director at the Maui Family YMCA.

I found out that Zumba is one of many different classes that are offered there, including water aerobics, different types of Yoga, Pilates, Body Sculpting, Power Step, Cardio/Sculpt and more. If you are on a Maui vacation and miss your weekly exercise you can drop in for just $10.00 and if you know someone already in the class you can go 3 times as their guest for free.  Please watch the fun video I took of the class below.



video

Zumba classes are held Monday and Wednesday 7:00 - 8:00 AM and 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, Thursday 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM and 5:15 PM - 6:15 PM, and Friday 8:00 - 9:00 AM and 5:30 to 6:30 PM.

For more information visit the YMCA Website

Make your base for Zumba at a Maui Vacation Rental

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kool Time in Upcountry Maui

A huge Mahalo to Travelin' Pat for another great Maui day trip.

Self imposed mandatory walk complete, next on the agenda is an excursion upcountry to Kula Lodge. It is 3000 feet in elevation in a lovely garden setting. I have to admit though, I felt a bit chilly way up there. However it’s a neat place with a restaurant, chalets, a nifty market place and an art gallery featuring local artist Curtis Wilson.
Onward and upward we go and on impulse turn and head to the Alii Kula Lavender farm. It's nestled on the slopes of the Haleakala crater and if I thought it was getting nippy before, add 1000 more feet and my first thought was to rush straight to the gift store and buy a sweatshirt. Alas all they had for sale was every kind of lavender gift you could think of (they grow 45 different varieties) plus an enticing lavender and scone tea. In my mind it is a pretty “cool” spot to see.
Finally, we wind our way along the narrow road toward our last stop, the Tedeschi winery. This time we lose some elevation, now we are down to 2000 feet and all thoughts of buying warmer clothing have vanished from my mind. The air-conditioning comes back on and we drive through astonishingly pretty green hills reminiscent of parts of England. The views are almost too spectacular because with that big ol car of ours too much gawking at the view can be a dangerous thing! Anyway bellied up to the bar for the free wine samples, we tasted a refreshing chardonnay, a fruity red blend and their unique pineapple wine. Happy as heck we head home.

An hour later we are sitting on the ocean shore, glass in hand enjoying the Maui sunset and congratulating ourselves for being so clever as to choose to come to Maui for a vacation.

Make a Maui Vacation Rental your base when you explore Upcountry Maui.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Maui West Side - A Day Trip to Lahaina and Kaanapali

Today I'd like to share with you another article by our friend,Travelin' Pat, who just spent a week with us here in Maui.
Floating along in our gi-normous white 96 Cadi, tropical air blowing in our faces, excitedly we made our way toward Lahaina. On one side the ocean sparkled brightly, car pullouts appear here and there, a perfect view stop for the tourists keen to see a glimpse of whales or have a good look at distant islands. On the mountain side an ancient lava rock wall defines the old road to Lahaina, inviting us to drift back in time and imagine what it must have been like for the old Japanese fellow who travelled daily from Wailuku with his truck loaded with produce. Quite the journey on a rough road with the dust trailing behind and air conditioning still a thing of the future.
Lahaina, once the centre of the 19th c. whaling industry, still retains the flavor of days past. After poking through the shops we climb up to the Cool Cat Café, a 50s themed diner where we luck out with a perfect view seat enabling us to not only see the water but also to gaze down at the gigantic banyan tree that shades the always interesting weekly local arts and crafts bazaar. 
Next off we go to one of my favorite beaches at the Kahekili Beach Park. We wind our way on our sea- side ramble past the luxury open-air hotels, and past all the ensuing action along the way. Talk about lots of things to do! We pass windsurfing lessons, condo sellers, water sliders, bathing beauties, exercisers, massage therapists, paddle boarders, scuba divers, snorkelers, golfers, (breathe Pat) whale watchers, sun bathers, divers, walkers, shoppers, and runners. The area tries so hard to cater to their guests that they even have (cough cough) outside designated smoking areas. I had a twinge as I ambled past the Castaway Café wishing maybe I had waited a bit longer and eaten my lunch there feeling the ocean breeze and relaxing by the water.


 We end up at the Hyatt hotel and pay our respects to Roger the resident Parrot, procure a wave from him and make our way back to the park. Back in the cadi fed up, shopped out and exercised nicely we head home. Another fabulous day in Maui.

Make a Maui Vacation Rental your base for exploring Maui West Side.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Cheap Flights to Maui for Spring and Summer Vacation

A Maui Beach
If you are planning a vacation in Maui this Spring or Summer, there are some fantastically cheap flights and seat sales to be had.  There is a site named Kayak, that allows you to search and then compare sites for the best deal. Just for curiosity I did a search for a week in May from Vancouver BC to Maui and saw return flights under 500 per person including all taxes.  From other points in the US they are even cheaper and you can fly to Honolulu for around $350 return.
If you combine a cheap flight with accommodation in one of the many Maui Vacation Rentals, you and your family will enjoy a very affordable Hawaii Spring or Summer holiday. There is a complex called Kihei Garden Estates in central Kihei, which I highly recommend for its great location just steps from the beach.  You can also walk to Times Market, Longs, many boutique shops and a wide variety of restaurants. The Maui Garden House is one of the two bedroom two bath condo in this lovely property. There are also many other Maui Vacation Rentals to choose from, and  because Spring and Summer are considered low season, you are bound to get a good deal. So don't waste any time. Book now for a memorable vacation in paradise!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Maui Monk Seal Causes Traffic Jam

Photo by Jimmie Hepp
On the way to Lahaina yesterday there was a huge line of traffic crawling out of Lahaina. On the way back we found out why. A huge monk seal had beached itself and everyone was stopping to have a look, thus causing a traffic jam. We pulled over to see it and one of the volunteers, told us that the police didn't want people stopping so we had a quite look and moved on. Couldn't get close enough to take photos, so I am using Jimmie Hepp's again. Haven't seen any better that these. Thanks Jimmie. Read more about Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Making Maui Mango Chutney with Friends

mangoes you can pick right off the treeMangoes waiting for chutney
I already knew about the "sunlight on the sand", and "moonlight on the sea", and now I know first hand about the mangoes you can pick right off a tree.Our friends Joyce and Gord have a huge mango tree in their yard, and the fruit was just begging to be made into something delectable. Believe me when Joyce invited me over to have a girls' day making chutney with her and Karen, I couldn't get out of the door fast enough.

Joyce,Karen and Julie chopping ingredients
The process was very straight forward but involved a lot of chopping. I wept with the onions, Joyce burned with the jalapenos, and Karen gingerly carved up the ginger (she fancies herself as a princess so we gave her the least painful job). All this mindless chopping invited lots of lively conversation, and just the odd bit of gossip. Well maybe a little more than the odd bit, but hey we had to pass the time.
Joyce had chopped up the mangos the day before, so now we had to make the syrup. It was easy to turn a blind eye as we dumped in the required 12 cups of sugar because we knew that it would be worth it in the end. I won't show the photo of the mixture boiling over and us cleaning up the mess for at least 1/2 hour after the fact. Luckily it didn't spill on our bare feet. I think we were listening to one of Karen's fascinating stories at the time, and so didn't notice the foam rising out of the pot.
Eventually we were back on track and as the chutney merrily simmered away we enjoyed a wonderful mango smoothie prepared by Joyce in her brand new Vita-mix blender. Yum! Of course we had to relax now after all that chopping and mopping, because the mixture takes 2 hours to cook. We didn't have any choice but to share even more heart warming and tear jerking tales.

Finally the time came for ladling the chutney into the jars. Naturally we had to taste it first and I have to say that it was delicious. In fact so yummy that we decided to share the recipe with our readers. So here it is. Mango chutney straight from the Hawaiian Roadside Fruit Cook Book. Hint: if you make this with friends it tastes so much better! Enjoy!!

Mango Chutney

16 c. sliced green or half-ripe mangoes
1/2 c. Hawaiian salt
12 c. sugar
3 c. vinegar
2 c. light corn syrup
2 c. water
1c. ginger root, chopped fine
1 lb. raisins
6 medium onions chopped into small pieces
2 T garlic, chopped fine
1 T ground cloves
1 T cinnamon
1 T ground nutmeg
1 c. blanched almonds, cut in strips
12 small chili peppers, seeds removed
4 t. salt or to taste
zest of 3 limes
1/2 cup rum

Salt mangoes overnight in Hawaiian salt. When ready to make chutney, rinse. Boil syrup of sugar, vinegar, light corn syrup, water and ginger root for 15 minutes. Add mangoes by the handful to get them covered with syrup. Add remaining ingredients except rum. Cook 1.5 to 2 hours or until chutney is thick and mangoes are tender (not mushy). Stir every 10 to 15 minutes to prevent burning. Add the rum toward the end of the cooking time and mix well. Pour into hot serilized jars. Seal with paraffin.