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.
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

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!

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.