Tag: Hawaiian food

Goodbye to Maui sugar cane!

The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company announced today that they will be shutting down commercial sugar cane operations on Maui by the end of 2016. This is huge news for Maui. A&B (Alexander and Baldwin) operates the State’s largest farm (HC&S) with 36,000 acres under cultivation. They also operate the last remaining sugar cane factory in Hawai’i (just outside Kahului). Check out the Sugar Museum for more information about sugar cane but also Maui’s history – the farm has been in operation for 145 years.

sugar cane
green lush sugar cane growing in Maui’s Central Valley

Sugar cane farming has become very controversial on Maui. On the one side there are those with asthma and health problems whose health is directly affected by the sugar cane burning. On the other side are those who see sugar cane as an important part of Maui’s history, culture and economy. As an outsider it is better not to get involved and to keep opinions to oneself as both sides are very vocal and passionate.

According to today’s press release, HC&S plans to lay off half their employees and try other crops. It will be interesting to see how the irrigated green Central Maui valley changes. Towards Lahaina there are many deserted former cane and pineapple fields that have been laying bare for years now, overgrown with Keawe and brown-looking.

On a personal note, when we still had our dairy farm in Chilliwack, BC, we imported molasses from Maui’s sugar mill. The molasses was then mixed into the TMR ration fed to our milking herd. I still remember the big tanker truck full of molasses pulling into our farm yard, filling our large molasses tank. Why feed cows molasses? It’s sweet and made their feed (a mixture of grass and corn silage, alfalfa, hay, grains and minerals) taste better. In turn they ate more and then produced more milk. (I am a city slicker – when I first married Sig and became involved in the farm I was surprised at just how scientific farming really is).

Back to the sugar cane, it’s the end of an era. I hope the new business venture will be economically feasible while giving those with asthma the much-sought relief they have sought.

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Huli huli chicken

Saturday afternoon I was meal planning while driving home from Lahaina. What to make for dinner? Then a thought crossed my mind! I turned onto South Kihei Road and my nose led me right to Keolahou Congregational Church. Sure enough, the ‘huli huli chicken people’ (not their real name) were there roasting dinner for me! Love it!

What is huli huli chicken? It is specially marinated and then bbqed over keawe wood. The smell is absolutely amazing! I picked up a $12 whole cooked chicken, brought it home where we ate it with rice and a salad. So delicious!

If you see a sign for huli huli chicken, pull over and give it a try! Where to find huli huli chicken? These are pop-up locations. There’s the one by Keolahou church, and then there’s another one on the right side of the road on the way to Lahaina (past the tunnel) with a sign for Lawful Hawaiian Government. I’ve been seeing them on Saturday, but they may be there other days too. When they run out of chicken, they shut down so go around lunch or early afternoon. There used to be one at Kamaole Point (between Kamaole 2 and 3 beaches) in Kihei but I haven’t seen them there in quite some time.

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10th Annual Ukulele Festival on October 11th!

Coming up next week is the 10th annual Ukulele Festival at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. This is a FREE outdoor afternoon (1-6pm) event.

Bring a beach chair, bring your ukulele (optional) and prepare to relax, visit and listen as great Island musicians serenade you with ukulele music! There will be food trucks for you to buy snacks and drinks, and ukulele door prizes!

Also, there will be a free ukulele workshop the day before (Saturday Oct 10th), registration begins at 9am, workshop runs from 10-12pm. This is for kids and adults, beginner to intermediate. Must be able to play the C, F and G7 chords, bring paper and pencil. You will perform at the Ukulele Festival, and there will be a draw for a new ukulele among participants.

Check it out – don’t forget the sunscreen!!

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Pono Pies

A friend was telling me about one of his clients, the baker of Pono Pies. As he was talking, a few other friends walked in and all said – oh, Pono Pies, sooo good.

Seriously? What have I been missing?

Pono Pies are locally made by a guy in Wailuku (the County seat of Maui). This is a small bakery, the main ingredient of his pies being – wait for it – breadfruit! Breadfruit? What is that? Let’s just say a large weird-looking starchy fruit that grows commonly in the South Pacific.

Here’s what his website says about his pies:

In Hawaiian pono means ‘correct, beneficial, done in the right way.’ My pies are made from Breadfruit from Kahanu Gardens in Hana, Macadamia nuts from Waiehu, and tropical blossom honey from Haiku. They contain no dairy, processed sugar, wheat, or any GMO ingredients. This makes for a healthy, satisfying dessert that helps to address the issues of sustainability and food security one bite at a time.

Intrigued? I was…. So I went to Hawaiian Moons (a natural food store in Kihei) and sure enough, they had two types of Pono Pies in their fridge. So I bought both – for the blog, of course! According to my friend, these pies are NOT baked, but set in the fridge. The consistency is creamy like cheese cake, but they contain no dairy.

Of the two, the lilikoi was my definite favorite. It was lemony-tart (lilikoi is tart) and just all-round wonderful. I would love to know what the calorie count on this is, because with the cheese cake consistency it seems really rich and decadent, though reading the ingredients, it’s probably not (after all, it’s healthy, right?)

Here is the ingredient list from the lilikoi pie:
Lilikoi filling: Maui grown breadfruit, lilikoi puree, Maui macadamia nuts, Maui honey, cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, non GMO soy lecithin, salt and vanilla.
Crust: dried coconut, macadamia nuts, cashews, Maui honey, salt.
Most of these ingredients are indicated to be organic. And they are gluten free.

The coffee & chocolate one was good too, but having grown up in Austria, I am quite particular about my chocolate cake.

Looking at their website, I would really like to try the mojito pono pie! Here’s where to find them. And if you go to Hawaiian Moons in Kihei, be sure to bring the Pueo discount card from our condo (if you are staying at one of our condos, that is) for a 10% discount off your entire purchase.

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It’s almost here – Maui’s Big Mother’s Day Event!

We took a drive in upcountry Maui this weekend. It’s my favorite time of year – the purple jacaranda trees are blooming in full force. And while I didn’t get out of the car to take pictures, this one still turned out okay, I think! Isn’t it beautiful?

A beautiful jacaranda tree on the Pukalani golf course

This weekend is one of my favorite Mother’s Day shopping events. It’s the annual Seabury Hall Craft Fair. No, don’t roll your eyes, this isn’t some painful wanna-be swap meet, this is a high caliber fundraiser put on by a prestigious college-prep private school here on Maui. There is something for everyone: the kids fun area with bounce houses, slip-n-slides, face-painting, games etc, the local vendors selling their wonderful things (art, soap, clothes, jewelry etc), the silent auction (one of my favorites, you never know what you’ll find), the food alley…. And it all takes place on the beautiful Seabury Hall campus, underneath their purple jacaranda trees.

Admission is $5/person, kids under 12 get in free, but bring money to buy scrips for the kids’ activities.

So, take a drive, check out upcountry Maui and this fun Mother’s Day event! The bi-coastal views from the campus alone make the drive worth it!

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Save the Date! The Annual Seabury Hall Craft Fair!

42nd Annual Seabury Hall Craft Fair

Have you heard of the Seabury Hall Craft Fair? Oh wow…. this is a treat for the whole family.

The craft fair takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday May 9th from 9am – 4pm at Makawao’s beautiful private school, Seabury Hall.

What to expect? Artists/crafters, a silent auction, bakery sale, food aisles, live entertainment, bouncy castles and slip and slides for the kids, plants/flowers etc. Set upcountry, the weather is a little cooler and you have beautiful views of the valley and ocean. Never mind the purple jacaranda trees on campus – my personal favorite!

Admission is $5/person, kids 12 and under are free. The event is a fundraiser for the school’s scholarship program.

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Maui County Agricultural Festival this Saturday!

This Saturday is the annual Maui County Agricultural Festival at the Maui Tropical Plantation. What do you mean, agriculture isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Maui? You’re probably not the only one.

Nonetheless, we do have a lot of agriculture here on our island. Probably the most noticeable farming is the sugar cane fields along the highway. But don’t forget all the fruit and vegetables that are grown locally (check out the farmer’s markets and swap meet) and the coffee plantations…

This event is being held this Saturday April 4th between 9am-4pm. Admission is $3/adult, children (18 and under are free). There is a keiki (kids) area, petting zoo, live music, food alley, farmer’s market, informational tents etc.

There is also the annual ‘Grand Taste 2015: A bite of Maui‘ event. Twelve of Maui’s top chefs pair with twelve local farmers to create dishes. For $30 you can sample it all (purchase tickets online or, subject to availability, at the event for $40)! One of these days I’m going to try that.

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Ululani’s Shave Ice at Sugar Beach

Yesterday we had an opening between bookings at our Sugar Beach condo. There is some maintenance work Sig needed to do before the next arrival, so he dropped the kids and I off at North Kihei’s shave-ice store (Ululani’s). I’ve heard that this local chain serves some of the best shave-ice on the island, but in all these years have never tried yet. Yesterday was our day.

The line-up was long. But we were in the shade, so it could have been worse.

Turns out, the line-up was worth it. It really was amazing shave-ice. Not crystal-y like it often is, this was very smoothly shaved ice, it was more creamy than ice-y. I tried the No Ka Oi flavor combo (mango, coconut, lilikoi) – it was amazing. I love all the colorful picnic tables with holes in the table-top to balance the color-ful shave-ice cups.

With our shave-ice in hand, we crossed the street and walked about a block along beautiful Sugar Beach back to the condo complex, enjoying our shave-ice and the view.

We rounded out our day with a sunset swim at the beautiful Sugar Beach ocean-front salt-water pool and hot-tub.

Just perfect!

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What is that?

I was visiting a friend this weekend and was introduced to Noni fruit. I’ve seen them before, but honestly, they look weird and as I have never seen them at a farmer’s market, I assumed they weren’t edible.

What is it, I asked. My friend reached up, picked one and handed it to me. She doesn’t know what it tastes like, but tells me that it’s supposed to have many health benefits and that she’s heard people let them rot in a pail and then make juice out of them. Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?

Noni fruit hanging in the tree
the Noni fruit on my cutting board. Do I dare?

The Noni fruit has been sitting in my fruit bowl since Sunday. I have looked it up online, though I haven’t found any instructions on how to eat it. I did find something that said, unripe Noni fruit has a ‘harsh odor’ and all sorts of unpleasant sounding nicknames. Really? Do I dare cut into this thing? How bad can it be?

Have I mentioned the lengths I go to for my blog readers?

I am slicing into it. I have no idea if it’s ripe – the color in the picture isn’t quite accurate, it’s a little more yellow-ish.

sliced Noni fruit

It’s hard to slice into, has little seeds that have the consistency of tiny hard apple seeds. The taste is slightly sour with a bitter aftertaste.

I personally won’t be trying this again. And although I did cut into and taste it for you, I will NOT be rotting and making juice out of it. I guess that is where I do draw the line. If you are interested, it does have its own page on WebMD. What a weird fruit.

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Which local coffee to buy at Costco?

Do your eyes glaze over in the coffee aisle at Costco? If you’re like me, you want to try the Hawaiian coffees, but when buying one or even two pound bags, you’re just not sure which one to commit to.

We have just finished enjoying this one, Nickybeans 100% Kona Coffee… this was the first time we’ve had it, and it was really nice. Costco is currently selling it for just under $20/1 lb bag.

Yes, it’s whole bean coffee – but if you’re staying at one of our four condos, you can use the coffee grinder to grind the beans, so the coffee is nice and fresh.

Mmmmm… coffee! Time for another cup 🙂

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