Tag: Hawaiian food

50th Anniversary of Maui’s Ulupalakua Ranch

Sunday, June 30th the Ulupalakua Ranch is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a Sunday Drive event. The ranch is Maui’s 2nd largest ranch and spreads over 20,000 acres from 2000 – 6000 ft elevation on the Southern side of Haleakala. It was originally founded in 1845, but has been with the current owners for 50 years now.

view from the ranch

Besides grass-fed cattle and elk, they also have a winery (Tedeshi winery) where you can taste and buy their wine (have you tried the pineapple wine – Maui Splash?). They offer free tours of their winery at 10am and 1pm daily (this schedule may be different on June 30th – do check).

The farm also has a wind farm (Auwahi Wind) as of late 2012. Last fall we got to see parts of the giant windmills being transported down the Piilani Hwy and through Wailea, then up a private road to the location. Yes, sadly, a private road – there is no direct public road up there from Kihei, other than the long way, past the sugar cane factory by Kahului, up through Kula and around.

My husband’s favorite feature is the Ulupalakua General Store. Between 11am and 2:30pm daily you can order an Ulupalakua burger, bbqed to perfection while you wait (they also have a small deli section). Sig loves to have a picnic under the trees next to the general store, then walk across the way to the winery for a tasting.

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Foodtrucks in Kihei – updated

A year ago or two Maui County paved a parking lot on South Kihei Road across from Kamaole Point (between Kamaole II and III beaches). To help cover the costs, they made it a paid parking lot. Unfortunately for the County, everyone stopped using the parking lot, on the plus side, there is always parking to be had (I believe it’s $3 for 2 hours or $5 for all day parking as opposed to free parking everywhere else).

However, there are a number of food trucks that have realized an opportunity – this is a prime location with many condo complexes nearby… Most days you will find at least one food truck (I’ve seen as many as five) and often also a small farmer’s market (out of the back of a pick-up truck). If you are lucky (on weekends), there’s also a stand bbqing and selling huli-huli chicken at this parking lot. They don’t come often anymore, but if they’re there, your nose will let you know! Huli-huli chicken is amazing.

yesterday’s lunch-time food truck activity at Kamaole Point in Kihei

This parking lot is within walking distance to our Maui Kamaole and Kihei Surfside condos. For more info on Maui’s food trucks, check out their facebook page!

UPDATE as of August 2013, sadly the food trucks have been evicted from this parking lot. The farmer’s market truck still parks there (though not on the lot), and the huli-huli chicken people still come from time to time.

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Mango harvest

Nearly 3 years ago we planted a dwarf mango tree in our back yard. As it turned out, it wasn’t a dwarf mango after all. The tree kept growing and growing, but there were never any blooms, never mind fruit. According to a landscaper friend you are supposed to prune them in February if there are no blooms, so for two years we pruned our ‘dwarf’ tree back every February. Then this February we had blooms! So very exciting.

mango blooms

Since then I’ve been watching these mangoes grow, and grow…

baby mangoes

One by one they fell off the tree, sadly not ripe. But the tree managed to hang onto a dozen or so. Through various accidents (golf balls hitting them, lawn mower brushing up against them etc) more have fallen. I saved four and laid them on my lanai (balcony) table, hoping they’d ripen up.

Yesterday I noticed my lanai-mangoes were looking ripe(r). So I cut into one – worst case I figured I’d make some sort of mango salsa to go with dinner…

It wasn’t dripping juice, but it was definitely ripe. Sun-warm and sweet. There’s just something awesome about sun-warm fruit! I can’t wait to see what the tree-ripened mangoes will taste like!!

two more on the ground yesterday…

still hanging on 🙂

I have no idea what kind of mangoes these are… I am hoping they are Golden Glow mangoes, just like at Yee’s Orchard’s. Yum.

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Mmmmm burgers!

We enjoy getting takeout, finding an oceanfront lawn and enjoying a sunset picnic with friends. We bring along a ball and frisbee and the kids burn some energy while we enjoy a visit.

One of our favorite picnic locations on the lawn near our Kihei Surfside condo

One of our favorite places to get burgers was Fat Boy Burgers across from Kalama Park, next to Starbucks.  This winter it was sold and has since reopened with a new menu as Stewart’s Burgers. So we’ve given it a try – twice! The burgers are really good! It’s a local mom and pop shop (yes, the owner’s name really is Stewart) that specializes in old-fashioned burgers, mixing up their own meat (from Big Island) and spices fresh every morning. Their buns are baked locally and their veggies come from a farm in Kula!

I must admit, I haven’t eaten my way through their menu yet. We’ve tried their “Kihei” burgers, their beer-battered onion rings (oh so good) and sweet potato fries. They have everything from basic to specialty burgers and yes, also hotdogs if your kids don’t like burgers.

The Maui Time recently wrote a feature article about Stewart’s Burgers – have a read and go pick up dinner!

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Papaya lilikoi jam

Do you make jam? I love homemade jams and really enjoy making my own jam. I like knowing what the fruit looked like before it went into the jam, and having control over the ingredients.

This is the last week of school, and in time-honored tradition the kids’ teachers all get a jar of homemade jam. One of my friends has a lilikoi vine in her backyard and gave me some lilikoi (passion fruit) in exchange for a jar of jam. The local farmer’s market had a great deal on papayas… perfect!

two kinds of lilikoi on the left, scooped papaya on the right

I had 6 medium sized papaya. After scooping out the seeds, I scooped the fruit into a bowl (5 1/2 cups), then mashed them with a potato masher. Then I carefully cut open the leathery lilikoi and added the juice (1/2 cup) to the papaya. You can eat the lilikoi seeds, but they don’t look great in jam, so I use the juice only.

one of the purple lilikoi sliced open. You can eat the seeds and juice. Lilikoi are tart.

I then added 1 1/2 packages of pectin, brought the mixture to a boil, added 5 1/2 cups of sugar and boiled that for another minute. Then I ladled the hot jam into the prepared jars and processed them in the canner for another 10 minutes. Yum!

papaya lilikoi jam

I hope the teachers enjoy their jam!

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Tour the Ocean Vodka Farm and Distillery!

Maui’s own vodka distillery, Ocean Vodka, purchased and started an 80 acre organic farm on Maui last year. This family owned business has been making vodka in an industrial part of Kahului for the past 7 years or so, but have outgrown their facilities. This April they had the grand opening of their brand-new facility on Oma’opio Road (right next to the Surfing Goat Dairy).

CJ was our tour guide yesterday. As he showed us around the property (the nursery, sugar cane fields and then lastly the building itself), you couldn’t help but hear the pride he has in this business. Their new building has enough photo-voltaic panels to produce double what their energy requirements are (the extra going back into the electric grid). They also have a 1300 ft well on property used for irrigation.

new factory, self-sufficient with photovoltaic energy panels and a 1300 ft deep well

This family also strives to preserve many of the over 50 varieties of Hawaiian non-GMO sugar cane plants.

a few of the sugar cane stalks grown on their organic farm

I learned that most of the commercially grown sugar cane on Maui is GMO, which produces the sugary syrup in its stalks between 18-24 months of age (at which point the whole plant is harvested by controlled burn).

Ocean Vodka‘s sugar cane is non-GMO, meaning the plant will continue to produce sugary syrup in its stalks for 20-40 years. The mature stalks are harvested by hand while the plant continues to grow new shoots (this must be very labor intensive).

Hawaiian non-GMO sugar cane field with coconut tree mulch
resident rooster showing us the baby sugar cane plants in the nursery area
sacred Hawaiian sugar cane which used to be reserved for ali’i (chiefs’) consumption

What makes this vodka unique? It is certified 100% USDA organic, the only vodka in the world made from organic sugar cane. Ocean Vodka is also the only spirit in the world made with deep ocean mineral water (which is pumped from 3000 ft off the coast of Kona, Big Island).

I really enjoyed this tour – and went home to pour myself some Ocean Vodka. It is really good.

They offer tours 7 days a week, 5 times a day – just send them a quick email so they know to expect you.

Keep an eye out for it – Ocean Vodka is currently sold in 25 states and yes, also in 3 Canadian provinces. It is also the exclusive vodka served by Hawaiian Airlines since 2007.

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Getting ready to make some jam…

It’s the last week of school in Hawaii, and following our family’s tradition, I am gathering ingredients to make our kids’ teachers some home made jam. This year we’re making papaya-lilikoi jam. I find papaya jam a little bland, adding lilikoi juice or lime juice give it some zest.


It can be difficult to find lilikoi at the farmer’s market, but luckily for me I have a friend who has lilikoi vines in her back yard (in fact, I should try growing some too!).

Lilikoi are a passion fruit, native to South America and brought to Hawaii in the early 20th century.

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The bestest mangoes on Maui!

mmmmm…. Mangoes!

I had a bit of a frustrating morning today, so I decided to treat myself. After running my errands, I went to Yee’s Orchard for some of his amazing Golden Glow mangoes. Oh my goodness. They are soooooo good. At 3.99/lb they are not cheap – but if you ask me, they are worth it!

Where is Yee’s Orchard? It’s in Central Kihei. If you are driving North on South Kihei Road, it is on the right-hand side just past the Long’s Drugstore stripmall. It’s set back from the road and sometimes you will see peacocks wandering around on the property.

it’s just a little hut – but don’t let appearances fool you!
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