We have a movement on Maui–a microbusiness movement. It involves many people who've had to adjust to the economy, and in the true entrepreneurial spirit of America, started their own thing–often centered around an interest or passion.
Maui Country Farm Tours is such a business, involving foodies, farmers, flowers and an air-conditioned tour bus.
I was recently invited to join Marilyn and Rick Lopes on one of their Upcountry Maui Farm Tours. I had a great time taking pictures, sampling food, and getting a different perspective on things I'd seen many times.
“How'd this business get started?” I asked Rick, our driver and co-owner with Marilyn of the tour business, which seeks to support local farmers and the sustainable food movement also underway on our island.
Turns out Rick bought the tour bus from Maui Land and Pine when they went out of business–along with a crane, several giant earthmovers, and 80-count them 80– tires. Rick, a contractor, had fallen off a roof (also coinciding with the construction slowdown) and they decided to put the bus (thrown into a “lot” with the earthmovers) to use. Marilyn's bubbly personality and flare for marketing has helped get the business going, and meeting her in person after chatting on Twitter was like meeting a long-lost friend.
We went to some of my favorite places: Tedeschi Winery, where they actually make Maui wine (not particularly good, but hey waddaya want for a volcano vintage? and the grounds are gorgeous) Alii Kula Lavender farm (one of my favorite places on the island) and the Surfing Goat Dairy where I had a gastronogasm over the fresh flavored cheeses. (*Gastronogasm* I think I made up a new word!)
Tourling local farms isn't the typical activity associated with Maui, known for sea, wind and sun. But if you go up the volcano a bit, heavenly agricultural delights and views await, and Marilyn and Rick are just the people to share it with!
This whole experience was reminded me of the joys of Stay-cation. What special things does your area have that are worth enjoying?
Toby, love your pictures… Thanks for the beautiful post. Seeing through new eyes all the time. The seats at Ulupalakua Ranch Store are so neat. Have you tasted Ulupalakua Red lately?
No I don’t believe I have. Perhaps it’s improved? I think I only tried the white, and that some time ago.
Staycations where I live gives you whales, beaches, birds, food, did I mention whales? Love it.