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.

Marilyn on the Maui Country Farm Tours 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.

I'd never seen this ancient sculpture at the Ranch before. Such pathos!

“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.

stump seats at the Ulupalakua Ranch Store. The dude in the background is NOT a real cowboy, FYI.

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.

Aww. This tree was MADE for climbing! I restrained myself-barely.

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!)

Our guide sorts protea blossoms at Kula Alii Lavender farm.

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!

One of the Surfing Goats reminds me how cool goats are.

This whole experience was reminded me of the joys of Stay-cation.  What special things does your area have that are worth enjoying?

What a view- Ulupalakua Ranch, Kahoolawe in the background.


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