was obvious the young man was less than enthusiastic about spending
part of his Maui vacation on a produce farm. He had swimming,
sailing and snorkeling in mind, but his girlfriend had booked the
O'o Farm Tour, thinking it'd be great to experience more than sun,
surf and sand in Hawaii. She was right.
"At the end of the
tour, they didn't want to leave," said Louis Coulombe, co-owner of
the 10-acre farm and the Pacific'O and I'o restaurants in Lahaina.
"They were so impressed by what they saw. Many people don't know
how fruits and vegetables grow because the only time they see them
is when they're displayed at the supermarkets."
O'o is located in
upcountry Maui, which provides ideal growing conditions for over
100 varieties of fruits, herbs and vegetables, from basil, beans
and blueberries to allspice, avocados and apples. O'o Farm supplies
all produce used at Pacific'O and I'o, some 300 to 400 pounds per
week. Fittingly, its Hawaiian name means "to mature or
two-and-a-half-hour tour, participants get close-up looks at the
crops and gain insight into the latest organic farming practices.
No pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers are used at O'o.
Compost is made from wood chips, green waste collected at the farm
and fish carcasses from Pacific'O and I'o.
Thick borders of
lemongrass protect the fields from encroaching kukui grass and
insects from the adjacent forest. Because its chemical makeup is
similar to citronella, lemongrass repels bugs.
and other flowering plants are interspersed among crops to attract
bees, wasps and hornets, which sting the larvae of aphids, moths
and other "bad guys." Around fruit trees, ground cover of
buckwheat, peanut grass and creeping wildflowers keep weeds in
check, enrich soil with nitrogen and help retain
select what they'd like to eat from the fields, and I'o's executive
sous chef, Sean Christensen, prepares the lunch. Dishes change
every week based on what's in season at the farm and what the
restaurants get from local butchers and fishermen. A recent menu
featured beef tenderloin stir-fried with vegetables harvested
minutes before cooking, a salad of greens gathered by the group and
chocolate pate paired with freshly picked loquats.
"It's rewarding for
us to help guests understand all the effort that goes into growing
quality produce," said Coulombe.
at the farm in Kula, in upcountry Maui. Tours take place 10:30 a.m.
to 1 p.m., every Thursday except Thanksgiving. Prices, $50 per
adult and $25 for kids ages 5 to 12, include lunch. Private tours
for groups of at least 10 are available on days other than Thursday
by special arrangement. Call (808) 667-4341 or visit www.oofarm.com.
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].