I always need my farm fix. Even when I’m in a faraway land, I must know where the goods are grown. On my last trip to Maui, I visited Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, Kula Country Farms, O’o Farm and the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm.
This time around I was so excited to visit Ono Oragnic Farms. If you could pick the spot furthest away from where our condo is, it’d be Ono Farms. Situated on a gorgeous volcanic hillside, just past Hana in Kipahulu. Truth be told, I don’t enjoy driving to Hana. The drive is beautiful for sight-seeing, but it takes SO long to get to Hana because of all of the slowwwww tourists. I’m not exaggerating when I say they drive about 13 mph. You can’t zoom around on Hana Hwy, but you can do a lil better than 13 mph. Anyhow, despite the long slow drive, it’s worth it for numerous reasons. The Hana side of Maui is the wet side, so beautiful, luscious green jungles and waterfalls abound. I could go on about why you should visit, but the best reason would definitely be Ono Organic Farms.
I booked a fruit tour for me and my dad and we made the drive over. We were greeted by a warm, super friendly Ono intern/volunteer who began our tour with a tropical fruit tasting. I tasted the most wonderful, crazy fruits I’ve ever seen. Some were familiar, like papaya, lilikoi, guava, star fruit, and apple bananas. Other more exotic fruits I was able to sample were:
Ice Cream Bananas
Also known as the Blue Java Banana. Yummy, deliciously creamy smooth fruit. Sweet with ever so slight hint of vanilla. These were amazing, but I don’t think any banana can top my beloved apple banana.
A relative to the lychee and the rambutan, longan is pretty good. It’s a member of the soapberry family–the closest thing I can describe it to in texture (besides a lychee or rambutan) would be a juicy grape.
Also known as chicozapote or Manilkara zapota. We have sapote in California, but not this variety. These taste like brown sugar custard on the inside. They oxidize super fast!
I also got to sample the amazing Star Apple, which looks like a perfect purple orb. When you slice them in half, they have a star shape in the center. Flavor wise, they are so-so, but they look awesome! We also got to sample a famous variety of mango on Maui, the Golden Glow. These mangoes are actually grown by Yee’s Orchard, not Ono. But they are deliciously sweet and have absolutely no fibrous strings. They melt in your mouth. They were a favorite of my dad and I, so I took some back with us and made some mango pancakes.
Man, that’s not even close to end of the fruits I sampled! I also really enjoyed the:
The Mountain Apple is native to Malaysia and bears no resemblance to what we think of as apples. It’s gorgeous bell shaped fruit, shiny and smooth on the outside. It ranges in color from white to pinkish red and it tastes just like a rose.
One of my other absolute crazy favorites was the:
Also known as the Cayenne Cherry, aptly because it has a spice and super tiny subtle kick to it. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, I wish I could get these little guys here in California.
I didn’t snap any pictures of the Egg Fruit or Abiu I tried. I was just so overwhelmed by all these new, pretty looking fruits. This was like my dream farm experience.
After the tasting, (mixed photos above of farm and tasting), we went on a leisurely stroll around the farm, looking at the various fruits we tried growing on trees every where. Actually, the Surinam cherries weren’t even an official part of the tasting, we happened upon a tree ripe with them and Ono let us sample as many as we wanted. 🙂
The walk was absolutely breath-taking and so educational.
I highly recommend visiting Ono Farms if and when you happen to be on Maui. It is every fruit lover and food adventurer’s dream, especially if you have never been somewhere that is located on the same latitude as Hawaii. Depending on what time of the year you are there, they will have all kinds of special stuff for you to try. We lucked out and were there during mountain apple season which is super short. But we missed white pineapple, the coffee harvest, and the chocolate–although they did have a sampling of cacao nibs from a previous harvest. It’s all you can eat, plus free Hawaiian coffee. There are also really cool fruit posters and delicious jams/preserves (all of which you get to try) for sale.
Ono Organic Farms
149 Hana Hwy
Maui, HI 96713