If you’re looking for an authentic, behind-the-scenes experience in Maui agritourism, the Grown On Maui Bus Tour is the perfect thing. Led by Lani and Pomai Weigert of Ali’i Kula Lavender, this tour starts at the new Whole Foods Maui store and showcases the efforts of the local farming community to become self-sustaining.
Guests meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Whole Foods Maui for a continental breakfast and a tour of the store led by Customer Services staff. Then everyone boards an Akina Aloha Tours bus and heads up the slopes of Haleakalā volcano.
First stop is the Haliʻimaile Pineapple Company. This farm is not usually open to tourists, so it’s a special treat to have them open their gates for the tour. A guide leads the group into the pineapple fields and explains the process of growing and harvesting pineapples. They dispel some myths too. For example, size and color don’t really have anything to do with ripeness. Instead, look for large eyes. The larger the eyes, the better. Guests then get to pick their own pineapples to bring home.
Next stop is the Oʻo Farm in Kula. This is a truly unique farm-to-table experience. It’s an 8.5-acre diversified organic farm owned by PacificʻO and IʻO restaurants where guests pick their own vegetables during their guided tour, then are treated to a spectacular meal prepared by the restaurants’ chefs that include the produce they picked. If you’re looking for a true “eat local” culinary experience, this is it.
The last stop of the tour is the Aliʻi Kula Lavender Farm, a truly magical place just up the road from the Oʻo Farm. The minute you get off the bus, you’re surrounded with the fragrant lavender aroma in the cool upcountry air, and are instantly relaxed. If you’re lucky, you’ll get Ali’i Chang himself as your tour guide. At the end of the tour, guests are treated to desserts such as the sumptuous Lavender Chocolate Gelato and are given time to shop in the store before boarding the bus to head back down the mountain.
The tour ends back where it started, at Whole Foods Maui, in time for guests to do a little dinner shopping before returning to their cars. This one-of-a-kind tour is not to be missed. If you subscribe to the notion of sustainability and enjoy learning about growing and eating local, it doesn’t get any better than this.