Friday, April 2, 2010

On Maui, out-there is where it's at

Laulima Organic Farms on Maui couldn't be any farther, geographically or metaphorically, from the swank beach resorts of Ka'anapali and Wailea. You need to take the twisty highway all the way to Hana, then venture farther to the Pools of Oheo, and then still several miles beyond to reach the 13-acre homespun garden, lush to the max. From there the road does continue around the island, a white-knuckle narrow road often closed by slides and always a study in pothole formation. But most visitors backtrack in the conga line of rental cars to end a long day.

Here the coffee is grown on site, as is the yummy stuff for smoothies, which customers can blend themselves using a cycle-powered blender. The sugar is juice mashed from cane. Eat and drink here and you put the land into your body.

This is Kipahulu, once a major settlement on Maui, in the seagoing days—when the village changed hands between the ali'i (chiefs) of this island and those of the Big Island, which is nearby across a channel. Kipahulu is one of those places beyond the beyond, around the bend, over the hill, far enough so that when you arrive you settle back and feel you have finally arrived at the center of things.