The 32nd Upcountry 4-H Ag & Farm Fair, a weekend of music, ‘ono food, games, exhibits, a rodeo–and the makings of great memories–will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Oskie Rice Field & Arena on Olinda Road above Makawao. This year, the fair will honor Maui’s paniolo with a “Keeping the Spirit Alive” theme.
In partnership with Upcountry Fair, the Maui 4-H Livestock Association, a nonprofit organization specializing in youth and agriculture, will present its 2012 4-H Livestock Show & Auction beginning at 8 a.m., on Saturday, when 4-H members will show their goats, lambs, market hogs and beef steers. The auction begins at 1 p.m.
4-H projects and activities help youth develop life skills through livestock projects in which they take on the responsibilities of feeding, managing and exhibiting their animals. Students acquire knowledge and skills in selection, production, processing and marketing, which will help them establish future careers.
4-H members’ efforts culminate in the Maui 4-H Livestock Show, which provides opportunities for them to gain experience in showmanship and judging of an animal while practicing leadership and program planning skills.
Cooperative support from the business community and public agencies make these events possible. By purchasing an animal, your business can help a 4-H member meet the objectives of his or her livestock project and encourage him or her to become a responsible, productive individual.
The annual Upcountry Fair Ranch Play Day features the ‘Ohana Ranch Rodeo, which spotlights the ranching community’s paniolo heritage with two action-packed days of challenging events and competition that combine ranch skills, horsemanship and family games Continue reading
MAKAWAO – The leaking, redwood Waikamoi flume would be replaced with an aluminum channel supported by an aluminum truss along its entire 1.1-mile length, retaining precious surface water for drought-plagued Upcountry residents and providing a safe working platform for employees of the Department of Water Supply.
The flume channels water from the Haipuaena Stream to the vicinity of Waikamoi Stream and eventually into the water department’s upper Kula system, which supplies water to residents of Kula, Waiakoa, Keokea, Ulupalakua and Kanaio.
The $10 million to $15 million flume replacement project, which is pending necessary approvals, is expected to begin in the last quarter of this year and take about two years go complete, according to plans submitted to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.
The office published the department’s draft environmental assessment and anticipated finding of no significant impact last week in its current issue of The Environmental Notice. It is available online at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%Documents/Environmental_Notice/current_issue.pdf.
Public comments are due June 22.
Maui County Council Member Joe Pontanilla, chairman of the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, said Saturday that more than $10 million has been appropriated for the flume replacement project in the current county budget.
Located in the Koolau Forest Reserve, the flume was originally built in the 1930s out of redwood timbers and rock and concrete masonry foundations, according to the draft environmental assessment. In 1974 and 1975, the flume box was replaced with redwood planking, although portions of the timber bridges that were built in the 1930s were kept in place. Continue reading
WAILUKU – Maui County Council members heard from farmers this week asking them to take more time before making changes to the county’s agricultural property tax laws.
The council Budget and Finance Committee met Tuesday to discuss a proposal that would carve out the land under a home on agricultural property and require it to be taxed in the same way as any other residential lot. Council members supporting the measure said it would make the property tax system more fair and equal for all residents.
But many farmers said they were concerned about any changes that would likely increase what they pay in property taxes.
“We have a tax equity issue,” said Darren Strand, president of the Maui County Farm Bureau and Haliimaile Pineapple Co. “As a business operator, that’s not my issue. My issue is, any increase in taxes is going to hurt my bottom line.”
He echoed others in calling for more review.
“There just hasn’t been enough time for us to process (this) and really get the information out,” he said.
Council members agreed, deciding to defer discussion of the issue and schedule nighttime meetings in the community before taking action.
“There’s a lot of concern out there, and I’d like to take a little extra time to have people get their questions answered,” said Council Member Mike White, who introduced the legislation and has spearheaded discussion of disparities in the agricultural property tax system.
Under White’s proposal, the county would tax the “house lot” on agricultural property based on its fair market value, as if it were a stand-alone lot.
That would be a significant change from the current system, in which the county estimates the value of the house lot only as a percentage of what the entire property is worth.
The change would likely increase property taxes on a number of agricultural house lots, which under the current system often pay less in taxes than lots of the same size in residential areas.
“It gets back to a fairness issue,” White said. Continue reading
WAILUKU – The Maui Planning Commission unanimously approved permits Tuesday for Auwahi Wind Energy to build and operate eight 428-foot-tall wind turbines on Ulupalakua Ranch land.
Two dozen people testified on the proposed special use and special management area permits, and none were opposed to the project, according to planner Ann Cua. Some testifiers shared concerns about traffic, safety and visual impacts of the wind farm.
The project would have the capacity to generate 21 megawatts, which would be enough power to supply electricity to 10,000 homes. The $140 million project’s infrastructure includes an energy storage system; a 9-mile, 34.5-kilovolt power line; an interconnection substation; a microwave communication tower; and a construction access road. Each generator pad would require about 2.4 acres of cleared area, while the entire project would cover 1,466 acres, almost entirely on Ulupalakua Ranch land.
The project aims to provide power for Maui island only. It is not part of the “Big Wind” project, which calls for wind farms on Lanai and Molokai to provide power to Oahu via an underwater cable.
Commission members attached conditions to Auwahi’s permits, including one that requires Auwahi Wind, a division of Sempra, to work with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Ka Ohana O Kahikinui Inc. to develop a community benefits package. The groups would develop a plan and sign a memorandum of agreement addressing the roadway improvement and other needs of the Kahikinui homestead community.
The project area contains more than 1,100 archaeological features on 174 sites, and the developer has designed the turbines and power lines to avoid culturally sensitive burials and heiau. Continue reading
Maui’s Winery is the Valley Isle’s sole commerical winery boasting a varied selection of wines including sparkling, pineapple, grape and our coveted raspberry dessert wine. With hard work, attention to detail and the pursuit of excellence, Maui’s Winery continues to be a successful and thriving agricultural business and popular visitor destination. We believe that it is our duty to be stewards of our land by producing a wine that reflects the distinctiveness of Maui.
The story of Maui’s Winery is a great story of sustainability. In 1974, in collaboration with Californian Emil Tedeschi, Ulupalakua Ranch began growing grapes, remaining true to the area’s agricultural heritage. While waiting for the grapes to mature, they decided to develop a sparkling wine made from the plentiful pineapples on Maui. A scant amount of this wine was produced, but the public response to the wine was so positive that it was decided to pursue the endeavor of making a still pineapple wine. Three years later, Tedeschi Vineyards released a Maui Blanc pineapple wine from local fruit. In 1984, after years of labor and development, the first grape product was released: Maui Brut Sparkling.
Over the years, Maui’s Winery enjoyed a successful partnership with Maui Pineapple Company, obtaining juice from their pineapple operations. After Maui Pine sold its production assets to Hali‘imaile Pineapple Company in 2009, the winery was able to buy the juicing equipment and bring it to Ulupalakua. Pineapple juice is now crushed from delicious Maui Gold Fresh pineapples right here at the winery Continue reading
WAILUKU – Maui planning commissioners Tuesday praised a proposed wind farm as a “wonderful, wonderful project” but raised doubts about getting the massive equipment to the remote location on the southwest flank of Haleakala between two sections of the Auwahi native plant restoration area.
The commission was commenting on a draft environmental impact statement for Sempra Energy’s proposed wind project at Ulupalakua.
Worries about losing the last highway ocean views to what Chairman Jonathan Starr called “pole land” also came up Tuesday. But the wind farm itself was warmly received, with Starr wishing only that it could be bigger than the 21 megawatts proposed.
Pardee Erdman, of Ulupalakua Ranch, which will lease nearly 1,500 acres to Sempra, called the project “a win-win for the ranch.” He said the infrastructure needed to transport heavy turbines and lengthy vanes will “make that land more productive than it is today,” although he added, “We are going to continue raising cattle.”
Maui Electric Co. has contracted to begin purchasing wind electricity from the project a year from now.
But developers still have to obtain many permits before they can proceed, including a special management area permit for parts of the project makai of the road to Kahikinui. Continue reading
We were poking around upcountry Maui and driving its narrow, twisting roads, but by midafternoon we had to turn around. We had an important date at a lower elevation.
Forget meeting friends for mai-tais or heading to Lahaina for the sunset. We were going to herd the animals at Surfing Goat Dairy.
Herding anything may be the last activity one considers for a Maui vacation. But the dairy is one of several island farms that have opened for public tours over the last few years. They offer the chance to explore the island’s back roads, meet the growers and learn something about the exotic fruits, vegetables and cheeses you’ll encounter and enjoy on Maui.
“It’s a growing national trend,” says Maui resident Charlene Kauhane, a board member of the Hawaii Agri-Tourism Association. “Visitors are looking for authentic experiences, for opportunities where they can meet locals and buy local.”
And sometimes, you just want a break from the beach. So let’s go down on the farm on Maui.
Alii Kula Lavender Farm
Even before you arrive, you’ll detect Alii Kula Lavender Farm from the lovely fragrance wafting over Upcountry. It comes from 45 lavender varieties planted over 10 acres in Haleakala’s foothills. You can meander over paths on your own, or join one of the walking tours. You’ll learn about lavender’s culinary uses and healthful benefits, as well as the farm’s dedication to practicing agriculture in a sustainable way.
Alii Lavender also offers workshops in wreath making and container gardens, and other special events. Continue reading
Lifelong cattleman remembered as trustworthy and fair
Maui cattlemen last week remembered local rancher William “Bill” Eby as a quiet, gentle man who loved animals and mentored a younger generation of paniolo.
Eby, 89, died Oct. 18 at his home in Haiku under hospice care. Services were held Friday.
A lifelong cattleman, Eby ran Honolua Ranch for 31 years and Nahiku Ranch for a decade before leasing Erehwon Ranch in Kula, which he operated in his later years. He was also known as the founder of Pacific Airlift, a business that introduced air transport for horses, cattle and other livestock to and from Hawaii. He was honored by the Paniolo Hall of Fame in 2001.
“If everybody could be as humble and be a quarter of the gentleman that that man is, the world would be all right,” said Jimmy Gomes, operations manager of Ulupalakua Ranch. “He had one of the biggest hearts.”
In addition to raising his own cattle, Eby often bought livestock from other ranchers, and had a reputation as a trustworthy and fair businessman.
“You never had to put it in writing,” Gomes said. “He’d look at you and say, ‘I’ll take these cows, and this is what I’ll pay.’ His word was gold.” Continue reading
ULUPALAKUA – The next native plant restoration trip to Auwahi on the southern flank of Haleakala will be on Saturday.
Volunteers need to RSVP as soon as possible to reserve a seat.
Hiking boots that cover the ankle are required, along with layered clothing, rain gear, two liters of water, lunch, sunscreen and a hat.
Gear including backpacks and boots should be cleaned to prevent the spread of weeds in the restoration site.
High-clearance four-wheeled drive vehicles are also needed.
For information or to reserve a spot, send e-mail to email@example.com, or call 573-8989.
ULUPALAKUA – Ulupalakua Cares, a celebration of agriculture and open space hosted by Maui’s Winery and Ulupalakua Ranch Store, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 5.
This free community event will have local music, walking tours by environmental leaders and informational exhibits by local conservation groups, set against a backdrop of the winery’s historic grounds and the ranch’s pastoral beauty.
Ukulele virtuoso Derick Sebastian and singer/musician Joshua Kahula will play from noon to 3 p.m. Polihua, a Lanai band, will play from 3 to 4, both at the winery.
Across the road at the ranch store, Bradda Francis Koahou will play slack key from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At 12:30 p.m., a talk titled “A Voyage Back in Time: The Natural Treasures of Ulupalakua Ranch” will be given by Art Medeiros, a research scientist with the Pacific Island Ecosystem Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey and the head of the Auwahi reforestation project, on Ulupalakua Ranch land.
The 150-year-old trees of Maui’s Winery will be showcased on a “Walking Tour of Trees” led by Ernest Rezents, professor emeritus of agriculture at Maui Community College. He will give a talk on “How to Determine the Value of a Tree.” The walk and talk will be from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Continue reading