Locals know to escape the heat, head to the rolling hills and expansive pasture land of Kula, and the quaint communities beyond of Ulupalakua and Keokea. Kula means “open country”, and this loosely designated area that sits between 1000 feet to 8000 feet elevation, is known as the breadbasket of Maui. The “farm to table” phenomenon has catapulted many gardens and farms into creating some outstanding farm tours and tasting opportunities of their locally made products. Relaxed and slow-paced, the region?s farming and ranching history and shear isolation, as there is no direct public road connecting it to South Maui, have helped to maintain the “vibe” we know and love as Kula.
Heading along Hwy 37, make sure to pass the turnoff for Hwy 377 that takes you to Haleakala Summit, and continue on Hwy 37 through beautiful Kula to begin your journey. The area is known for its tropical gardens, lavender, protea, sweet Maui onions, goat cheese, coffee, carnations and orchid for leis, cattle, and plenty of generations old farms, cowboys, and artists. Stop into one of the handful of eateries and cafes that dot the hillside. With amazing views of the ocean below and a cool breeze, this part of your Maui vacation will be a welcome reprieve from the busy tourism hubs of Kihei and Wailea below.
The area that makes up Kula, KeoKea and Ulupalakua is primarily comprised of three large ranches Haleakala Ranch, Kaonoulu Ranch, and Ulupalakua. In the mid to late 1800s, the Great Mahele occurred, which divided up Hawaiian lands for sale, and these influential families began acquiring the land for use. Many Chinese and Portuguese laborers, after fulfilling their contracts, moved into the area to farm the land. They were soon joined by a large number of Japanese and Korean immigrants who have maintained the agricultural character to this day.
Today the real estate values in Kula rank as one of the priciest in Hawaii. With its quaint communities, low traffic, cooler temperatures, and impeccable views, the property values have skyrocketed. And, a new type of residence now dot the area. The “gentleman?s farm”, comprised of a plot of land, and a large upscale home is becoming more frequent.
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