When Maui Feels Like Idaho

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“Oh my gosh, look at this organic bread. It has coconut sugar in it.”

“These beets are the size of my head.”

“Kombucha made with honey instead of cane sugar? Why didn’t I come up with that idea?”

“How can you sell avocados for this cheap?!”

I was in heaven this morning. I’m a sucker for farmer’s markets, or really any sort of conglomeration of local farmers and artisans selling their wares, and after nearly a year and a half of life on Maui, I finally made the effort to journey up to the Upcountry Farmer’s Market in Kula. Friends had been telling me of it’s wonders, but somehow I always seemed to be working on Saturdays, so I had to shoot it down time and time again. But not this weekend! And HOT DAMN. Everyone who’s ever had anything to say about this market wasn’t lying. It was paradise.

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This was a farmer’s markets out of my wildest dreams. Maui has over 15 different micro-climates, making it a nurturing wonderland for a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, along with herbs, flowers, and pretty much anything else that grows. Papayas, avocados, beets, kale, coconut kefir, protea flower arrangements,  banana macadamia nut muffins, goji berry honey kombucha, fresh ginger and turmeric practically begging to be brewed into a magical tea….

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It was truly a feast for the senses. The frosting on the cupcake was indulging in a cupful of goodness from a coffee truck called Gypsy Maui – they taunted me with their “Gypsy Coffee,” a bulletproof-style blend of espresso, coconut oil, buffalo butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Wow.

Walking back to the car with a backpack stuffed full of local goodness, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the Kootenai County Farmer’s Market that runs May through September back home in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I adore each and every Saturday that I’ve spent wandering those stalls, inhaling the aromas of freshly baked sourdough bread, watching my mom scrutinize and size-up every single tomato seedling, all while debating whether I should buy the chocolate peanut butter fudge or the huckleberry. It was nice to have a little taste of that community here on Maui.

I will admit that both Northern Idaho and Maui are drop-dead gorgeous, but each in a very different way. We definitely drooled over the view from Kula on our way back down the slopes of Haleakala.

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On the way home, we swung by the cute little paniolo (“cowboy”) town of Makawao to check out a keiki rodeo. This time, it really did feel like we were back in Idaho, and I was back at the North Idaho Fairgrounds, prepping Chandra for her (aka my) big debut in the 4H horse show. I MISS that so much. Horses and rodeos and boots, and for a few minutes, I let myself be wrapped up in the realization that this was all happening on Maui. This little island really does have it all.

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Home of the Makawao Rodeo – Check out Haleakala in the background!

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Cowboy style

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National anthem before the rodeo

I love new adventures, and the beauty of life on Maui is that there is always something new right around the corner if you’re willing to venture out and explore. You might even find a taste of home. And some really cheap, ridiculously delicious avocados.

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