Chapter 14 – Kula
If you’ve been fortunate to enjoy a meal at one or more of Maui’s renowned restaurants, chances are the food on your plate was grown in Kula. With its fertile fields and rich volcanic soil, the district of Kula provides much of the state’s produce and cut flowers. Almost all of the carnations used in Hawaii’s famous leis come from Kula. And the famous Maui onion, thought by many to be the sweetest in the world, as well as other fresh farm-to-table ingredients—lettuce, potatoes, jicama, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower and cabbage—all hail from Kula.
Part of the Upcountry region of Maui, Kula is centrally located and rests on the western slopes of Haleakala, the dormant volcano that dominates Maui’s landscape. With its stunning views of Maui and the Pacific Ocean, Kula arguably has the best views in Upcountry Maui.
Kula’s residential areas range from about 1,800 ft. to 3,700 ft. above sea level. Traditionally, the district has been home to full-time residents (population 6,452) who prefer its cooler temperatures over the warmer and denser touristy towns, such as Kihei and Lahaina, closer to sea level. “It’s cooler in Kula” is a popular phrase, and, increasingly, just as many Upcountry residents like to vacation at the seashore, many coastal residents enjoy visiting Kula for its lower temperatures that may even necessitate a fireplace in winter.
The higher-elevated area of Kula (2,800 ft. to 3,700 ft.) is aptly called Upper Kula. Kekaulike Avenue, also known as State Highway 377, runs through the region and is surrounded by lush, green pastures and silver eucalyptus tree groves. There are not many commercial ventures along Kekaulike, but there are a few must-see destinations including Kula Botanical Garden and Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm.
What began as a display garden for a family’s landscape architecture business, Kula Botanical Garden is now a major tourist destination, drawing thousands of visitors each year. Patrons can meander over eight acres of vibrant and unique plants, including carnations, birds of paradise and orchids; unique and impressive rock formations; waterfalls; koi pond; covered bridge; aviary and carved tiki exhibit.
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, created by agricultural artist and horticultural master Ali’i Chang, is home to approximately 55,000 lavender plants and 45 different varieties of lavender. Interestingly, lavender is not native to Maui. In fact, it wasn’t until 2001, when a friend gifted some lavender to Ali’i and he planted it, that the herb existed here at all. Yet, it quickly took a liking to the Mediterranean climate, with many varieties blooming year round. Visitors can take walking tours and learn about and purchase more than 50 lavender products, including culinary, aromatherapy, bath and body.
Lower Kula (1,200 ft. to 2,800 ft.) comprises the areas around Lower Kula Road, the old county road that traversed the region before Kula Highway was finished in 1964. Communities include Pulehu, Waiakoa, Omaopio and Keokea, each with its own ethnic background. Portuguese and Chinese immigrants first arrived in the late 19th century to work on the sugarcane plantations. Shortly thereafter, Japanese farmers moved to the area because of its ideal climate for growing vegetables.
With the resurgence of a farm-to-table lifestyle in the past decade, much of the agricultural land is being carved into “gentlemen estates,” essentially family farms with large homes taking advantage of the mild climate to produce vegetables for Maui’s demanding market.
An overview of Kula would not be complete without mentioning Kula’s best-known landmark—the Holy Ghost Catholic Church, located along the Lower Kula Road. Built in 1894 by Portuguese immigrants, the church is octagonal in shape and boasts a hand-carved altar. With the slopes of Haleakala as its backdrop, the church’s white turret is visible from much of Central Maui.
“Adrienne and her team helped us find our condo in Makakilo, HI. We were very happy with all of their on going help after purchase like referrals and yearly associate parties. Go Team Lally!”
“Working with Team Lally was fantastic! Celeste helped us to buy a new home and Adrienne and Atillio helped us to sell a home. Team Lally was responsive to all of our needs and questions. Team Lally exceeded our expectations!”
“Adrienne, Attilio, and Howard worked hard and patiently to get my condo sold. Despite working through hours where it was difficult to reach me in Boston. Their phone calls, emails, and use of the docusign system set the stage for the sale in a tough market. Thanks once again for your helpfulness and professionalism.”
“Team Lally are great. I have not had the chance to buy a house yet but I know that whenever we walk in the office we are considered not only a valued customer but as family. I am lucky to have them on my side.”
“Team Lally is awesome!! Without their help we would have never been able to sell our home as fast as we did. Everything went smoothly and better than expected.”
“I purchased my home as a single woman nearly 10 years ago in what I call a “big girl moment”. I improved it over the years, and then decided to move home to the mainland to be closer to my family. I was referred to Team Lally, and much differently than other agents I was referred to, they called me immediately, providing a full scope of their services, which is impressive. I liked the fact that they had me meet them in their office, outside the potentially emotional environment of my home. This is business, after all! My home was first shown on June 10 and closed at a handsome price on August 30. Wow. These guys communicate regularly by phone, provide excellent service via email and while closing the sale I experienced the best possible service. Were I to contemplate moving back to Hawaii, Team Lally would be my first call!”
“Team Lally did a wonderful job selling our home and answering all of our questions and concerns! Howard and Christopher have been there for my every need even after the sale of my home! A wonderful crew over there!”
“HANDS DOWN! Team Lally is the best in Hawaii! My experience with Team Lally was amazing! They’ve went beyond my expectations for any realtor. My first visit with Team Lally, they gave me “The Red Carpet Treatment”, they immediately treated me like family and was very supportive every minute I was with them. When Team Lally list your home, they’ll start with being super flexible with your schedule, they’ll recommend on what to do on getting the most out of your home. They then will install their awesome sign in front of your home! After, they’ll have their professional photographer come by to take pictures, who is SUPER NICE and he understands everything you’re going through. Not only does he take pictures, but he takes a VIRTUAL TOUR of your HOME, a luxury feature NO OTHER REALTOR I’VE SEEN PROVIDE!!! They will also keep you in loop by updating you every week once your homes on the market! Like I said Team Lally is the best in Hawaii! I highly recommend all my friends to Team Lally! Thank you!”
“When it was time to sell our family vacation property we interviewed many people. Team Lally has amazing marketing which draws buyers from all over the United States and even the world. They had the property sold for a great price in a reasonable timeframe plus they had fabulous staff who took the time to keep all of our family informed throughout the entire process. I can’t say enough good stuff. Call them!”
“My esperience working with Team Lally was outstanding! The entire team collaborated with me, even though I was 12 time zones away! Working together, we were able to focus my search on the selected properties during my inital 8 day visit to Oahu. Team Lally helped me understand the local market, while listening to, and addressing my concerns all along the way! The outcome was the right house, at a great price! We even closed on the property before my final arrival on island! My thanks to all! Team Lally is truly a customer focused team!”