Some of my fondest childhood memories involve running through strawberry patches in England when visiting my aunt and uncle. Maybe it was the sense of freedom, maybe it was the excitement of choosing my own strawberries or maybe I felt like I was helping with dinner. Whatever the reason, picking strawberries has always had a special place in my heart so when I found out there was a strawberry field on Maui, I immediately made plans to go.
My friend and I arrived early at Kula Country Farms – located halfway up Haleakala, the dormant volcano on Maui. A small stand sold vegetables grown not more than ten feet away and chickens roamed the property, eating bugs and eliminating the need for pesticides.
There’s something indescribable about picking a strawberry ripe from the plant – knowing it had never traveled in a truck or spent weeks on a boat, seeing the conditions and area where the strawberry had grown, and deciding the exact moment of freshness until I gathered it and placed it in my basket. If I ate it in five minutes, five hours or even five days, I knew exactly when it was picked. The information on the plastic cases in the grocery stores can’t tell you that.
Just as our baskets were full and we headed out of the patch, a family arrived with two kids around the age of five. The kids ran with childhood wonder through the rows, pointing at the strawberries and shouting when they found a bright red one. The parents followed close behind, encouraging them and taking photos. The moment made me smile and was almost as sweet as the taste of the strawberries.
The strawberries that day at Kula Country Farms were the best tasting strawberries I’d had in years. It might have been because they had been grown on Maui or because they had been picked ripe, but part of me likes to think it was also because a happy moment had returned from my childhood.
$3 a basket but you can’t put a price on a memory like that.
If you’re headed to Maui this time of year, stop by Kula Country Farms.