Hanging 10 with the Goats: Maui Upcountry Road Trip
From here Route 37 continues south before turning east into the Piilani Highway, an alternate route to Hana that skirts Haleakala National Park. It's a two-hour drive along rugged and rocky roads along the ocean that can be a little rough -- not all rental car companies allow you to bring your car there. Instead, I turned around and backtracked north on 37. Here, it's easy to suss out Upcountry's priorities: Every other business along Route 37 seemed to be a homeopathic shop and/or massage studio.
Before I passed through Makawao, I turned on Omaopio, a decidedly rural road that winds past farms and dusty dirt roads. This is the heart of the island's agricultural community, where traditional crops include the famous sweet Maui (Kula) onion. I had milk instead of veggies on my mind today, however, as I pulled up to my next destination, the Surfing Goat Dairy.
Road Trip Starting Point:
Exploring Maui's Upcountry
Owned by German expats Thomas and Eva Kafsack, the Surfing Goat is one of only a handful of goat farms in the U.S. that have earned designation for humanely raised products. Their main product is artisan cheese, which is free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives; it's served in upscale Hawaiian restaurants, including Alan Wong and Mama's Fish House, and also sold in some grocery stores on the mainland.
The parking lot at the surfboard-bedecked dairy was full on a summer weekday afternoon; the farm is a popular tourist stop for families, as they watch their kids play with goat kids. While there's no restaurant on-site, you can purchase the dairy's handmade spreads and goat cheese truffles, take a tour and even take part in the evening milking ritual ($12 for kids, $15 for adults).
After admiring the baby goats (it is hard to resist their cuteness), I did a quick sample of the cheeses that they were featuring that day at the homey wooden window. On my visit, standouts included Purple Rain, made with bits of Maui lavender; Rolling Green, full of fresh chives; and Men's Challenge, peppered with horseradish. The chevres tasted so good that I almost splurged on an $89 take-home six-pack, which included an insulated cooler to put in your checked luggage. Maybe next time.
Maui Upcountry Road Trip Stop Five: Paia and Dinner on the North Shore >>
<< Previous Stop: Lavender and Lunch near Kula
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