In the middle of Maui you’ll find Kula, a lush expanse of rolling hills and pastures that stretches up-country toward the cloud capped peak of Haleakala. This is where you’ll want to head to escape the heat and the bustle of Kihei and Wailea.

In addition to its lush natural beauty, Kula is known for kickstarting the farm-to-table movement in Maui, with its excellent farm tours and locally made products. Drive along Highway 37, passing the turnoff for Highway 377 that takes you to Haleakala Summit, and you’ll find these gems waiting for you in Kula.

1. Kula Botanical Garden

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Be sure to check out the Kula Botanical Garden, an 8-acre garden bursting with blooms along the Kekaulike Highway near the Kula Highway junction. Established in 1968 as a display garden for a family owned architecture business, the Kula Botantical Garden has since grown into a destination attracting thousands of visitors every year. In addition to hundreds of varieties of plants—including a collection of native Hawaiian plants—there’s also a covered bridge, waterfalls, koi pond and aviary to take in as you stroll these peaceful grounds. The garden is open daily and admission is $10 for adults, $3 for children.

2. Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery

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If you’re a fan of vodka or just want to learn more about sustainable farming in Maui, be sure to check out Ocean Organic Vodka’s farm tour and tasting in Kula. Made with sugarcane harvested at the farm and blended with deep ocean mineral water, Ocean Vodka has a unique clean taste that embodies the island spirit. The blue round glass bottles also make great souvenirs to take back home with you.

3. Kula Lodge & Restaurant

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The rustic Kula Lodge is a great breakfast spot if you’ve been up early catching the sunrise at Haleakala, or stop by for lunch with a view. With beautiful gardens surrounding the lodge, you’ll want to take a stroll after your meal, and then head to the Kula Marketplace to shop a wide selection of locally made arts and crafts.

4. Kula Country Farm

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The Kula Country Farm is your best bet for a great local farmers market. Here you’ll find fresh flowers, sweet strawberries, Kula corn, and other seasonal goodies. This farmers market has been around for four generations, so you know it’s good!

5. Shim Coffee Farm

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Coffee fans will love the tour and tasting at award-winning Shim Coffee Farm. This one-man operation is located 23,500 feet above sea level in Kula, so it’s got stunning 360 degree views of the island. The tour will teach you about the history of Chinese settlers in Kula, as well as the process that goes into making a bag of dark roast coffee. You’ll also find grazing horses and botanical gardens on the property.

6. Grandma’s Coffee House

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A Kula tradition since 1918, Grandma’s Coffee House is the place to go for a great cup of coffee and a slice of banana pineapple cake.  The rustic green cafe is a great place to observe a family run business Hawaiian style. Grab a seat on the deck for stunning mountain and ocean views, and be sure to check out the 100 year old roaster, still going strong!

Photo Credits: Flickr/Brian LauerSean Munsen; Ocean Organic Vodka; Kula Lodge; Kula Country Farm; Shim Coffee Farm; Pride of Maui