With close to 60 durian trees close to fruiting, the folks at Mama’alawe are hoping that by next year (2022) they will be able to start selling local Maui durian to hungry durian munchers in need of a steady supply.
Video Farm Tour
About Mama’alawe Organic Fruit Farm
Mama’alawe Organic Fruit Farm is located along the Road to Hana, a 60-mile snaking road that winds along the coast and is famous among nondurian tourists for gorgeous waterfalls, fern-lined ravines, and jungle views over a turbulent sea.
It’s also the rainiest, mistiest part of Maui, receiving up to 300 inches of rain per year.
Characteristically, on the morning we visited the weather shifted moodily between drizzle, sun, and significant rain.
Luckily Matthew, the farm manager, and Teresa, the farm owner, came prepared with extra umbrellas, so the farm tour continued unimpeded.
I guess with that much rain per year, the show must go on no matter the weather!
They can’t stop the rain, but they can slow the wind. Throughout the farm tall stands of Guadua bamboo serve as a windbreak, sheltering the orchard from sea breezes that can turn tempestuous.
Guadua species are known as the sturdiest bamboos in the world, and a good resource in case they would like to create any bamboo structures in the future.
But for now, all their ambition is focused on the durian.
Maui Durian Orchard
The farm started with seeds from the I’i Nui Durian Tree not too far away, as did the inspiration for the durian orchard.
Teresa got her first bite of durian from the I’i Nui tree, and it was love at second bite.
Matthew and Alex figured if that tree was doing well in the damp conditions of their area, its seedlings should make a hearty rootstock.
They kept some of the durian seedlings to grow up and fruit, and top worked local cultivars onto the rest – D123, D132, “Butter” and Pohakulani.
Twelve years later, many of the durian trees are producing fruit. In particular, the D123 trees were full of durians.
With over 50 trees, they’re now the largest producing durian garden on Maui.
It’s an exciting time to be a Maui Durian Lover!
An Organic Mixed Fruit Garden
But even with the emphasis placed on durian, Mama’alawe will never be a monocrop orchard.
Currently, they have over 300 trees of all kinds of fruits. On the day we visited, they had fruiting avocados, mamey sapote, ice cream beans, various citrus including kumquats, mulberries, mangosteens, breadfruit, jackfruits, and more.
We were particularly taken with the rambutans.
They weren’t sure which variety they were, but they were an impressively huge size with very soft, juicy and almost gummy flesh that peeled easily from the seed and had a unique almost ivory color.
This might be one of my favorite rambutans ever. If you’re in Hawaii looking for good rambos take note.
Ice Cream Bean
We also enjoyed tasting the very short, petite ice cream beans from a tree near the rambutan. There are several species of ice cream beans, and if you know which species this is please leave the name in the comments section.
Some Fresh Maui Durian
By the time we’d finished the tour we were sufficiently wet and hungry, but it was still oscillating between drizzle and downpour so we returned to the farm shed for a durian tasting.
Matthew had laid out a few durians from the D123 and D132 trees, one that had fallen that morning and the others from a day before.
We were appropriately excited. If you know how short the supply of durian is in the Hawaiian Islands, you would understand that this was essentially gold.
The D123 was ridiculously hard to open, with a thick cemented core that took some deep-cuts with the knife.
We are pretty sure it’s the same Hawaii D123 as Ed’s Tree in Peepe’keo, Big Island.
It’s hard to say for certain, but it had the same pale ivory coloring, milky, peppery taste and slightly stringy, pudding-like texture that reminded me of the durians we’d been eating just days previously.
Which would mean that it was grafted from Ed’s mother tree by David Frenz, brought to Stephen Reeves in Maui, and then grafted from Stephen Reeves trees to the Mama’alawe farm. It’s possible.
On the left are Ed’s D123, on the right Mama’alawe’s D123. What do you think, are they the same variety? Are they both Hawaii D123?
This one was marked as D132, however it didn’t match the D132’s I’ve photographed in the past or the ones we’d gotten from David Frenz a few days earlier.
At first I thought it was another of the Hawaii D123, just mislabeled, but it seemed a little bit different. This one had a bit tougher skin and a creamier, smoother inside, so that the skin held the puffy whipped cream together like an edible balloon.
So I’m not sure what this one is! A normal variation of Hawaii D123? Or something else? You tell me in the comments 😇
How to contact for Maui Durian
Mama’alawe is a private farm that is open to visitors by appointment only. They plan to start selling their durians at the Hana Farmers Market and maybe a few others, but have decided to start building a Durian Mailing List this year so if you want in on booking fresh Maui durian next season you better hop on that opportunity now.
Contact them on Instagram or by Email to mvpepper11ATgmail.com
Due to privacy concerns, you won’t find this farm’s location on any of our Durian Maps, although they have given permission to share durian seasons on the Durian App as a “Ghosted” location so that you can still see when they have a durian season and can contact them for orders.