Protea flowers are some of the wildest looking and longest lasting flowers grown in the islands. Today I want to share some photos and information about my favorite protea farmers from Anuhea Farms.
The woody stems and hardy blossoms of the Protea flower will also dry well for longer lasting arrangements. I sometimes use them in holiday wreaths. These are the flowers to bring or send home when you want to make a good impression.
The soil and weather conditions of upcountry Maui, much like their native habitat of South Africa, is ideal for growing crops of protea. Dry, windswept slopes of Mt.Haleakala, from Kula through Makawao to Olinda are dotted with the explosive pinks, oranges and yellows of these other-wordly flowers.
Bill and Judy Mertins have been farming proteas in Olinda on the slopes of Haleakala since 1993. Their farm is 15 acres, with over 30 varieties of protea. Judy runs a sweet little retail shop called Anuhea Flowers in Makawao. Their flowers are also available on line, they ship all over, and Hale Ho'okipa Inn site has a link for ordering flowers as well.
My favorite are the bright pink Minks, called Duchess, talk about a sexy flower!! I also like the Maui Gold of the Pincushion variety. Their color is so vibrant, they really brighten up an arrangement...and look great standing alone. These are the King variety, the largest blossom.
Aunhea Farms has offered a farm tour in the past, including a historical presentation by Dorothy Pyle, professor of history at MCC. Dorothy is a treasure trove of local historical information. They are prepared to offer a tour if a group of 12 or more are interested with advance notice. It's a great tour.
Many wonderful books are available on the flowers of Hawaii. Proteas in Hawaii by Paul Wood and Ron Dahlquist is an amazing photo journal and story of these colorful wonders. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in botanicals.
It's evident I love promoting our local farmers, merchants, authors and artists... Maui produces the "cream of the crop" and Anuhea Farms is another fine example of "All Things Maui"!
So, brighten up your day, several actually, with some protea from the sunny slopes of Maui.
Aloha for now...the trade winds are blowing today, keeping it fresh!