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Flurry of Activity at Flower Farm Followed by Private Property Reminder

Wendy Osher · April 20, 2017, 4:50 PM HST (Updated April 21, 2017, 3:30 PM) · 17 Comments
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    The popularity of a sunflower field located on the central isthmus of Maui has resulted in a flood of flowery photos on social media and a flurry of activity from individuals and families who have stopped over the last two weeks to enjoy the view.

    While company representatives initially reported people being “very respectful,” recent reports of flower thefts and traffic impacts were soon followed by the appearance of signs along the highway indicating the area is “Private Property” and there is “No Trespassing.”

    While the public is not allowed to drive onto the farm site, there are still opportunities to see the flowers up close.  This Saturday, Pacific Biodiesel will be running shuttles to and from the farm for an Earth Day event.

    Within two hours of posting our initial story about the public interest in the site, twelve public tours planned at the field were sold out, but a few slots had opened up today (as of 4:30 p.m. 4.20.17) on the company’s registration page.

    In the future the company will also be working to organize additional tours of the farm to give people access to learn more about these biofuel crops and the company’s sustainable ‘agriculture and renewable energy’ model.

    A post on the company’s Facebook page stated: “Maui’s interest in our blooming sunflowers has been overwhelming. We are proud these symbols of sustainability have brought so much happiness to the community. However, for everyone’s safety, please be reminded that this is a working farm on private property – no public access is available to the farm at this time and no parking is allowed on the site or on Kuihelani and Honoapiilani highways along the site perimeter. Due to safety concerns, the state has now posted no parking signs along the highway. Please be respectful and mindful when traveling near this agricultural site and drive safely at all times.”

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    The flowers are now about 75 days old and will be in bloom for approximately 10 to 15 more days before they start to wilt and dry out.  Harvest will be done around day 110 and the company plans to plant the next plot within one month after harvest.

    The current sunflower crop is approximately 12 acres of a 115-acre biofuel crop site.  Pacific Biodiesel is working to expand diversified agriculture by growing combine-harvested oil crops on land previously used for sugar cane production.

    Company representatives say this is the largest biofuel crop project in the state of Hawaiʻi and the only biofuel farming operation in the state running on 100% renewable fuel, showcasing the company’s sustainable, community-based model of agriculture and renewable energy.

    The blanket of yellow sunflowers all bend in the direction of the sun, standing at attention on land between the Kūihelani Highway and the Honoapiʻilani Highway in Central Maui.

    Pacific Biodiesel sunflower crop. April 2017. PC: Chris Archer

    Pacific Biodiesel sunflower crop. April 2017. PC: Valerie Richter

    John Paul Bonetti snaps some photos of his 19 month old “Breeze” at the Sunflower field off of the Kuihelani Highway. PC: John Paul Bonetti

    John Paul Bonetti snaps some photos of his 19 month old “Breeze” at the Sunflower field off of the Kuihelani Highway. PC: John Paul Bonetti

    Pacific Biodiesel sunflower crop. April 2017. PC: Valerie Richter

    Pacific Biodiesel sunflower crop. April 2017. PC: Valerie Richter

    John Paul Bonetti snaps some photos of his 19 month old “Breeze” at the Sunflower field off of the Kuihelani Highway. PC: John Paul Bonetti

    John Paul Bonetti snaps some photos of his 19 month old “Breeze” at the Sunflower field off of the Kuihelani Highway. PC: John Paul Bonetti

    Maui Sunflower. PC: File image by Wendy Osher.

    Pacific Biodiesel sunflower crop. PC: 4.11.17 Maui Now image.

    Cars line the Kuihelani Hwy where motorists have pulled over to enjoy the view. “We are not allowing people to drive onto the farm site. In addition to our upcoming Earth Day event, in the future we will be working to organize tours of the farm to give people access to learn more about these biofuel crops and our company’s sustainable ‘agriculture and renewable energy’ model,” said a company spokesperson. PC: Maui Now 4.11.17.

    Image: Chris Archer

    As part of the ceremony to bless the biofuel crop project, each attendee planted a sunflower seed on the 115 acre site located in central Maui. Courtesy photo.

    Wendy Osher
    Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 15 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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