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.”
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.