Nestled on the slopes of Haleakalā in Kula, Maui sits a family-owned and operated protea farm, Malolo Farm Protea. Founded by Mark and Ali Minney in the 1990's, Malolo Farm Protea continues to provide exceptional flower varieties to customers near and far as Ali and her daughter Paige now run the farm side by side, harvesting, packaging, and producing all creative arrangements.
Shaka Tea visited Ali and Paige one beautiful morning as they began the day's harvest to share some tea while exploring the farm. Get to know how Malolo Farm Protea came to be and what their vision is for the future from Paige herself.
As a family-owned and operated Protea farm ...
How did Malolo Farm Protea come to be?
The farm started in 1986 when dad (Mark Minney) moved onto the property and began farming from scratch. There was only a driveway and a small tractor shed when he arrived. He met my mom, Ali, and started a family while also raising a protea farm from the ground up. The farm has remained in production for over thirty years and continues to grow to this day, now run by mom and I.
What are your fondest memories growing up on the farm and do they still remain today?
As kids on a farm, we had endless freedom to run on the property. My sister Amanda and I would spend all day outside building forts, excavating "precious stones," digging out extensive holes to live in. Our parents were very creative and still are and gave us lots of opportunity to build and invent. Not much has changed there, haha, still digging and excavating, constant building and inventing.
What makes Kula the optimal landscape for Protea?
It's all about the climate here, and the soil. Protea thrive on neglect really - our elevation and rainfall levels in Kula are apparently fairly comparable to their native lands of some parts of Australia and South Africa. The soil here isn't too rich and drains really well - very important factors for the root structure of these plants.
What do you envision for the future of Malolo Farm Protea?
So many things! We plan on replanting and restoring some of our oldest fields and introducing exciting new varieties we haven't grown before. We look forward to offering new job positions on the farm, lots of learning programs with adults and kids. Workshops for all ages, lots of hands-on farming experience for all! We don't look to grow into a massive operation, we are small for a multitude of reasons and look only to share the magic of this land with anyone who wants to be a part of it.
Favorite Protea and why?
That's a hard one... I think I'm always so impressed by Leucadendron, the cone bush. They come in such a variety and are so versatile, in color, in use, be it landscape or floral applications. A lot to love about the whole Protea family, which actually includes some things you wouldn't expect - like Macadamia nut trees!
What rituals do live by each day/What brings you joy?
Mom and I gather each morning over coffee and tea and talk about what's got to happen in the day. We make plans and organize while the sun rises and then head out and tackle our tasks. We usually end the day the same way over a shared meal, talking about all we got accomplished and what to look forward to the next day. It's a nice way to greet and end each work day...and every day is a work day here, ha!
Shipping nationwide with care and aloha, bring a piece of Maui and Malolo Farm Protea home for the holidays with a fresh, seasonal wreath or floral arrangement that is equally stunning once dried to adorn your household beyond the festive season. Shop today and support Malolo Farm Protea at proteasofmaui.com