One thing I haven’t talked about much in previous posts, is the fact that I try to keep kosher as much as possible. At home in NJ, this isn’t a big deal. But when traveling, this can be a real challenge, so I basically draw the line at chicken and meat. Most fish is kosher, and because there is no kosher slaughter for fish, that’s a pretty decent cheat code if like me, you aren’t totally by the letter of the law.
But the lack of meat is tough – because I really like it! Grilling at home is one of my favorite things to do and in Hawaii there really aren’t any kosher restaurants. There was an Israeli place on Oahu, but it apparently closed during Covid and never returned. So for two weeks I was basically a pescatarian…
I found the Maui Kosher Farm, an incredible hidden gem that is a MUST STOP for anyone who is even remotely interested in kosher food. Even if you aren’t – the food (and the value) is so great that, you have to experience this for yourself.
First let’s talk about the location. It’s – as you might expect based on the name – a fully functional farm. The proprietors are religious/Orthodox Jews from the mainland who decided to build a farm in Hawaii. They grow their own crops, they raise their own animals (which they occasionally slaughter/butcher), and they live on-site. We did not have any recently schechted (the yiddish word for the ritual slaughter that makes meat kosher) meat from them, so I can’t speak to that part of it. But you can take a tour of the grounds and see how they grow crops and feed their animals, which is nice for kids. Also a bonus, you can meet their wonderful and friendly dog, Matzah Ball.
The Maui Kosher Farm is also part of the Chabad movement, so if you’re Jewish and looking to study some Torah or participate in prayers, you can do that here. They have a library of Jewish books in the main area, as well as a mikvah (a ritual bath the religious Jews utilize occasionally). And if you are looking for a place to spend Shabbat – you can stay on-site in one of their bungalows. We didn’t do that, so again I can’t speak to it.
But enough about what we DIDN’T do – here’s what we DID do – we ATE. And we ate A LOT.
We went there for lunch, which was made to order (you have to let them know ahead of time that you’re coming), and I also picked up a shabbat package from them for our last night in Hawaii.
For lunch, we ate in a covered outdoor area, that also serves as a lounge of sorts. This is where they have religious books for studying, but they also had some toys for kids that Jacob amused himself with while we waited for our food. As we waited, Chani, the wife and partner of Rabbi Mendel Zirkind (who runs the place very much with her help), just whipped up one of the most delicious focaccia breads I’ve ever had.
After we had our surprise appetizer, it was time for the main course. My dad and I had burger sliders, Jacob had shnitzel, and Ariel had pineapple chicken. All were delicious, with plenty of food to go around. It was also just so nice to have meat after having to pretend to be pescatarian with a “shellfish allergy” (but also no eel or catfish or swordfish!) since we went to a kosher steakhouse in Los Angeles 10 days earlier.
After lunch, we were treated to some more surprises – this time some farm-grown fruit, including some Maui pineapple, all of which was amazing.
Still, it was a 90+ minute round trip away from Lahaina where we were staying (and Jacob was still reliant on his daily naps), so I’m not sure we would have gone there JUST for lunch. It just so happened that we were taking the Kahekili highway (big mistake!) to the Iao Valley State Park (awesome!) so it was only like 20 minutes off the return half of the loop.
I’m glad we went for lunch since we planned to be nearby – but the REAL hidden gem here is the shabbat special they do. It’s not cheap – it’s about $350 for two people, but that’s really for about three separate meals. A full, multi-course dinner, large lunch, and “3rd meal” – kind of a light-ish supper that many religious Jews eat on Saturdays in the late afternoon. You could easily move the “3rd meal” to lunch and lunch to dinner for the second day.
They also throw in a bottle of wine for kiddush (or, you know, just to have with dinner), candles for Friday night, and a complete havdalah set for Saturday night. Also home baked deserts, and rolls to go with the “salatim” – an incredible spread of dips like hummus and babaganoush, egg salad, potato salad, and lots more. And there was a TON of it. Entrees were chicken, fish, and more glorious meat. When I spoke to Mendel on the phone and told him we were three adults and one kid, he told us we could probably get away with just one meal for all four of us, and he was right! We even had enough leftovers that we made egg salad sandwiches to take to the airport — and still left some food behind sadly.
To be clear – we did have everything on Friday night since we weren’t staying past noon on Saturday – so I don’t know if you could pull off a family of four for two full days on one order, but I’m telling you we all stuffed ourselves and still had a ton left over, I think we could have easily spread it out over two dinners at least.
Add in the wine (which we could not even get kosher wine anywhere else in Maui), the full challah, plus rolls, banana bread, apple cake, the candles/havdalah stuff and the fact that it was all home made (and truly delicious). You don’t even have to be Jewish for this to be worth it — especially in Hawaii where everything is so over the top expensive.
This was a great value, delicious food, and an incredible hidden gem, run by very friendly and accommodating people. It’s definitely worth going out of your way for – and really a must for anyone who is kosher-observant, or even just prefers kosher meat.
Final Verdict: A truly delicious, incredible value, hidden gem that while a little tricky to find is well worth the time you are given.
PS – it’s a little tricky to find the place, you literally have to count speed bumps and turn when you get to the correct one. Kind of a little added adventure to the experience. But speak with them ahead of time (which you will have to anyway to place your order) and they will give you precise instructions (which I can also share if anyone needs them).