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Jun 25, 2007 08:39 PM

Yee's Orchard - Kihei fruit stand (Oh. My. Gosh.)

Mr. Yee's family has had this orchard since 1945. He's getting up there in age. Development is crowding his small orchard. Something tells me once he goes, so goes his orchard.

That said, if you find yourself on Maui, do your taste buds a favor and seek out his fruit stand, which appears to be manned solely by an elderly woman. It is located on the west side of So. Kihei near Lipoa in a wooden shack in the middle of a dirt parking lot. There is one modest, weathered handpainted sign. We stopped by on a Thursday morning, but it was empty. A passerby told us it usually opens at 11:30am. We returned about then and bought some of the best tasting fruit I've ever had.

Mr. Yee has developed a mango he calls Golden Glow, and the only place you can buy it is his little shack on So. Kihei. It is a flavor-explosion (do a google search on "golden glow mango" to see other descriptions). He also sells Haden mangoes, tomatoes, onions, apple bananas, papaya, passionfruit, chicos and sugarcane...along with many other fruits I couldn't recognize. Bring cash, or stop at the nearby Long's Drugs or Star Market and withdraw some, because they don't take plastic or checks.

We tried to stock up on mangoes on our way to the airport for our departing flight--it was Monday afternoon--but nobody was at the stand. We ended up hitting the Kihei farmer's market, but were advised of the rule prohibiting taking mangoes home....which has got to be the dumbest rule I've ever heard of.

The lesson here is:
a) find this place,
b) early in your trip,
c) take cash, and
c) buy all the mangoes (especially Golden Glows) you can get your hands on.

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  1. Amen to that, TTPFred. You can actually get Yee's Orchard mangos from one of the vendors at the Hilo Farmers Market. I think we had the Hayden's...hands down the best mango ever. Living in California, we get lots from Mexico and these put them to S-H-A-M-E! Not sure if I wickedly over paid, but if the vendor is supporting the farmer by extension, then so be it.

    1. I agree 100%. Based on a prior post by *jhulla* I dropped in at Yee's last week. Unfortunately it was toward the end of our trip so I couldn't buy too much, I did pick up some lovely sugar cane; a few apple bananas that Cynaburst and PayOrPlay Jr. inhaled before I ever had a chance to try them (they assure me they were delicious); and a couple of the Hayden mangoes--no Golden Glows in sight, but the Haydens were yummy. They also had a few chicos but not much else on display--but it was late in the day (the only time I could get away to make this little pilgrimage).

      Honestly I found the variety of fruits available in Maui a bit disappointing--a trip to the tiny Kihei farmers market reminded me how spoiled we are here in SoCal where almost everything grows and we have the infrastructure to support lots of boutique farmers--but whatever there is, seems to be at Yee's. (The variety, if not the immediate freshness, was better in Honolulu and, I gather, in Hilo as well.)

      Your advice about going early in the trip is excellent--not only won't USDA let you take home fresh fruits from Hawaiian gardens, they even confiscated Cynaburst's cut, prepared, and boxed fruit salad from the hotel (even though the hotel had assured us there wouldn't be a problem)!

      1. It's not a dumb rule about the mangoes-it would be an agricultrule disaster to mainland crops should you transport undesireable creatures that reside in the pit (seed) of the mangoes. You can consume them in Hawaii or take home to the mainland dried or pickled mangoes but not the whole fruits-or just go to Hawaii more often.

        1. As wonderful as Hawaii fruit can be, we have fruit flies here, something California and the rest of the mainland definately don't want in their fruit.