It used to be that strawberries sucked on Maui. They were imported from California and would arrive expensive and bruised, partially unripe and sour. Now Kula has become synonymous with strawberries on Maui, partially due to Chauncy Monden and Kula Country Farms, where he produces this year-round crop. Monden was a grad of University of Hawaii at Manoa, and could have chosen a fast-track job in finance, but turned to farming instead.
In 1998, when his father retired, he took over the family farm as a fourth-generation farmer who picked up his first hoe at age five. Monden and his wife, Teena, run Kula Country Farms. They made a conscientious choice to raise their children in the country, enthused by a love for Maui’s land. Their vision transcends their 55 acres of juicy, sweet strawberries, onions and cabbages. “One of the benefits of being a farmer,” Monden says, “is the gratification you feel when you produce a consistent product. But we farm also to ensure that we don’t lose agriculture, our farming legacy.”