Just saw a depressing Facebook post from my friend Katie McMillian (TEDx Maui) today: “Tragic news from Kipahulu. The Dept. of Health will not continue to allow the Laulima Farms fruit stand to serve any prepared foods… meaning their bicycle peddled smoothies, fresh picked garden salads, and coconut milk lattes!!! Wow, this is one of the rare places on earth where you could experience the true meaning of fresh. Makes no sense that they would approve a tripple fried corn dog stand at the Co. Fair but not this.”
That the post generated 56 comments in seven hours tells me that you people really, Really, REALLY enjoyed the quaint country simplicity that made Laulima Farms such a wonderful little spot in Kipahulu. But hey–Laulima Farms apparently never applied for a permit from the Hawaii Health Department to serve food, so on Aug. 9 the department closed down the cafe.
“They don’t have a food establishment permit,” said Patti Kitkowski, an official with Health Department’s Maui office. “They were selling smoothies. They were also using catchment water, which is not approved. Everything they were doing was not approved. They can sell whole fruit, but they cannot sell baked goods or cut fruit.”
Kitkowski said the department was tipped off by a complaint. This is odd–Laulima Farms has been selling smoothies made from their bicycle-powered blender for years (indeed, Mauitime put a picture of the blender on the cover back in 2004). But no matter–the cafe is no more.
Josh Stearn, the farm’s owner, places the blame squarely on himself.
“We never got a permit,” he told me. “It’s really our own problem. I don’t blame them [the Health Department]. We were never legally supposed to be serving coffee.”
Stearn said that farm will now shift to just an ag stand. He said he’s also decided against applying for a food establishment permit.
“There’s a certified kitchen just across the street, in case people want food,” he said. “I’m happy about it. It means less work.”