Mango Mania on Maui

Mangoes3The exotic and mystical mango hails from Southeast Asia and India, as Hindi writings reference the  flavorful fruit as far back as 4000 B.C.  The Buddha himself found solace while meditating under a mango tree within a silent grove and Buddhist monks have cultivated the succulent gems over time. Around 300 or 400 A.D.,  mango seeds traveled the globe with explorers from the Far East to the Middle East, Africa and South America.  Reliant on a warm weather, mangoes flourished in tropical climes near the equator.   In the US, mangoes thrive in Florida, California and Hawaii. History claims that the Spaniard Don Francisco de Paula Marin,  an adviser to King Kamehameha and the Hawaiian monarchy,  planted the first mango seedlings in Hawaii in 1824. Today, the mango has become a staple in the verdant isles.

If you find yourself in Maui this summer, head over to Yee’s Orchard, one of Maui’s oldest farms, for samplings.  If it’s Sunday you can take a tour of their historic property in Kihei — a blossoming orchard created over 65 years ago by Warren Gilbert. After World War II, Dr. Wilbert Yee took over the farm and today, his daughter Patricia runs the lovely orchard where mangoes are handpicked from the 400 trees. Dr. Yee, still spry at 91, leads delightfully off-the-cuff  tours in a golf cart.  While there,  you can sample two varietals—the Golden Glow and Hayden mango—summer’s sweetness in a bite.

Dr. Yee

Yee’s Orchard
1165 South Kihei Road
Kihei, Maui

Tours:  Sunday at 2 p.m. with reservations.  Call (808) 242-9159

The Yee’s fruit stand is open daily.  Cash only.

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