Every Holiday season local Maui residence take their families to Kula Botanical Garden for a heart-warming outing to retrieve a Christmas tree. They are one of the largest Christmas tree growers in the state of Hawaii. I wanted to know if this weekend would be the last to be able to purchase a Christmas tree, so I called and spoke to Kathy, the woman at the gift shop.
̈WE SOLD OUT! ON THE FIRST WEEKEND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY!” She was ecstatic to spread the good news and rightly so. In the midst of the current global pandemic ‘selling out’ is great news to any local business owner. In this case, the Christmas spirit and the Aloha spirit combined in order to both sustain a local business, as well as disperse sparks of love and unity from family to family, one Christmas tree at a time.
The McCords own and operate a beautiful 9 acre estate that once started as a display garden. Owner Kevin McCord explained that his father Warren McCord was a landscape architect that used the land to showcase his work. He needed to protect the garden from the strong Haleakala winds and by chance, the State Forestry Division gave Warren a load of Monterey Pine. It was a win-win situation for both! Today, the original windbreak installed in 1971 stands at about 150 feet tall protecting the garden. It is a proud symbol of the beginning for the McChord family legacy. They are operated by 3 combined families. Kevin oversees the agriculture business throughout the year and his sister and other family members manage the seasonal sales.
Kula Botanical Gardens was amazed at the support they received from the community, and especially during this covid moment. The surge of people was electric, and Kevin mentioned that the weekend was crazy!! Families were joyfully standing in line from the Christmas tree lot all the way to the driveway. This year was a bit different due to covid and they did take safety precautions. Only a certain number of families were allowed in at a time. Masks were suggested but not required in the outdoor areas as long as proper social distancing were practiced. The garden was forced to close from March to July to comply with Hawaii’s public safety protocol. Now, the recent rush of Christmas tree sales was a tremendous and swift comeback from being shut down. The communities support shined bright for this Maui ohana.
MAHALO to the community and all the local support for helping each other through these times. If we all continue to encourage and support local, we can keep our economy moving in the islands. In the meantime, you can take your family for an outing to visit the garden, they open year round. Currently, Haleakala Waldorf School holds classes in the open garden twice a week, so this is definitely a kid friendly environment families can enjoy anytime!