World Famous Maui Onions
Maui is famous for many of its unique agricultural products, including its world famous Maui or Kula onion. Many feel Maui’s sweet onion is on par with other famous varieties. These include Georgia’s Vidalia or Washington State’s Walla Walla onion. A sweet onion is an onion that is not pungent. It also has higher sugar and water content and is lower in sulfur than most onions. Like Vidalias, Maui onions are a Yellow Granex type hybrid. Farmers developed them from Texas varieties.
What Makes Them Special
A Maui onion has a stout globular shape with a pale golden peel and a crisp, juicy white flesh. Farmers grow them in the Kula region on the eastern slopes of Haleakala, Maui’s legendary volcano. Many say Maui’s rich volcanic soil, perfect amounts of rainfall and sunshine make Maui onions so special. Farmers do not grow Maui onions in huge quantities. They limit growing to no more than 400 acres of prime agricultural land each year. This makes the relatively limited supply of these onions even more special. One can typically get them during the months of February through November. You can readily identify such onions grown in this region through the trademark “Kula Grown.”
Where to Get Them
The mainland US first became familiar with Maui onions when tourists brought them back home. Today, one can buy Maui onions in most grocery stores throughout Hawaii. You can also purchased them in specialty stores and supermarkets on the mainland West Coast. You can also order them from a number of online retailers.
How to Eat Them
Due to their sweetness, Maui onions are a favorite accompaniment with Hawaiian food. Local people typically eat them raw with Hawaiian salt. You’ll also find them in many varieties of poke, a marinade of raw fish chunks, local seaweed and savory spices.
Maui Onion Event
To celebrate Hawaii’s love of the Maui onion, the community comes together each year at the Maui Onion Festival in late April to early May. This has been a signature event at the Whalers Village in the Ka’anapali Resort since 1990. It features recipe contests, food booths, games, prizes and dinner events.