Text by Lauren Rolland | Images by Tony Heff
The lush, remote town of Hāna offers a quiet, country lifestyle that keeps its residents grounded. There are no malls, no large supermarkets, no creature comforts. “Convenience” is defined by what you can provide for yourself. Born and raised here, Monyca and Ola Eleogram epitomize this lifestyle, and within it, have found a strong connection to the land. In 2013, they dug their roots in deeper with Olamana Organics, a fruit farm on Maui’s east side that the couple now call home.
“We have such an incredible bond with the community because we all grew up together,” says Monyca about Hāna. However, home isn’t much of a resting place for them right now—the pair spend much of their time traveling for their careers. Ola competes professionally through the World Surf League Qualifying Series, a yearlong tour covering 37 surf locations worldwide, while Monyca roams the globe as an ambassador, model, and freesurfer for surf clothing company Roxy. But when the Eleograms are on Maui in the fall and winter months, you can find them every Saturday morning selling seasonal organic fruits at the Upcountry Farmers Market in Kula. “We get there at 6:15 a.m. and we’re sold out by 10 o’clock, 10:30 at the latest,” Ola says.
Everything they sell is grown on their property, a 5.2-acre lot in a lush valley near Hāna. “We bought the property from an older couple that built the home and planted all the trees, all organic,” Ola remarks. “All the avocados were actually from seed, they weren’t even grafted, and somehow they came out amazing.”
Monyca and Ola both take great pride in their fruit farm. They live in a humble home on the property that gets most of its electricity from solar panels, and they continue to expand the farm’s yield. “Ola’s put in 80 trees since we bought the property,” Monyca says. Fruits like tangelos, Tahitian limes, lychee, longgongs, oranges, avocados, lemons, mangos, soursops, Cuban red bananas, apple bananas, and rollineas grow abundantly here. Olamana Organics is widely known for its amazing oranges, which the Eleograms pick and harvest from trees that are nearly 30 years old.
Aside from selling at the Upcountry Farmers Market, Ola and Monyca supply two small grocery stores in Hāna and have a fruit stand on their property, which they pack with produce in the winter months. They also hand out organic eggs from their chickens. “Everyone drops off their egg cartons at our house,” Monyca explains, “and instead of throwing them away, in return we give people fresh eggs.” Eventually, the couple would like to work this into their business plan, but Monyca says for now they’re content to stoke people out.
“We’re just happy to give and share all the amazing things we have on our farm. … This is our life plan for the future, being farmers,” Monyca says. “We’re growing it slowly because obviously it’s not our main thing we concentrate on right now. We need to put our efforts mostly into surfing still, but later, that’s our dream.”