Monyca and Ola Eleogram have carved out a pretty good life together. You know them, of course, as professional surfers, but surfing is only a part of what they do. Granted, it’s a big part, but when they’re not in the water, they’re full-blown farmers, running their fingers through Maui’s rich soil on their farm, Olamana Organics.
Being farmers wasn’t exactly something they planned for when they were younger, but after Ola broke his leg in the Volcom Pipe Pro in 2011, a seed was planted in his brain that blossomed into a very green thumb. “Ola’s farming interest started really developing around 2011,” Monyca explained. “He couldn’t surf so he started studying and planting a lot, and fell in love with it.”
After they got married in 2013, they started looking around for a place to buy. It didn’t take long for them to make the decision to set down roots on what would become Olamana Organics. “When we first stepped on this property, it was pretty much game over,” Monyca said. “Love at first sight. The fruit trees that were already here were flourishing, there were rocky areas, and other zones with lush soil, too.”
Since then, they’ve turned Olamana Organics into a dreamland, of sorts. They grow a wide range of exotic fruits and vegetables to provide for themselves, their loved ones, and their community. They don’t use any kind of pesticides; everything that comes off their farm is totally organic. It’s a rewarding way of life, but, as is generally the case with anything worthwhile, it’s not always the easiest thing. Running a farm comes with a unique set of challenges, and the learning curve is a steep one. “We are still learning,” Monyca said. “Sometimes things work out really well, and sometimes they don’t. There’s a lot of science involved, but growing fruit trees or anything really can be unpredictable. You have to be persistent, patient, and willing to give a lot of time and love to your plants.”
Having a big property full of food takes an extraordinary amount of work. The end result is worth the squeeze, but the upkeep can be daunting. “There are a lot of things about farming that aren’t fun,” Monyca continues. “Like weed eating, digging a bunch of holes, or clearing invasive plants covered in thorns. The fun part is picking fruit for the house or family and making homegrown meals. Also just cruising around and taking it all in.”
All that patience and persistence is paying off, but as one might imagine, it’s difficult to balance surfing and farm life sometimes, especially in a place like Maui. “When the waves are good, we are surfing — even if it has to be right before dark or something,” Monyca said. “We have to be. Ola works a construction job too so we work a lot. Surfing is our first love, and it brings us so much happiness. The waves don’t get really good here super often so when it’s fun, we have to be there. If we have a fruit delivery or something like that, of course, we have to get that done, but I think we both really support each other’s need to get in the ocean, and I don’t want that to ever fade out as a big part of our life.”
Editor’s note: This feature is supported by our friends at Onewheel.