Daily morning feedings on the farm
Meet The Zirkinds.
Welcome to the Kosher Farm on Maui.
My name is Mendel Zirkind and I'm a Rabbi, Shochet, Chef and Farmer.
I was born in Yerushalayim, Ir Hakodesh into a family of Shluchei Kodesh (The Lubavitcher Rebbe's Shluchim to Eretz Yisrael). Both of my parents came from homes of butchers, shochatim and hachnasas orchim. And so, to no one's surprise, early on in my childhood, I learned I can be of great help in the kitchen. I started as a sous chef for my mom at the age of six, and by age twelve, I was preparing shabbos all by myself.
Around the same time, my mom introduced me to the wonderful world of gardening and growing fruits and vegetables. I had a tiny little back yard, but enough space to dig in and grow herbs, vegetables and the likes. The intoxicating combination of growing and cooking made me wonder what it would be like to self-farm everything I cook. I made up my mind that one day, I'll move out of the city and live on a farm.
Yet, all this time, I knew that this is just a temporary detour from the dream and vision I had for all these years; having a Kosher farm, "farm to table" hospitality with an educational program geared towards young Frum people to learn about farming life, and connecting to HaShem like our forefathers did throughout the generations. The vision slowly took shape and form in my mind, and the one thing that was missing was: place. Where can I find a place that is far enough from a large Jewish community, yet a destination on its own merit and capable to support farm life year round.
With much Hashgacha Pratit (Divine Providence), in early 5777 (2017), my wife and I were asked by the Schustermans, the Rebbe's shluchim to the Island of Maui, to take over their position. To our great surprise, we discovered, that although Maui is known for its thriving tourist industry, about 80% of the land is Agricultural. We realized that Maui is the perfect place to build our home on a farm, provide much needed high-end Kosher food for tourists and host an educational program of agriculture and farming.
I finished Yeshiva in Yerushalayim, went on to learn Shechita in 770 with the Rebbe's Shochtim, moved to Melbourne Australia for my Smicha studies at the esteemed Smicha Program of Rabbi Faitel Levin and was all set to go find a place to learn farming. Little did I know there was no such thing for a frum bochur. I could not find a farm that kept Shabbos or Yom Tov that was open for WWOOFing, and of course nothing with kosher food.
I was very disappointed and quickly turned my attention to getting a degree in economics. Since I was always passionate about cooking, I took some professional cooking classes too. Before I knew it, I found myself working for some of the best kosher restaurants in NYC, and also getting involved in private cheffing.
Aloha world, my name is Chani Zirkind and I'm the farmer's wife and sous chef.
Hailing from Miami Beach and then Southern California, I grew up in the fun and fabulous Marcus family, proud to be the Rebbe's Shluchim. Raised with both of my parents as teachers, I learned the importance of Jewish education from a very young age and was inspired to teach my fellow Jews about their heritage in fun and innovative ways.
Upon graduating from a Teacher's Seminary in Toronto, Canada, I went on to teach Jewish children in various locations around the US. In 2004 I developed Aleph Champ, a karate inspired motivational system of colored levels and stripes that teaches Hebrew School students how to read Hebrew in a fun and exciting way. Last year we took it to a new level and with a devoted young team, we were able to transform the system to fit the needs of Jewish Day Schools too.
Life is full of surprises and moving to Maui after 5 months of marriage was such an unexpected yet thrilling twist. Trust me, it's been quite a challenge (we live in the jungle) but the hard work is paying off as we develop our farm and kosher hospitality.
It's been so humbling and gratifying to see the joy and peace our lifestyle has brought to so many Jews and non-Jews alike. My dream was always to have a home that acts as an "Ir Miklat", a city of refuge. I just never imagined it would be on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Who knows what we can accomplish here? Retreats for women, farm programs for youth, like-minded young or older couples joining us in our vision... Whatever
G-d wants from us we are here and ready for it.
Come visit us.
You just might love it.
Where can you find us?
If you're looking for the non-touristy "local Maui", look no further.
We are perched on a macadamia nut farm in Wailuku on the West Maui Mountains. Ancient streams flow down the mountain and surround our property on all sides, creating an "island on an island". The peaceful sound of flowing water gives an all encompassing feeling of relaxation and peace.
Nestled among massive mango trees, banana groves, avocado and starfruit trees, not to mention coffee bean, fresh fruit is plentifully available for the picking. The macadamia fields are a short walk away and views of the ocean can be glimpsed from our lanai.
Welcome to the jungle!