August 20, 2019
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February 2016- The Independent Voice

The Independent Voice
“Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii”

Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association   February 2016
PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA                                                   

President’s Message
Mycotrol is Back!
Coffee Talk – Pruning Workshop
The Next Coffee Talk – February 18
Legislative Update
Aulani Disney Resort – Follow Up
Coffee and Food Safety
Cool Tools – Life after Click-n-Ship
CBB Research
What, Exactly, is Coffee Flour?
Is Caffeinated Coffee Better for You than Coffee?
Eco-Friendly Solution to Coffee Rust
Rapid Ohia Death
Legislators Target Rapid Ohia Death
More on the Spread of Rapid Ohia Death
Recipe: Coffee Caramel Crunch Popcorn
Write to Us
Editor – Clare Wilson

President’s Message
Aloha KCFA Members and Supporters—
 Our 2016 Annual General Membership meeting was held on January 8 at Kahalu’u Beach Park Pavilion—and was a great event. The location was perfect; the day was sunny and beautiful.  All of us had the opportunity to greet and share ideas with fellow coffee farmers.  Following the potluck lunch, retiring President Tom Butler called the AGM meeting to order.  Reports were given on activities during 2015.  Four candidates for 2-year terms on the
Board of Directors were elected by acclimation:   
Sally Brown
Kay Dixon
Suzanne Shriner
Karen Zulkowski
At its follow-on meeting the Board elected its 2016 Officers:
President—Bruce Corker
Vice-President—Suzanne Shriner
Secretary—Karen Zulkowski
Treasurer—Kurt Schweickhard

The process of naming committee chairs and members is now underway. Every one of us is encouraged to consider joininga committee.Committee work is a great way to become more involved with, and give back to, our Kona coffee farming community. Committees where we are particularly looking for additional members are Education, Fundraising, Social Events, and Estate. Other standing committees are: Finance, Kona Heritage, Branding, Legislative, Membership, PR/Marketing, Pest & Disease, and Website.Please let us know on which committee or committees you are interested in serving at
We look forward to hearing from you.
Aloha, Bruce Corker

Mycotrol is Back!
After losing its organic certification last year because of soybean issues in the carrier oil, the maker of Mycotrol reformulated the  Beauveria product.  It’s now certified organic under the label Mycotrol ESO.Hawaii Department of Ag fast-tracked the approval process and our organic growers should see it on shelves soon.  Bioworks tells us that the new carrier is much improved, and does not have the same solidification issues.  Both Botanigard and Mycotrol have the same Beauveria strain and should have similar efficacies.  Both now also come in a wettable powder formulation, which may aid mixing in large tanks.
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Coffee Talk – Pruning Workshop

The tree on the left has not been pruned for years and is unproductive.  The tree on the right is pruned and will be ready to grow when the season kicks in.

 Another successful KCFA: Coffee Talk workshop was held on January 22.  Thanks to Bob Nelson for his input and farm access, and to Bob Smith for his input and willingness to share knowledge.  After 25+ years, they know that pruning takes forethought if you want to insure the maximum yield with the maximum kindness to your trees.
   Thanks to KCFA’s new vice-president Suzanne Shriner who is also a co-chair of the KCFA’s Education Committee for putting all the effort into making this a winner – getting all the preliminary work done and for being there to facilitate the discussion. As Suzanne says,” Same questions are asked each year but we all need to reinforce what we do annually”.  This year the dry conditions presented a unique situation.
   More than 35 Members, as well as renewals & new members- a few from Pauuilo, Hamakua to south Kona went away with more confidence.
   Next farming Coffee Talk on Selection is scheduled for May 20 at Bob Nelson’s farm.  What to select when the new growth happens, is equally important.  So many decisions but there is again, a method.  Mark your Calendars!
 -Submitted by Cecelia Smith

The Next Coffee Talk – February 18

The next Coffee Talk will be held on Thursday, February 18 from 3-4:30 pm at CTAHR. Come and “Talk Story” with Jeri Hall and Ashley Obrey, the new Land Asset Managers for Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate in South Kona. There will be no formal presentation but Hall and Obrey would like to introduce themselves to the Kona coffee farming community, learn more about what the KCFA does and meet its farmers. Mark your Calendars for this too!
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Legislative Update
 Senate Bill 2519—Coffee Labeling
 On January 22 at the request of KCFA, Big Island Senator Russell Ruderman introduced SB2519.  This Senate measure would put in place the two changes to Hawaii’s damaging and antiquated 10% coffee blend law that were unanimously requested by the Hawaii County Council in Resolution No. 501-14.  Those changes are: (1) a minimum of 51% genuine content for “Hawaii Coffee Blends”; and (2) Identification on the label of the origin of the foreign-grown coffee in those blends. To read HB2519 go to:
The Senate bill is the companion to the identical bill (HB387) introduced in the House last session by Big Island Representatives Richard Creagan, Nicole Lowen, Cindy Evans, and Joy San Buenaventura. 
To read the Hawaii Herald-Tribune article about Sen. Ruderman’s bill go to
 We encourage KCFA members to take a minute and send a thank you email to Sen. Ruderman for his support of Hawaii County farmers:
 Submitted by the Legislative Committee

Aulani Disney Resort – Follow UP
The November “Independent Voice” included an article featuring KCFA member Kim Schneider’s letter expressing deep concerns about the deceptively (and illegally) labeled “Kona Blend” offered in rooms at the luxury Aulani Disney Resort on Oahu. After a copy of the article was sent to the Aulani, the resort’s Public Affairs Manager, Nikki Moreno, wrote in a letter: 
 “Mahalo for your recent letter to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, and bringing to our attention your concerns about the coffee offered in our guest rooms. Our goal at Aulani is to provide a family resort destination where guests can experience an authentic Hawaii vacation…We understand that with the sharing of Hawaii’s culture and story comes a great responsibility to help protect many of the natural assets that Hawaii holds so dear. I am appreciative of any opportunity we can partake to help uphold this obligation, including full compliancy on labeling of products.  I hope you understand that this oversight was not meant in harm, and we are working to rectify the issue you have presented immediately. It is our wish to work with the local Hawaii community to help support the stories of our land, people and culture so they can continue to be respected and shared for years to come
 In a subsequent telephone discussion, Ms. Moreno has committed to keep KCFA advised of Aulani’s progress in “rectifying the issue”.
 Thank you, again, to Kim Schneider for helping to alert us and the Aulani.  Visitors who pay premium prices at luxury Hawaii resorts should be offered the luxury of genuine Kona coffee–not an inferior imposter that damages the reputation of our heritage crop.
  We encourage each KCFA member to let us know when you encounter similar misuse of the Kona name. 
–Submitted by the Branding Committee

Coffee and the Food Safety Modernization Act
A letter from Weston Yap, CPCU
Good news, coffee is exempt under the Food Safety Modernization Act (as long as folks don’t skip roasting and goeating cherries raw.) The most recent version of rules came out on 11/13/2015. You’re also exempt if you earn less than $25K over 3 years. Here’s where coffee is exempted:
The rule does not apply to: 
 · Produce that is not a raw agricultural commodity. (A raw agricultural commodity is any food in its raw or natural state)
 · The following produce commodities that FDA has identified as rarely consumed raw: asparagus; black beans, great Northern beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans; garden beets (roots and tops) and sugar beets; cashews; sour cherries; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; sweet corn; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; horseradish; hazelnuts; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; winter squash; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts
  -Farms that have an average annual value of produce sold during the previous three-year period of $25,000 or lessThe rule provides an exemption for produce that receives commercial processing that adequately reduces the presence of microorganisms of public health significance, under certain conditions.
>From website: source=govdelivery&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
   I still recommend coffee growers have sufficient general liability insurance, and to consider product recall coverage.
  Please call me with questions. (808) 673-8528 Weston Yap, CPCU
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Cool Tools – Life after “Click-n-Ship”
   The USPS just raised their rates and simultaneously wiped out the discount for online postage through Click-n-ship.   Whaaat??
If you are frustrated with their clunky website system and mad because it’s costing you more, there are options.   For a monthly fee of about $15, you can switch over to Endicia or to   Both have desktop apps for the PC or Mac, both streamline into website shopping carts AND both still have commercial discounts for postage ($11.95 versus $13.45 retail flat rate).  So if you ship at least weekly, it will probably be cheaper,  and definitely faster, than
Two years ago, our business signed up for a 30-day free trial (still available) and never looked back. Pro tip, you can export your USPS address book (.csv format) and import it to your desktop address book for linking to Endicia. It should be noted that Endicia does not print SCAN forms unless you pay for the top-level account. (ed. note- does offer SCAN forms for the $15/mo customer.)However, the USPS does not require SCANs, only “encourages” them, regardless of what the clerks tell you.
   Endicia and Stamps also tie into desktop label makers such as the Dymo or Zebra systems.  With a Dymo 4XL, you can print 4×6 adhesive postage on thermal labels. Heavy users will come out ahead over the cost of inkjet cartridges. Do you have a cool tool? Email

-Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Coffee Berry Borer Research

This Tiny Coffee Pest Can Consume Enough Caffeine That Would Kill A Human

   The coffee berry borer  By Eurasia Review January 10, 2016 The coffee berry borer is a plague that affects coffee crops, but amazingly this beetle has a detoxification system that allows it to safely consume the equivalent of 500 espressos, a level so high that it would kill a human.
This is the finding of Mexican researcher Javier A. Ceja Navarro, as part of his work in the Berkeley National Laboratory (US) where he extracted DNA from the beetles, then sequenced it to study the insect-associated microbes.
In his first results he disclosed that the insects, although feeding from the coffee grain in several countries, have different microbial communities, sharing just a set of 19 species of bacteria.
“The aim was to study which are they and how they are associated with the digestive tract of the insect. For the study we took samples of insects from different locations like Hawaii, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Kenya, India and Guatemala,” Ceja said.    Considering this insect’s capability, the specialist in biotechnology decided to study microbial communities associated with the digestive system of the beetle native to Africa, and which has the virtue of surviving such  exposure to this kind of substances.
   In the second part of the research, Ceja extracted the digestive tract of the insect and isolated 13 species of bacteria with the ability to survive only with caffeine.    Once discovered that the coffee berry borer has this amount of bacteria able to live actively on caffeine, the researcher took the task of finding out whether it was possible to control them.
   After analysis, the team decided to test antibiotics on the borer beetle, to see if it was still able to degrade caffeine and the result was negative. “We removed the microbial communities in the digestive tract and the transformation of caffeine stopped, then decided to take some of the isolated microorganisms, reintroduce them in the bug and see if the ability to degrade a bit of caffeine came back and it did,” Ceja said. Currently, the team is trying to develop new strategies to control the microbes that support the destructive ability of the coffee berry borer. “We look to take away the beetle’s taste for coffee and for it to be affected by consuming it like any other insect would,” said the researcher.
The research team will study the entire genome of the microorganisms in the digestive tract of the beetle to understand their mechanisms, and test the development of small chemical molecules that would only affects the coffee berry borer. Berkeley National Laboratory is interested in continuing this project because of the impact it may have to mitigate the damage caused by the borer to the coffee crops. The specialist said that the next stages of research for the development of chemical molecules could take up to two years to have a final product approved and ready to be used in the control of the coffee berry borer. Source: Agencia ID

–Submitted by Anita Kelleher

Eco-friendly Solution to Coffee Rust could Benefit Costa Rica
By Jaime Lopez,
   BioNovelus, a clean tech company that aims to offer a portfolio of green solutions for various applications, recently
received positive results from lab and field trials showing BioNovelus’ technology as an effective, eco-friendly biopesticide
against Hemileia vastatrix, the fungus named “coffee rust,” or “roya” in Central and South America. The company hopes
to put this eco-friendly solution to the test in February.
   Coffee rust is a fungus that has been destroying coffee trees for years, costing one billion dollars per year to
the coffee industry, along with 500,000 lost jobs, and leaving farmers in despair. Coffee rust is also believed to be
responsiblefor the multiple waves of illegal immigration, mostly children, coming in 2014 and 2015 from Central America
to the United States.
  As reported by The Costa Rica Star in 2013, a National Emergency Phytosanitary Decree was enacted due to the severe
damage caused to coffee crops and the sever economic loss. Climate change has been cited as one of the catalysts
for the spread of coffee rust in Costa Rica and Central America.
   In the region of Guanacaste alone, the crop loss was estimated to have been around 30 percent, and required
emergency funding in excess of $40 million to avoid further damage.
   “Valued at 1.8 billion dollars in 2013, the global market for biopesticides is expected to reach $4.36 billion dollars by
2019,our first product is designed as a biodegradable, eco-friendly alternative to toxic fungicides.” says BioNovelus
President Jean Ekobo. “Regulations for pesticides are becoming more rigorous, which will increase the demand for
organic products.” The company is currently conducting another pilot test in Mexican coffee plantations before moving
 on to Costa Rica and Central America in February.
--Submitted by Christine Coleman 

What, Exactly, is Coffee Flour? 

By Dan Nosowitz,
   A release this week from Brandeis University suggested amazing new uses for “coffee flour,” which could deliver the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, or CGA, to people in new and more efficient ways.
   The Brandeis coffee flour is really a less-baked coffee bean. Typically a bean, which starts out sort of greenish, is roasted until brownish. But Brandeis’s Dan Perlman says that this roasting process drastically reduces the amount of CGA in the coffee.
   His solution is to barely roast it at all—at low temperatures and for a very quick period of time. Then he freezes it with liquid nitrogen and pulverizes it into a powder.
   “At the end of the process, you get a wheat-colored flour. Its taste is nutty, pleasant and mild,” says the release. The flour can be mixed with other flours, similar to cricket flour, buckwheat flour, or most other non-wheat flours, and used in the many ways that any other flour can be used. Presto: coffee-flour cookies. Fun!
   And yet if you go looking into “coffee flour,” you’ll find that this is far from the only potential product using that phrase. In fact there’s a company called Coffee Flour that’s also working on a product that bears the phrase. Created by former Starbucks engineer Dan Belliveau, Coffee Flour isn’t made from coffee beans at all.
Instead, it’s made from all the other parts of the plant. Coffee beans are actually the seeds of the coffee plant, which produces a fruit (perfectly edible, but not often exported) usually called a coffee cherry.
   When the beans are harvested, there’s a huge heap of pulverized fruits lying around. Coffee Flour—the company, this time—takes that fruit, dries it, and blends it into a powder that’s less a normal flour and more like a spice.
   The company claims that, per gram, it has more iron than spinach, more protein than kale, more potassium than a banana, more fiber than wheat flour, and more antioxidants than a pomegranate—though of course you’re unlikely to be consuming all that much of it.
   These are two totally different products, but one thing’s for sure: alternative flours are entering their next heyday, and coffee will probably be a part of it.
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

Is Caffeinated Flour Better for You than Coffee?

By Alexis Reliford,
   You’ve probably heard about all the research on the health perks of your morning brew. But the latest buzz is about coffee flour, which may be even better for you.
   Its body-boosting secret? A large dose of the antioxidant chlorogenic acid (CGA), according to the flour’s inventor, Daniel Perlman, PhD, a biophysicist at Brandeis University.
   CGA, found in raw coffee beans, is thought to be responsible for some of java’s most impressive benefits. But much of this powerful nutrient is broken down when the beans are roasted at high temperatures.
   Perlman has figured out how to make tasty coffee flour from green beans that are just partially baked (at lower temps for less time) so they retain nearly all of their CGA, the Boston Globe reported.
   Pearlman scored a patent on his process last month, and hopes a food company will license the flour—which contains three to four times as much CGA as roasted beans. He told Eater a number of companies have already tested it in bakery products.And yes, coffee addicts, it offers a caffeine fix too.
   “This flour contains 2.5 percent caffeine by weight,” Pearlman explained to Eater. “So if you were to put four grams of this into, say, a breakfast muffin, it would be the equivalent of drinking a cup of coffee.”
   Just don’t count on a post-espresso kick: “I would expect [the flour’s caffeine] to be absorbed a little more gradually than the caffeine in a cup of coffee, so [it would offer] a more sustained release and longer-term stimulation,” he said.
   Coffee scones with a subtle but long-lasting buzz? Yes, please!
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

Rapid Ohia Death – Ceratocystis Wilt of Ohia  

From CTAHR’s web page
A newly identified disease has killed large numbers of mature ʻōhiʻa trees (Metrosideros polymorpha) in forests and residential areas of the Puna and Hilo Districts of Hawaiʻi Island. Landowners have observed that when previously healthy-looking trees begin to exhibit symptoms they typically die within a matter of weeks. Pathogenicity tests conducted by the USDA Agriculture Research Service have determined that the causal agent of the disease is the vascular wilt fungus, Ceratocystis fimbriata (Keith and others 2015). Although a different strain of Ceratocystis fimbriata has been present in Hawaiʻi as a pathogen of sweet potato for decades (Brown and Matsuura, 1941), this is a new strain of the fungus and the first record of any Ceratocystis species affecting ʻōhiʻa. It is not yet known whether this widespread occurrence of ʻōhiʻa mortality results from an introduction of an exotic strain of the fungus or whether this constitutes a new host of an existing strain.  This disease has the potential to kill ʻōhiʻa trees statewide.

–Submitted by Kally Goschke

Legislators Target Rapid Ohia Death
(A long article but important in that it relates to invasive species and diseases for crops such as coffee and how we can help support the efforts of the legislators – Editor) 
By COLIN M. STEWART Hawaii Tribune-Herald
   The entire Big Island delegation to the state House of Representatives is endorsing a bill seeking to address the growing problem known as rapid ohia death. Scientists have observed mortality rates in heavily infested areas of between 50 and 90 percent due to the disease, which is caused by a fungus. Rapid ohia death was initially observed in Puna, but in the past several years it has rapidly spread to areas including Kona, Ocean View, Honaunau and Gleenwood, said Lisa Keith, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Scientists say the disease, which is also known as ohia wilt, has the capability of killing ohia trees statewide, but so far it has only been observed on Hawaii Island. It has not yet been found in North Hilo, Hamakua or Kohala.
   House Bill 1597 directs the state Department of Agriculture to research and report on the causes and possible control measures for the recently identified disease. The bill was introduced and passed in its first reading on the House floor Wednesday, the first day of the Legislative Session. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Nicole Lowen, D-Kailua-Kona, seeks to appropriate $200,000 to fund the preparation of the report, which is to be presented to legislators during the 2017 legislative session.
   “The Legislature finds that rapid ohia death disease is devastating thousands of acres of native forest on the island of Hawaii,” the bill reads. “The ohia makes up about 50 percent of the state’s native forest and is a keystone species in native watershed areas.
   Lowen said Thursday that her bill had so far received widespread support, despite legislators often having their own pet projects to hold their attention. “All those things are important,” she said of their various projects. “It’s hard to say that one thing is more important than another. But this particular one has the potential to be quite devastating. The prospect of this spreading is really frightening. … It would be devastating to our native forests. … There’s impacts it would have to endangered species, and to our watersheds.”
   State Rep. Clift Tsuji, D-Hilo, agreed. As chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Tsuji said he has long championed efforts to combat destructive invasive species and diseases that can impact Hawaii Island’s flora and fauna. “Not only is it a big threat, it’s a continuation of a neverending journey of invasive species threatening our island,” he said. Tsuji said the state currently lacks the resources to respond appropriately to such threats, pointing out that federal inspectors at Hawaii ports, who inspect shipments leaving the state, outnumber state Department of Agriculture inspectors, who look at shipments entering Hawaii, by a margin of 4-1. He added that the public can help fund such measures by providing their support and testimony as bills such as HB 1597 make their way through the legislative process. “Hearing from the citizenry is so very important,” Tsuji said. “I’ve been imploring the media to keep the public abreast and informed of what’s happening as we go through committee hearings.”
   Keith said she was excited to see the bill making its way through the Legislature, because it will provide funding to look deeper into a mystery that she and her fellow researchers are just beginning to learn about. “We’re continuing to do new things, like fungicide testing. We’ve got six new potential chemicals we’re looking at (that could kill the ohia wilt fungus),” she said. “And we understand more about the genetics and biology now. But we’re just scratching the surface. (The appropriation) will allow us to do real detailed studies. I think we’ll make more progress in a lot of areas, producing more knowledge and information to lead to better management and control.”
   In August, the state Board of Agriculture placed Big Island ohia under quarantine, limiting the transport and shipping of the trees and products made from ohia. However, the fungus has continued its rapid spread across the island after its initial discovery in Puna in 2010. In a response to questions emailed Thursday afternoon, University of Hawaii Extension Forester J.B. Friday called the quarantine a “bright spot” amid rather bleak news regarding the spread of the fungus. “We have tested several shipments of logs that were to be shipped to other islands and found the fungus on several of these, which were then not shipped,” he wrote. “We appreciate the good work of the Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture.”
   Friday added that support from government and private foundations has been strong early on. “Our task now is to keep the momentum going …” he stated. “We have funds and are in the process of hiring scientists to look at the disease itself, the molecular biology of the disease, insects that may carry the disease, and technicians and outreach staff. Much of the funding we have is only for the year 2016, though, so we really appreciate the legislators introducing a bill to fund ongoing efforts to understand and manage this disease that affects our forests and all of us.”
   In a related step, a separate bill also introduced by Lowen seeks to allow the state government to respond more quickly when future threats arise. House Bill 1596 creates an invasive species rapid response fund for the purpose of eradicating newly detected invasive species. The fund would be an important step in preventing species from becoming entrenched before government agencies can react, as was the case with fire ants, coqui frogs and other species which have run roughshod over Hawaii’s ecosystems in recent years, she said. “Acting early means we can eradicate (invasive species), instead of ending up spending much more just dealing with controlling them,” Lowen said. “Once they get rooted in the state, all we can hope to do is manage them.”
The bill passed its first reading on Wednesday.
–Submitted by Christine Coleman
More on Ohia Death
From the Hawaii Tribune-Herald 
The spread of ohia wilt on Hawaii Island is much greater than originally feared, with the deadly tree fungus being confirmed in Kona and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for the first time, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
To read the entire article:
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

Recipe: Coffee Caramel Crunch Popcorn
Recipe by
8 cups popped popcorn
2 cups brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup brewed coffee
Line a 9×13 casserole dish or deep baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Spread popcorn evenly on baking sheet.
In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, light corn syrup and brewed coffee. While stirring constantly with wooden spoon, heat over medium-high until temperature reaches 260 degrees F.
Immediately remove from heat and pour over popcorn. Stir to coat. Allow to cool before eating. Enjoy!
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

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