May 25, 2019
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July 2018 The Independent Voice

          The Independent Voice
  “Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii”
Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association  
           July 2018

PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA

President’s Message
Legislative Update
Vog and Your farm
Canadian Tariff on Coffee Beans
Slow Foods Nation Preparation
Giant Mushroom Cluster
Sorting Coffee Beans by Smell
CTAHR Needs Your Input
Kona Historical Society Auction
Coffee and Heart Health Study
Another Use for Coffee Grounds

Recipe: Kona Coffee Fudgy Brownie
Write to Us

Editor – Clare Wilson

President’s Message

What if it happened here? What if the lava came down Mauna Loa, as it did in the 50’s, and threatened in the 80’s.  How should we prepare? How would we recover? I’m sure we’ve all thought about this lately.

I was in Hilo last week for an agricultural disaster recovery meeting.  It was extremely sobering. Eight different agencies stood up and had to give very bad news to those who lost everything.   Farmers who did not have crop insurance will have very few options, besides loan programs.  The USDA cannot even loan in some cases, because there is no land and no crop collateral. The losses are not tax deductible as the IRS does not consider the crop to have any value until it is harvested. It was painful, even as an observer.  Some walked out in despair.

The risks are real with our crops, from weather, pests and Pele. Consider what appropriate contingency planning is necessary for your fields and business.  Depending on your tolerance level, you might consider it important to become familiar with insurance programs. The USDA has two for farms: one private (via KCFA member Lind Services) and the other public (via the NAP program). There’s also business insurance for general liability, theft or interruption.

Farmers are a resilient and independent bunch. We like to think we can go it alone. However, as the Puna farmers are realizing now, without pre-planning, we are truly alone.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

-Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

 Legislative Update

On June 10 the KCFA Legislative Committee placed a “Mahalo Ad” in West Hawaii Today thanking Kona Representatives Richard Creagan, Cindy Evans, and Nicole Lowen for introducing and supporting House Bill 256 (51% minimum Hawaii coffee in “blends”) in the last Legislative Session—and looking forward to working with them on re-introduction and enactment of a Fair Coffee Labeling Law in the 2019 Legislative Session.  The 3 Representatives have communicated the following responses to the ad:

Cindy Evans: “Mahalo for the recognition in the West Hawaii Today.…We have work to do to help the farmers.”

Richard Creagan: “I would like to thank KCFA for the recognition ad in West Hawaii Today. I only wish my efforts could have been more successful on your behalf….I look forward to working with KCFA in the coming session, hopefully as Chair of the Agriculture Committee.”

Nicole Lowen: “I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for the recognition you gave to West Hawaii’s State Legislators in the West Hawaii Today. I admire and commend the hard work and commitment that the Kona Coffee Farmers Association puts into the community to support local farmers. I remain in strong support of amending Hawaii’s laws to require at least 51% Kona coffee in products sold that are marketed as Kona coffee. I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.”

–Submitted by the Legislative Committee

Vog and Your Farm

Most Kona farmers are not yet reporting crop damage from VOG.  Beyond coffee, there can be additional issues to our equipment or to catchment systems caused by the sulfuric compounds and acid rain. Corrosion can occur to fences, pulpers, dryers, and metal roofs.  Future USDA relief programs may cover such losses so take “before” pictures now, and keep an eye out for later issues.  Rain catchment systems can have high pH, leaching metal from roofs and piping into household water.  Take a look at and click the various green tabs for more info on VOG and your farm.

–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Canadian Tariffs on US Products, Including Coffee Beans

“Canada has retaliated against US steel and aluminum tariffs by slapping its own penalties on American exports. More than 40 US steel products attract tariffs of 25%. A tax of 10% has been levied on over 80 other American items including toffee, maple syrup, coffee beans and strawberry jam.”
Check out this story on CNNMoney:

–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Slow Food Nations Preparations

With a lot of serious coordination among a number of people, we have been able to continue to prepare for the big national event in Denver, CO from July 13-15.  You can see our listing on the webpage of Slow Food (  If you are or know anyone in CO who can visit us in Denver, or you will be there, please spread the word!  The product of geographical recognition (Kona coffee, designated by Slow Food USA into their Ark of Taste), will be tasted and sold at this significant festival…

Having requested support from members to help make this happen, the following farms put out effort and contributed.  In advance of our booth time, they all deserve recognition and a huge MAHALO for helping us make this a success and educating and promoting Kona coffee at the national level:

— Buddha’s Cup
— Kanalani Ohana Farm
— Sugai Products
— Malawi Farm
— Kenai Koffee
— Rancho Aloha
— Kona Tropical Farms
— Casablanca Farms LLC
— Keola Childs’
— Malaria Hydroponic Farms
— Monks’ Delight Kona Coffee
— Aloha Alaska Farm

–Submitted by Colehour Bondera

Giant Mushroom Cluster at Buddha’s Cup

Check out this blog about a giant mushroom cluster found at Buddha’s Cup Coffee Farm – amazing! But don’t eat them.

–Submitted by Christine Coleman

 Sorting Coffee Beans by Smell

Joaquin Oster recently attended the June SCA-Europe show in Amsterdam. Most interesting find is a new sorting machine with far reaching consequences for the coffee world.

It is an existing technology or sorting grains and seeds by a Swiss company. Now they have built a prototype for coffee which they displayed, and they are going into mass production soon. As far as they told me they have NOT been on a USA coffee show, so this would be breaking news for the Hawaii coffee world, I am sure. It is way too expensive for the single farmer, but large farms (Rogers Family Farms, Greenwell, Holulaloa Mill, etc.) will improve their bean processing tremendously.

Why it matters: It sorts green beans not only by size, bore holes, color at rapid speed like other existing sorters. But also eliminates sour, over fermented, stinker, floater, off-tasting beans! No other method exists yet.

We know that a single sour bean can spoil a whole pot of coffee; ruin a customer experience with a farm or brand forever. And can give a region a bad reputation overall. Small farms with fluctuating standards and unclean processing equipment are the norm in the coffee world. Now with the ability to sort out beans which sat too long in nooks of pulpers or corners of picking bags, these beans can achieve a never reached consistency in taste and flavor. That’s more justification for higher prices, higher scores, higher recognition.

How the machine does it: It ‘smells’ each bean according to an established olfactory profile for the particular batch. Examines lipids and other chemical consistencies and flings non-conforming beans out. Read more about it here:

–Submitted by Joaquin Oster

CTAHR Needs Your Input

CTAHR needs your input to plan for the future of ag. They request you respond to the Hawaii Farmer Needs Assessment so they can better understand the barriers and needs of farmers related to increasing crop production in Hawaii.

This 3-5 minute survey will help define the kinds of support, extension, training, research, and public policy that may best meet the needs of growers across the state.  Visit to learn more or go directly to the survey here.

A summary of the findings will be posted to in late 2018.  Contact Hunter Heaivilin at for more info.

–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Kona Historical Society Auction
Kona Historical Society is continuing its work this year to preserve Hawaii’s unique history and share it with school children, visitors and kama’aina through our living history programs, free lectures, historical jeep trips, a bustling archive and more.

To support all these things YOU help us do in the community, Kona Historical Society will be auctioning off a number of fun and unique items to bid on starting Sunday, July 8 at 9:00am HST (3:00pm EST), and running until Sunday, July 22 at 7:00pm HST (1:00am EST).

Visit and click “REGISTER TO BID”

–Submitted by Christine Coleman

Positive Coffee and Heart Health Study

A new study has shown that drinking four cups of coffee a day can protect against heart muscle damage through the effect of caffeine on a protein called p27. Follow this link to read about it:

–Submitted by Christine Coleman

Another Use for Coffee Grounds
Burning coffee grounds is a natural repellant for mosquitoes and other insects. Dry out the grounds, place them in the yard on aluminum foil and burn them like incense.

–Submitted by Kay Dixon

Recipes Wanted! If any of you have coffee recipes that you would like to share, please submit them to the editor:

Recipe: Kona Coffee Fudgy Brownie


1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter, cut in pieces
1/3 cup strong coffee
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs beaten
½ cup flour
2 cups chopped macadamia, walnuts or pecans

Melt chocolate, butter and coffee together. Beat eggs and sugar until light. Add chocolate mixture. Stir in flour and nuts.
Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil. Butter foil and pour in the batter. Bake at 375 deg. for 30 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for several hours. Cut into bars. Best stored in refrigerator.

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