July 17, 2019
Home < KCFA Business < Newsletters- The Independent Voice < June 2015 The Independent Voice

June 2015 The Independent Voice

The Independent Voice
Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association    June 2015
PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA              
www.konacoffeefarmers.org       info@konacoffeefarmers.org

Message from President Tom
This Month on the Farm
“The Independent Voice” Cited in Entomological Journal
Kona Coffee for Chuck & Mary Lou
Legislative Update
It’s an El Nino Year!
The Plant Whisperer
Vidalia Onion Brand Protected by Georgia Dept of Ag
Bees, Fish, and Cat Susceptibility to Pyrethrin
Coffee Trees planted on Mauna Kea for Reforestation
What to do with Used Coffee Grounds
A Tip from Mary Lou
Recipe: Kona Coffee Rub for Burgers
Write to Us
Editor – Clare Wilson

Message from President Tom
Hello fellow farmers and readers,
   Have you been watching your beans grow like I have? I am still getting May flowers too. Inwardly I groan because it can mean either another round of work that just won’t wait or another round of beetles that have to be eliminated. Like one of the farmers said at the meeting we had with the USDA Assistant Secretary who visited last month, “You have to tend to the trees”, meaning you can’t put it off. It’s the same at KCFA.
   We have been busy with a variety of plans and actions. If you read our monthly minutes you get a better idea of what we are doing.
We are renewing the Botanigard bassiana grant with HDOA. The entire grant money is going to the farmers as all the work to get it was done by KCFA. The writing of the grant was done by one of the board of directors, the workshops are given by our Education Committee and we handle all the red tape free of charge to our farmers.
   The Legislative Committee has been working as hard as ever to keep us up to date with what is going on in Honolulu. There has been an upheaval in the State Senate leadership which doesn’t look like is going to behoove Kona coffee farmers. Read about it in this newsletter or on our website www.konacoffeefarmers.org . KCFA is enlarging its Public Relations and Marketing budget to get the word out mostly about what Kona coffee is and isn’t. As you know KCFA doesn’t believe that the blending laws are fair nor do they comply with the spirit of Truth-In-Labeling. The powers to be don’t seem to think the same so we are going more directly to the consumer.
   Two exciting new approaches are because of KCFA’s interaction with a local company. We are going to open up a new market for Kona coffee beans that will benefit our farmer members.
   The other is that KCFA is working (post our super hero Marylou who was so adept at planning events for us) to host a dinner Fun Fundraiser at a local venue. I think it is really going to be delightful.
   We will let you know when we get the details finished which should be soon, so keep alert.
   With Aloha,

This Month on the Farm
   June is the month when your coffee is in full growth mode and the cherry is starting to fill out.  If you have not fertilized yet, now is the time.  Don’t put it off, this is the time when the coffee trees really need the nutrition.
   Vertical selection and suckering should be done now also.  Remember, you want to select 3 new verticals per tree.  If you have many healthy and well connected shoots, you might want to keep 4 or 5 to account for Banana Moth damage.  When you make the final selection in August you can then make the final selection of 3.
   With the wet humid weather that we have been experiencing, the Beauvaria bassiana is very active and you will see the white fungal sporulation on many of the dead beetles.  
Submitted by Bob Smith

“The Independent Voice” Cited in Entomological Journal
   The Kona Coffee Farmers Association’s acclaimed newsletter, “The Independent Voice”, was cited as a source for information included in an article published by the “Annals of the Entomological Society of America” on April 14, 2015. The article is entitled “Determining the Origin of the Coffee Berry Borer Invasion of Hawaii”.  The authors are Eric C. Chapman and James D. Harwood of the University of Kentucky and Russell H. Messing of UH Manoa.
   The major portion of the article presents an interesting description of a genetic analysis of Coffee Berry Borer which leads to a conclusion that the most likely route of the Hawaii infestation was from Kenya to Uganda to Latin America and then to Hawaii. 
In the remaining portion the article considers how CBB may have traveled from Latin America to Hawaii.  It is in connection with this question that the article cites KCFA’s newsletter.  The first citation is to the July 2013 Independent Voice in connection with the following passage:  “A quarantine of incoming coffee plants and plant parts (seeds, cuttings, rootstock, etc.) has been in effect in Hawaii since 1888 to protect the industry, but the law was amended in the 1970s to allow bulk unprocessed fumigated coffee to be imported for the purpose of mixing with high-quality local beans subsequently sold as ‘Kona Coffee,’ though it contains only 10% Kona beans.”  The second citation is to an editorial by Christine Sheppard in the October 2010 edition of the Independent Voice in connection with a passage in the article that reads: “Some growers have voiced concern that imported beans may have been the source of the beetle invasion.” 
   Although citing no supporting data and acknowledging that there has been “a lack of adequate inspection” of goods entering Hawaii, the journal article concludes the most likely source of the introduction of CBB into Hawaii Island was from coffee workers or visitors traveling from Latin America.  To read Christine Sheppard’s editorial with its alternative–and more compelling–conclusion that “the overwhelming probability is that CBB was brought in with shipments [by the blenders] of green coffee to Hawaii “, go to
 To read the full journal article, go to: http://tinyurl.com/hawaiicoffee-weebly

–Submitted by Bruce Corker

KCFA Board Present Chuck and Mary Lou Future Kona Coffee
As a parting thank you to Chuck and Mary Lou Moss, the KCFA Board presented the couple with a certificate promising one pound of 100% Kona coffee every month for one year. We won’t forget them and we don’t want them to forget us.
–Submitted by Clare Wilson; photo by Anita Kelleher

Legislative Update
       On May 5 at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session, there was a takeover of the Hawaii State Senate leadership by a faction of senators who are friendly to developers and big agriculture.  Senate President Donna Mercado Kim was deposed and she was replaced by Sen. Ron Kouchi.
       The most significant immediate impact for coffee farmers was the removal by the takeover faction of Hawaii County Senator Russell Ruderman as Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  During the 2015 Session, Sen. Ruderman had taken strong stands in support of family farmers—including sponsorship of SB594 which would have put an end to the use of the words “Kona Blend” on packages of 90% foreign-grown coffee.
       The new leadership faction has also diminished the importance of agriculture by abolishing the Agriculture Committee and consigning agriculture matters to a new Water, Land and Agriculture Committee.  The Chair of this new committee is Sen. Mike Gabbard who has not been supportive of the interests of coffee farmers.
      This Senate coup is a disappointing development.
         HB482 has been passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor to sign or veto. 
        The background on the bill is as follows:  Last year HB1514 was enacted into law.  That 2014 law (1) mandated the HDOA to create and directly administer a B. bassiana subsidy program for coffee farmers; (2) appropriated $500,000 for the 2014-2015 fiscal year for the HDOA to implement the subsidy program; and (3) authorized the hiring of a temporary specialist for the program. 
       This year’s bill (HB482) bill makes a minor amendment to last year’s measure—but raises a host of questions.   The amendment authorizes the hiring of a temporary “manager” to run the program (as contrasted with a “specialist”) and authorizes up to $50,000 in salary and $25,000 in fringe benefits for the manager position.  The questions raised are:
     **What has HDOA done in the past year to implement the Legislature’s mandate?
     **How much, if any, of the $500,000 appropriation for FY2014-15 has HDOA used this year?  Is the unspent portion lost for this subsidy program at the close of the fiscal year—6/30/15?
      **Did the HDOA use the $50,000 allocated by the HB1514 to hire a “specialist” to implement the program during the past year? If so, who was that specialist?
      **What funds have been allocated for this CBB subsidy program for the upcoming 2015-2016 fiscal year?
To review HB1514 go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/bills/HB1514_CD1_.htm
To Review HB482 go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/bills/HB482_CD1_.HTM
 —Submitted by the Legislative Committee

It’s an El Nino Year!
   Forecast calls for 5 to 8 tropical cyclones this season
   Read and be prepared because it may impact us in Kona. All the info here: http://westhawaiitoday.com/hurricane-season-2015
  The article in the West Hawaii Today says it will be more severe than the one in 1997-1998 which we recorded here in Honaunau mauka as a very wet summer and very dry winter. Batten down the hatches!
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

’Plant Whisperer’ has vision for Nelson (New Zealand) Coffee Industry

This is an intriguing article about Marion van Dijk, a man who is truly one with the plants. It talks of his successful climatization of coffea arabica trees to cooler environments, and of his lifestyle which most would consider eccentric but perhaps some of us would like to follow. The complete article is here:  http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/68730927/plant-whisperer-has-vision-for-nelson-coffee-industry
–Submitted by Anita Kelleher

Georgia Dept. of Agriculture Acts Swiftly to Protect the “Vidalia Onion” Brand 
   On May 7, 2015, Georgia State Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black met with Vidalia onion growers to hear allegations that Stanley Farms had recently processed more than 400 truckloads of conventional yellow Florida onions at the same facility where it processes Vidalias without separating the two as required by Georgia law—an infraction that carries a fine of $5,000 per incident.  The growers also raised allegations that Stanley may have labeled the Florida onions as Vidalias. Stanley Farms is a large onion processing company in Vidalia, Georgia that was acquired last year by interests connected to billionaire Bill Gates.
    At the meeting Commissioner Black announced that the Georgia Department was immediately launching an investigation into the matter. The State of Georgia holds the Vidalia onion trademark and the Department of Agriculture is charged with protecting it.  The Department has a reputation of “ferociously” defending the Vidalia trademark.   To review a news article on this matter, go to
    There is a stark (and unfortunate contrast) between this immediate action taken by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the record of inaction of the HDOA in protecting the “Kona Coffee” brand.  The HDOA holds a trademark for 100% Kona Coffee, but we are not aware of any action ever having been taken by the HDOA to enforce the trademark.
    Why is the State of Hawaii not providing to the growers of its geographically identified agricultural crops (honey, tea, macadamia nuts, Maui onions, coffee) the types of protections that Georgia provides for Vidalia onion growers, Idaho provides for its potato growers, California provides for Napa and Sonoma grape growers, and Vermont provides to its Maple sugar producers?
 –Submitted by the Branding Committee

 Bees,Fish,& Cat Susceptibility to Pyrethrin
The following factsheet about the pesticide Pyrethrin was composed by the Journal of Pesticide Reform. It details the potential risks of using this insecticide.
  The Pyronil label provides directions for use and precautions for using pyronyl:  http://www.fightthebite.net/download/labels/pyronyl.pdf
 Beneficials: squarenecked grain beetles / predator beetles are cited on page 6 under Stored Product Insects
 –Submitted by Kally Goschke

500 Kona Coffee Trees Planted as Part of Reforestation Efforts

PHOTO: Miss Kona Coffee, Ariel Enriquez
(Reprinted from May 21, 2015 Hawaii Tribune Herald)

   The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative along with the Kona Coffee and Tea Co., Miss Kona Coffee, Miss Aloha Hawaii and many others from the Kona coffee industry planted 500 keiki coffee trees May 15 on the slope of Mauna Kea.
   The Kona Coffee and Tea Co. formed an alliance with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to plant the coffee trees on a historic site which was once a majestic koa forest and the personal property of King Kamehameha I.
   It is the intent of the HLRI to return this tropical forest to its former glory. KCTC hopes to perpetuate the growth of coffee with the addition of the coffee trees to this new way of sustainable reforestation.
   “Our mission is to not only restore Hawaii’s endemic forests, but to provide landowners with real world revenue-producing solutions that support the forest as well as the families who care for them,” said Jeffrey A Dunster, HLRI executive director. “Our association with KCTC was established to create a working model of food forest innovation where coffee can be an integral component and provide additional revenue streams for forest owners.”
   “This is a truly exciting venture for us as a company and as stewards of the aina,” said Malia Bolton, chief operating officer of KCTC.
The Kona Coffee and Tea Co., founded by owners Jan and Dan Bolton in 1997, is a family-run company that prides itself on the “farm to cup experience.”
–Submitted by Christine Coleman

10 Smart uses for Used Coffee Grounds
(Reprinted from The 2015 Farmers’ Almanac)
Before you empty the coffee pot’s grounds into the trash, consider these ten household uses for them!

  1. As an exfoliant. The rough texture of the coffee grounds can be used on your skin as a scrub.
  2. Clean your garbage disposal. Coffee grounds clean and deodorize your garbage disposal. Just put the damp grounds in, run the cold water, and turn the disposal on. Note: do this only on occasion to refresh the disposal. It’s not recommended to run coffee grounds through daily.
  3. Soil aeration and nitrogen boost for houseplants. Adding coffee grounds to your houseplants helps the pH balance (toward acidity) as well as increasing nitrogen and aerating the soil.
  4. Neutralize refrigerator odors. Placing coffee grounds in the refrigerator acts as a natural deodorizer. The only thing you need to watch for is mold, if you use damp grounds. Replace immediately with fresher grounds if it turns into a science experiment.
  5. Sweeping or vacuuming compound around the fireplace or wood stove. Sprinkling damp coffee grounds around the fireplace or wood stove will assist in reducing dust and ashes in your hearth, making them easier to sweep or vacuum up.
  6. Dye easter eggs or paper crafts. Soaking with coffee grounds can be used to give an “antique” sepia appearance to watercolor paper or easter eggs
  7. Blind bake a pie shell. Believe it or not, you can even use coffee grounds as the weight when you blind bake a pie crust. Just be sure to use a large enough piece of parchment paper or foil so the coffee grounds don’t come into actual contact with the pie crust.
  8. Scour pots and pans. The gentle abrasive of coffee grounds can help in the kitchen to remove stubborn caked on food from your pots and pans.
  9. Snail, slug, and cat repellent. In the garden, just mound up a barrier of coffee grounds around the plants which slugs and cats are attracted to. It will help keep them at bay.
  10. Steroids for your carrot crop. Carrots love coffee grounds. They will grow larger and sweeter and the plants will have a greater yield. Just trowel the grounds in around the immature shoots.

–Submitted by Christine Coleman

A Tip from Mary Lou
Erasing coffee cup stains from your beloved coffee mug can be difficult   Try mixing 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons of water to form a paste and rubbing on the stain. This alkaline solution removes dark acidic stains left in your cup from your 100% Kona coffee
–Submitted by Mary Lou Moss

Recipe: 100% Kona Coffee Rub for Burgers
   The amount below should be enough for a pound of local grass fed beef.
   Make the burgers the size you like. Add bacon, cheese and slices of tomato, raw onions, avocado…pile it up and enjoy. 
Coffee rub:

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground 100% KONA  coffee
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

 –Submitted by Anita Kelleher

Please Write To Us!
LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK! >> Write us. We welcome Letters to the Editor up to 150 words. We reserve the right to edit for clarity and length.  Include your name and email address >> Email: info@KonaCoffeeFarmers.org with SUBJECT: Commentary.