July 18, 2019
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June 2019 The Independent Voice

  The Independent Voice
“Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii”
Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association   
            June 2019

PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA
www.konacoffeefarmers.org    info@konacoffeefarmers.org

Hola from Puerto Rico
Updated KCFA Website Debuts Soon
KCFA History – “The Naked Truth Calendar”
Climate Change and Coffee Research
PBARC Research – CBB
Handy Hints
NASS Agricultural Profiles for Hawaii
T-shirts now available in the KCFA>>>> Store!
Buying a Piece of Paradise
Recipe: Avocado Remoulade
Editor – Clare Wilson

Hola from Puerto Rico!  
The USDA invited me down to Puerto Rico on a cultural exchange program to discuss all things coffee.  I was last there shortly before Hurricane Maria, so I was very interested to return and see how my friends in the coffee grower community were doing.  Did they survive? Yes!  Did CBB survive? Unfortunately, also yes. Were they replanting? It’s complicated.  And what lessons could we learn from their experiences? Many.

Over thirty farmers came out to “Talk Story” with me in the mountainous region of Jayuya. They were very interested in KCFA, as they do not have a farmers’ association at the moment.   Most coffee sold in PR is a blend, and the growers suffer under a terrible conflict-of-interest, where the government imports foreign coffee and sells it to the blenders.  That coffee is then labeled as “Puerto Rican” because it is roasted in the PR. This puts the government in direct competition with the growers.  As you can imagine, many are not happy with this situation. We discussed how a coffee association could assist them in speaking with a singular voice, as well as how to improve quality and increase the value of their coffee.

Coffee Berry Borer continues to be a problem in PR, but so is Rust and Leaf Miner.  Like CBB or BTB, Leaf Miner has no easy answer as the insect life cycle is inside the plant. I saw many defoliated trees from a bad LM infestation this year, and farmers expressed more concern about that pest than CBB.  Leaf loss jeopardizes the developing beans, and growers desperately need a good crop to recover financially from Maria.

I visited several farms, one of which I had been to before. Surprisingly, more fields survived Maria than I expected. They did have very high losses though, both to wind and later to Fusarium fungal rot. Every slope has new fields with intercroppings of banana and plantain for near-term cash.  Coffee seeds have been in very short supply, and growers have been planting any varietal they can get their hands on.  Many fields now have 2-3 different varietals, creating an interesting dilemma for future sales as a specialty crop.  A consortium of large roasters has been giving seeds to farmers, generating some concern amongst growers about what they will be obligated to provide in return.  Most growers are happy to receive the seeds though, as it is the only way they can replant.

Growers in PR look at Hawaii as a model for successful marketing of their crop. They are ready to step up to the challenge of improving their reputation in the marketplace.  Their hurdles are great but the potential is there.  After all, they are not far from Jamaica and her famed Blue Mountains. Hurricane Maria has galvanized an industry and forced them to think about their crop in a new way. I fully expect to find a functioning farmers’ coffee association when I next visit.  Watch out world!

I highly recommend that you visit PR some day. The people are wonderful and the mountains are beautiful. If you do, be sure to wash your clothes before you return, and leave your shoes behind!  Coffee Leaf Rust is one visitor we do not want.
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner, KCFA President

New KCFA Website Debuts this Summer!

Get ready for the new online face of KCFA! The new website, designed from your input, brings together information for members, potential members, as well as the public in a modern presentation that looks great on phones, tablets, and computers.

Consumers can buy coffee, find farm tours, and learn about the rich tradition of Kona coffee. Farmers who are prospective members can learn about the benefits of KCFA membership and apply online.

Current members will have access to free members-only classified ads, legislative news, market updates, education, events, and resources critical to Kona coffee farmers. It’s all organized in clean, simple navigation that makes it a snap to find what you need.

Watch this space for a launch announcement, coming soon!
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

KCFA History – “The Naked Truth Calendar”

Eleven years ago KCFA published and marketed “The NAKED TRUTH About 100% Kona Coffee 2009 Calendar”.  Drawing on the theme of the 2003 hit movie Calendar Girls, a group of Kona’s women coffee farmers developed the calendar as a means to communicate the following important messages—“Discover the Seductive Delight of 100% Kona Coffee” and “Don’t Be Fooled by Kona Blends”.   The calendar project was a smashing success.  Month-by-month calendars conveyed the naked truth about 100% Kona coffee to thousands of consumers and coffee appreciators in Kona and throughout the country.  From the perspective of a decade+, we again salute the KCFA calendar girls!

–Submitted by Bruce Corker

Climate Change & Selecting Coffee Varieties 

As if coffee bean borer beetles and coffee rust weren’t enough to make you worry about the future of our coffee trees, now comes a big concern that climate change may affect our favorite trees.  It may get too hot in the future for the happiness of coffee trees.  Here’s the link https://www.technologyreview.com/s/613333/the-accident-that-led-to-the-discovery-of-climate-change-proof-coffee/  to an article from the magazine Technology Review about research being carried out in Costa Rica to make coffee varieties able to stand the hotter weather. Enjoy.
Submitted by Jim Monk

PBARC Research Update: CBB

USDA-ARS researchers at PBARC published a scientific protocol to monitor coffee berry borer (“CBB”) movement, infestation rates and stages, and mortality plus associated information on weather, management, and coffee plant phenology via a mobile electronic data recording application. This system is designed to monitor CBB populations for the purposes of research, but it also serving as a basis for determining the minimal set of information needed for effective management-oriented monitoring. The protocol was used for three years (2016-2018) to monitor close to two dozen farms and locations in Kona and Kau as part of the USDA-ARS funded “Area Wide” program, providing baseline data on CBB populations in Hawaii. Analysis of those data is ongoing, and the system is also being used with modifications in Oahu and Puerto Rico for scientific research. You can learn more about the protocol at the following link: http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/57204 .

Our island’s USDA researchers have taken a positive “next step” in their research.  Two of the PBARC staff have gotten Q-Grader certified and the Hilo facility is installing a Q-Grade cupping room.  All research activities around coffee will include harvesting, grading and roasting the beans with the final step in the cupping room.  Going forward, growers can expect to know whether a USDA-recommended activity will
increase or decrease yield and what effect it will have on the final cupping quality. We applaud PBARC efforts to make our coffee better at every stage.
–Submitted by Nicholas Manoukis

Early to bed, early to rise, Work like hell: fertilize. – Emily Whaley
–Submitted by Carolyn Witcover

Handy Hints from June 2015 

June 2015
Throw that Fertilizer Now
If you haven’t already- Time To Fertilize.  Ground is nice and wet and ready to absorb.
FYI- the series of numbers is the percentage of (N) Nitrogen-(P) Phosphorus-(K) Potassium in the mixture.
Fertilizer marked for example, 11-5-25 or 10-5-20 is specifically formulated for our coffee and has added minor elements- all essential for healthy growth.  If the middle number in the formula -phosphorous- is too high (recommended is 5%), beware, the phosphorous will eventually bind and accumulate in the soil and over time will become toxic. That’s why the recommendation for (P) Phosphorous is 5%.
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

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

Hawaii State & County Agricultural Profiles from NASS

2017 Census of Agriculture profile data show age range, military service, top commodities, ranked commodity items, and more at state and county level
SACRAMENTO – With over 6 million data points available in the initial release of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, NASS created additional products to help tell the story of agriculture at the state and county level. The Hawaii State and County Profiles posted today, May 30, 2019, and are online at USDA’s AgCensus website.
The profiles show ranked items within the U.S. and the State, as well as level changes from the 2012 Ag Census for select commodities. Also included are economic and producer characteristics. Congressional District Rankings and Profiles will be available June 28, 2019, and Zip Code Tabulations September 18, 2019. For assistance navigating the website or downloading your profile of interest, contact the NASS Pacific Regional Office at 916-738-6600.
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

T-shirts now available in the KCFA>>>> Store!

Men’s steel       Women’s celadon

Beautiful new 2019 KCFA T-shirt! Created by artist Annie Oliverio.  Men’s shirt is “steel” in color and available in Sizes M(8), LG(18) & XL(10) Can mail or Arrange for p/u in COMMENTS section of order form. Limited availability

Beautiful new 2019 KCFA T-shirt! Created by artist Annie Oliverio.  Women’s is “celadon” in color and available in Sizes S(9) M(14), LG(14) Can mail or ARRANGE for p/u in COMMENTS section of order form. Limited availability.

Now is the Time to Own a Piece of Paradise 

Let me introduce myself, my name is Armando Rodriguez, we are the proud owners of a 34 acre farm ,which we recently purchased with the help of USDA Farm Service Agency. Being the owner of your own farm is just as important as being a good coffee farmer. We all know that Real Estate here in Hawaii is very expensive, so why not take advantage of the USDA Farm Loan. As with anything in life there are guidelines:
1. Farm or Land must be Fee simple (no leasehold)
2. Lava Zone 3 or higher
3. Good news loan amount just increased from $300,000 to $600,000
4. May 2019 Interest rate (farm ownership loans 4%)
For more information on FSA Farm Loan programs, visit  http://www.fsa.usda.gov    To locate your local FSA office visit http://www.farmers.gov     Good Luck and remember we cannot be coffee farmers all our lives. Personally I believe that one day the farm that you own will be more lucrative in the long run.
Thank you,
Armando Rodriguez

Recipe: Avocado Remoulade 

Prep Prep time: 10 minutes    Cook time: 15 minutes    Yield: Serves 4
Recipe taken from: https://www.simplyrecipes.com

  • 2 large avocados, cut and peeled
  • 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (can substitute lemon)
  • 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced shallots or green onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of salmon fillets

Put avocado and lime juice into a food processor or blender and pulse until blended
Slowly add olive oil, pulsing, until you reach desired consistency of sauce
Add minced shallots/green onions and parsley, pulse just until combined
Remove to a bowl, add mustard, salt and pepper to taste
Serve atop/under sautéed salmon fillets
–Submitted by Jill Groebner