July 17, 2019
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March 2018 – The Independent Voice

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

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

Kona Coffee Expo – April 6th
President’s Update on Kona Hills
Legislative Update
Puerto Rican Coffee Workers
Watch out for Spam
Is Coffee in a State of Crisis?
Virtues of 100% Kona Coffee
Brower Youth Awards
HDOA Ag Products Database
USDA Ag Census
CoffeeCoin Review
Top Marketing Trends
Supporting Business Member: Sasaki Bags
Recipe: Coffee Beef Stew
Write to Us

Editor – Clare Wilson

                                            The Kona Coffee Expo is April 6th!
                                                              Educational seminars
                                                                    Vendors’ booths
                                                                       Roasting class
                                                 Political candidates (bring your questions)
                                                                   Cupping experiences
                                                                         And more!
                                              The Expo is coming, the Expo is coming!
           The Kona Coffee Farmers Association Coffee and Small Farms EXPO 2018 is coming to the
Old Airport Makaeo Pavilion on Friday, April 6, 2018 from 10am to 3pm.
                                                           From the Field to Your Cup.

Talk to the experts – USDA, CTAHR, DOH.  COFFEE & SMALL FARM RESOURCES – 100% Kona Coffee – Equipment, Products and Services Technical Talk Story, “break out” Sessions and Special Guest Speakers.
Check out our NEW website for further information about Vendors, Exhibitors and the Expo in general at http://www.konaexpo.com/.
Additional details about the Expo will be posted there as they become available.

If you wish to participate as a Vendor or Exhibitor in the hall you can easily sign up and pay online
at http://www.konaexpo.com/vendor-signup/

We also need volunteers to help the Expo go smoothly for those attending.  Please let us know how you would like to help at http://www.konaexpo.com/volunteer-signup/

Live music will be provided in the afternoon by the up and coming Hawai’ian music group Mauka Soul http://maukasoul.com/.
You can hear a sample of their music at the website.

                                                                                   We look forward to seeing you there!

 –Submitted by Chet Gardiner

President’s Update on Kona Hills

Aloha! Both the Star Advertiser and West Hawaii Today have recently published articles on the Kona Hills mega-farm intended for Kealakekua.  Your KCFA board continues to have discussions throughout the state as well as the coffee industry on the status of this project.  We will update you as we know more.  In the meantime, we need your help shining a light on this dangerous money-dump.  >From social media to Letters to the Editor to public testimony, any way that you can tell your story is important.

The mega-farm is promoting itself in various ways.  It’s important to know how they are marketing themselves, as we must counter-argue with the truth.

  1. “KH will not compete with local farms. We will only sell on the mainland”.  We are all impacted by the global Kona market. This is not about competition, it’s about enforcing the quarantine laws that are in place to protect farmers.  It’s also about Kona Typica, the tree that made Kona famous.
  2. “KH can safely quarantine these trees in the middle of Kona”.  The level of hubris in this statement is amazing.  According to their HDOA application, there is a small chance that Rust or another disease will survive on any seed. At 1.5 million seeds, that small chance is not a risk we should have to bear.  Quarantine them somewhere else, as is required by law.
  3. “Biodiversity is good.  Rust-resistant coffee cultivars will strengthen farms and reduce disease”. While this seems a compelling argument to many of our politicians, having one massive farm in control of all of the rust-resistant trees might actually be an invitation to reduce our guard against the “accidental” arrival of Rust.  
  4. “We are hiring locally, and support the economy”. Their support for the local economy cannot compete with our 1,000 farm families who live and work here. We ARE the economy. Also, the competition for labor is already challenging for our farmers.  
  5.  “KH only intends to sell to Starbucks and these trees are considered an acceptable flavor profile to them”.  Every Starbucks consumer will now equate the Kona flavor with a tree that tastes nothing like our heritage brand.  

From cherry to roasted, Kona coffee is finally approaching a price that allows our growers to maintain economic sustainability from our crops. The presence of a huge farm, flooding the market with a coffee that does not taste like Kona, threatens us all.  KCFA will continue to fight to preserve our brand.  Mahalo for your help in this!
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Coffee Bills before the 2018 Legislative Session – Update

House Bill 256—51% Minimum and ID of Non-origin Coffee in Blends.   Last year HB256 was given a hearing and favorably passed by the House Agriculture Committee.  However, despite resolutions from the Hawaii County Council and from the Hawaii County and State Democratic Party Conventions calling on the Legislature to enact the 2 changes in HB256, the Honolulu blenders have again exercised their economic muscle to kill the bill.  Both last year and again this year as a “carryover bill”, the Chair of the House Consumer Protection & Commerce Committee refused to give HB256 a hearing. Hawaii’s disgraceful 26-year history of deceptively labeled “10% Blends” continues.  To review the bill, its status, and last year’s written testimony from the Agriculture Committee hearing, here is the link:

House Bill 1757—Truthful Labeling for RTD Coffee.  Currently marketers of ready-to-drink (“RTD”) coffee products carrying Hawaii-origin names (for example, Royal Mills “Hawaiian Kona Premium Coffee” and “KonaRed Kona Blend”) are not required to disclose what percentage, if any, of the coffee in the package is Hawaii-grown.  This bill will require the same label disclosure of the percentage as is currently required for roasted and instant coffee.  We are delighted to report that the bill has been favorably passed out of all 3 House Committees to which it was assigned (Agriculture, Consumer Protection & Commerce, and Finance), and will now pass over to the Senate.  We thank all of you have submitted written testimony in support of the bill.  We will send out notice when Senate hearings are scheduled. We encourage all KCFA members to email written testimony in support of HB1757 to those Senate hearings.  To review the language of HB1757, the status, and written testimony submitted to the 3 House committee hearings, click on the following link to the Legislature’s website: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=1757&year=2018 

From among the 34 supporting written testimonies submitted for the House Finance Committee, the following is of particular interest:

February 15, 2018
House Committee on Finance
Re: In SUPPORT, HB1757, Relating to Coffee Labeling
Aloha Chair Sylvia Luke, Vice Chair Ty J.K Cullen, and House Members of the Committee on Finance,
My name is Garrett W. Marrero. I live in Kula, HI. I am the Founder and CEO of Maui Brewing Co. We have locations on Maui in Lahaina and Kihei, and on Oahu in Waikiki and Kailua. We distribute across Hawaii, 23 other States, and 13 countries. We began in 2005 with 26 team members and have added more than 500 jobs since then. My wife and I were selected as the National Small Business Persons of the Year in 2017 for our work at Maui Brewing Co. I’m writing on behalf
of myself and our local family-operated business in support of HB1757 which expands the coffee labeling requirements to include ready-to-drink coffee beverages.

We believe in protecting authentic local manufacturing and the Hawaii brand. All too often Hawaii”, Hawaiian”, or other imagery and wording used to confuse the consumer as to the true origins of a product are used in marketing with little to
no recourse or requirement of truth. This leads to a direct devaluation of the brand that is Hawaiian including our beer
and products made by others such as in this case, RTD Coffee drinks.

If we truly want a strong economy in Hawaii we must act to dissuade the misuse and abuse of our collective brand and the appellation of Hawaii”.
Mahalo for your consideration. We urge you to pass this bill.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony in Support of HB1757.
 Garrett W. Marrero
Maui Brewing Co.

–Submitted by the Legislative Committee

Puerto Rican Coffee Workers

As we all know, Puerto Rico was devastated by two hurricanes in September 2017.  The island businesses and agriculture are in a disastrous state.  Still, ¼ of residents do not have electricity or clean drinking water.

According to news reports, “In a matter of hours, Maria destroyed 90 percent of all coffee trees on the island…”.  It will take 4 to 5 years for the coffee farms to recover and yield a commercial crop again, if farmers can find the capital to invest in planting new trees.

Puerto Rico is the only part of the US, besides Hawaii, that grows coffee.  A lot of Puerto Rican coffee workers are currently unemployed.  It should be relatively easy to invite them to help us in Hawaii.  They are US citizens, after all.  No immigration issues.
Just a thought….
–Submitted by Sandra Scarr and Bruce Corker

Received 2/27/2018 w/Purchase Order attachment

Dear Sir,
       How are you today ?.
       Please kindly send your quotation and best price for the
       attached Order list.
       Let me know the delivery time if we placed the order now.
      Attached is the Purchase Order are the requested order from client.
       Each of the price are required and all shapes are needed.
       Best Regards
      Peter Yu
Protect your hard work by noticing red flags  in an unsolicited email.  awkward phrasing,  vague request and   attachments.  Never even discuss alternate methods of paying and shipping other than what you normally use.
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Is Coffee in a State of Crisis?

By CoffeeBUZZ    Food Writer-Jeff Koehler
“Coffee is not essential to life, but for coffee lovers it is as life-sustaining as water. No wonder it is called a legal drug. Honoré de Balzac produced a prodigious amount of writing—85 novels in 20 years—with his 50 cups a day. But today, the miraculous bean is facing its biggest crisis, with climate change affecting yield and a fungus called la roya, or the coffee rust that thrives on free moisture and warmer temperatures, evolving with each outbreak…”

Read entire article here: http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/bvpaObWB9duGSfE0xGC3OJ/Is-coffee-in-a-state-of-crisis.html
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Virtues of 100% Kona Coffee

As part of a grant KCFA was given by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) in 2008, some talented members made an attractive, informative video about 100% Kona versus 10% blends.  Christine Shepard was the creative light behind the project.

The HDOA grant paid for 1,000 copies of the DVD to distribute to members, to send to coffee customers, and to show at coffee trade shows.
We still have copies, if you want one.  My son, Phil Scarr, posted the DVD on YouTube, where you can access it today.

After years of trying to get the Legislature to pass a 51% blend law – an effort that is still alive in the current session of the Legislature – it seemed timely to remind members that the DVD makes the case for 100% Kona coffee in entertaining form.

The DVD can be accessed by coffee customers, the press, and others, if you send them the link.
–Submitted by Sandra Scarr

Brower Youth Awards

My name is Mona Shomali and I am the director of the New Leaders Initiative at Earth Island Institute which produces the Brower Youth Awards, which recognizes youth leadership excellence in the environmental and social justice movements. Each year, six young people in North America, between the ages 14-22 are selected to receive the award to spotlight their role in a campaign or project, in affiliation with the organizations that collaborate and support their work. Each of the six recipients of the Brower Youth Awards will receive a $3,000 cash prize, a professionally produced short film about their work from an Emmy award winning film crew, and flight and lodging accommodations for a week long trip to the San Francisco Bay Area.

I am contacting you because KCFA is engaged in the specific issues that I personally would like to see represented amongst our winners this year. For this reason, I am searching for Brower Youth Award applicants that work with Kona Coffee Farmers Association and your network/ coalition. We are interested in youth that are tackling GMO politics, food justice, community organizing and public health consequences. We are looking to your organization to nominate, recruit, or guide an potential applicant to apply for the 2018 Brower Youth Awards. The deadline for applications is May 20th, 2018. Here is the application link:

If you have across a young person that you think is ideal for this award, and perhaps they need a little bit of a “nudge”, I am happy to speak one on one with them to encourage them to apply. To apply, please direct your nominated youth to our website where you will find the application:

Award Details
During their four day stay in California, the recipients will participate in a coaching, visioning, leadership activities, speaking and media engagements. We invest in their continued success by providing ongoing access to resources, mentors, and opportunities to develop leadership skills. The week of activities culminates in the awards ceremony in front of more than 800 guests in San Francisco on October 16, 2018.
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

HDOA Ag Products Database

HDOA has begun to heavily promote the ag products database https://hawaiiagrproducts.hawaii.gov/s/. They are promoting its vendors/products to retail and wholesale customers at the local, national and international level. As you can see, this broad exposure will be very beneficial to your business! However, buyers can only find your business/products if they are registered onto the database! HDOA’s marketing branch is still receiving questions asking where someone can find certain products and from who, and we would like to be able to direct them to to Hawaii growers. If you need assistance in registering, watch their tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n749uYrJLFk
HDOA has been asked by manufacturers and the public where to find the products listed below.  As many of our farms have multiple crops, consider whether you want to list more than coffee.

  • Lemongrass
  • Fruit puree (lilikoi, guava, mango)
  • Fruit flavorings/botanicals
  • Cacao
  • Ginger
  • Dried fruit
  • Avocados

Link to create a vendor file and register your products: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/add/main/joininghap/
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

USDA Ag Census

*If you received a fat envelope from the USDA, take a minute to fill it out or respond online at www.agcensus.usda.gov.  The anonymous information is used to provide ag funding to our state and county and benefits our farms in many ways *
The Census of Agriculture is a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year. Taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures. For America’s farmers and ranchers, the Census of Agriculture is their voice, their future, and their opportunity.

The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every county in the nation. Through the Census of Agriculture, producers can show the nation the value and importance of agriculture, and they can help influence the decisions that will shape the future of American agriculture for years to come. By responding to the Census of Agriculture, producers are helping themselves, their communities, and all of U.S. agriculture.

Census of Agriculture data are used by all those who serve farmers and rural communities — federal, state and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations and many others.

  • Farmers and ranchers can use Census of Agriculture data to help make informed decisions about the future of their own operations.
  • Companies and cooperatives use the facts and figures to determine the locations of facilities that will serve agricultural producers.
  • Community planners and local governments use the information to target needed programs and services to rural residents.
  • Legislators use the numbers from the Census when shaping farm policies and programs. Make Sure Your Farm Counts. RESPOND NOW! www.agcensus.usda.gov

–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

CoffeeCoin Review – COF ICO Coffee Trading Blockchain Platform?

For those of you who understand bitcoins, this will be an interesting article for you. If I understood it more, I would try to explain how coffee can be traded in this way.  It appears to allow trade by individual farmers. This is the link submitted by Christine Coleman: https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/coffeecoin/

Another link: http://fortune.com/2017/10/24/blockchain-coffee-bext360/ submitted by Christine is about plans to use BlockChain to revolutionize the coffee supply chain. This plan places a machine at the farm which appraises the cherry crop and then tracks it through to the consumer.

Top Trends According to the Nat’l Restaurant Assoc.

Growing your Kona sales in an ever-shifting foodie market requires understanding demographic trends and knowing what niches work best with your product. Coffee has been trendy for years, but sometimes our best buyers might not be in the standard coffee shop environment.  The National Restaurant Association has just released their latest market survey. In it, you might find new ideas on how to target your outreach and advertising.

The Millenials are driving a sea change in food culture on the mainland.  From farm-branded items in restaurants to breweries making coffee porters to pop-ups and food trucks, there are wide opportunities to pitch your estate coffee. Buzzwords like “direct trade” “family farm” and “micro-roastery” have never been trendier. Think outside the box, and find a new world of wholesale opportunities.

The full report is here: http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/What-s-Hot
–Submitted by Suzanne Shriner

Supporting Business Member: Sasaki Bags

“Sasaki Bags are designed in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, by Barb Sasaki. She creates a variety of bags out of wonderful textiles including, but not limited to coffee bags, silk kimono and obi, designer fabrics, leather, and cork. Barb enjoys making bags that make people stop and take a second look. She is inspired by her travels and the beautiful island she calls home.”
Please support our Supporting Business Members.
–Editor, Clare Wilson

Recipes Wanted! If any of you have coffee recipes that you would like to share, please submit them to the editor: clare@huahuafarm.com
–Editor, Clare Wilson

Recipe: Coffee Beef Stew

  • 2 Lbs. Beef Chuck, Cut Into 1 1/2 inch Cubes
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Peppercorns (Whole)
  • 2 Tablespoons Fat (or Mix Of Fat & Butter), Heated Almost To Smoking
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika Dash Allspice Or Cloves 2 Cups Boiling Water, Or 1/2 water and strong leftover coffee or stock
  • 1/2 Lb. Carrots, Cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Potatoes, Cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice (Optional)
  • 1 Each Turnip, Parsnip, Rutabaga, Cut In 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Celery Stalks, Cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Sprig Thyme, Fresh If Possible
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Sliced
  • 1 Handful Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Medium Onion, Sliced In Half MoonsDumplings: (Optional)
  • 1-2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cups Biscuit Mix
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt, Seasoned Type
  • 2/3 Cups Milk
  1. To season and flour the meat, put the beef and a little seasoned flour in a paper sack or plastic bag; shake until coated in batches, and the job is done! Continue with the recipe. There is one suggestion here, if you opt to cook this in a crockpot, rather than on the stovetop, take the time to brown the meat carefully for the reason cited in the next sentence. Brown meat on all sides in hot fat, turning often, letting a nice fond develop. Fond is the brown bits accumulated on the bottom of a crockpot during the browning process. Liquid is then added to “deglaze” the pan and form a concentrated flavoring. This step enhances formulation of a great complex, flavorful final product.
  2. Add water (liquid of your choice, coffee water, stock, to measure 4 cups), lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, sliced onion, bay leaves and seasonings. Cover, and simmer, do not boil, for two (2) hours stirring occasionally to keep the mix from sticking. Remove bay leaves, peppercorns and any other whole seasonings you’ve included. Add carrots and onions. If carrots are large, halve or quarter. Cubed potatoes may also be added. Cover and cook 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Remove meat and veggies, thicken liquid for gravy, if desired. Garnish with some chopped parsley.
  3. Gravy: Skim most of fat from stew liquid. For 3 cups liquid, put 1 cup water in a shaker or mason jar with a top, add 1 cup A.P. flour, shaking until smooth. Add the flour mixture slowly to the meat stock, stirring constantly until gravy bubbles all over. Cook about 5 minutes more, stirring often. Pour over meat and vegetables.|

–Submitted by Kay Dixon

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