June 24, 2019
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May 2017 – The Independent Voice

     The Independent Voice
  “Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii”
Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association                                     
May 2017

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

Vertical Selection Workshop
Made in Hawaii – Really?
10th Annual EXPO
Report from the SCAA Show
Time to Fertilize
Coffee for the Troops
Salute to Supporting Business Member: Hawaiian Soil Therapeutics
Recipe: Coffee Sauce for Ice Cream
Write to Us

Editor – Clare Wilson

Selecting Workshop – Choosing New Growth for the New Crop

  • Date: May 13, 2017 9:00 am
     Coffee Talk

WHY? Wondering which of your new coffee shoots to choose to insure strong future verticals? Choose the right vertical/shoots from among the new growth following the pruning completed a few months ago. Select vigorous shoots to insure high yielding verticals for the crop in 3 years.
WHEN: 9 am
WHERE:  Bob Nelson & Bob Smith at Bob Nelsons’ Farm located makai of the “Kona Joe” sign in Kainaliu, along Mamalahoa Highway. Drive down; parking available.
Suitable for newbies and as a refresher for all! Registration begins at 8:30 and Class starts promptly at 9 AM. 
Free to KCFA members and other attendees will pay $10 which can be applied to the KCFA Membership of $25 annual dues.
 –Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Made in Hawaii – Really?
A recent article in www.civilbeat.org looks at the problem of products claiming or appearing to be made in Hawaii. They approach the problem from several different angles and although the article does not use Kona coffee as an example, it is exactly what we are going through as we fight deceptive labeling. The high cost of doing business in Hawaii makes it difficult for local companies to compete with mainland giants. Sitting side by side in super markets are similar products colored with labels implying Hawaiiana with drastically different prices based on whether the product is produced locally with local ingredients or elsewhere. The article also discusses Hawaiian companies that use local products and then use “co-packers” on the mainland to complete their product for market; and then those few companies that are successful in producing and selling truly Made in Hawaii products. Go to the following link to read the entire article.
 –Submitted by Bruce Corker

Another Successful EXPO 

Bob Smith, Andrea Kawabata and Rob Curtis in serious discussion at the EXPO
Mahalo to all our exhibitors, speakers and volunteers for making the 2017 KCFA coffee expo a success.  A special thank you to Kay Dixon for managing the coffee roasting contest and speaking on the different roasts.  Speakers also included; Scott Enright (Hawaii Department of Agriculture) Robbie Hollingsworth (USDA), Andrea Kawabata (CTAHR), Sarah Townsend (KS, Inc.), Melanie Bondera (Kanalani Farms) and Bonnie Lind (Lind Insurance).  Vendors included farm implements and fertilizer to T-shirts and gardening.

On Saturday, Ashe Industries sponsored coffee roasting workshops at Hala Tree farm.  Thank you everyone for another successful expo.

And the winner is…

This year the EXPO included a contest for best coffee label. Congratulations to the Whitcomb ohana for their Kona Raintree Farms label!
–Submitted by Karen Zulkowski

Report from the SCAA Show in Seattle

The 3 day show had everything to offer that lets caffeinated hearts beat faster: Intensely bearded baristas, septum-pierced and tattooed girls hawking coffee paraphernalia, sharp suited engineers man-splaining shiny roasting equipment, yoga-panted almond-milk maidens wooing with heavenly chai concoctions, and spear-carrying Maasai drumming up attention.  Everyone was properly name tagged so the schmoozing in the aisles and booths would lead to mutual beneficial economic results: Multiply foil found their bag maker, Nepali growers their micro lot buyers, and coffee shop designers their software makers. Occasionally this lead to traffic jams when i.e. the Ethiopian ‘buna’ ceremony caused too much laughter and everyone wanted to be in on the fun.
The entire upper floor was reserved for the barista show-offs. Giant overhead screens detailed the foam carving, the drips, dips, sips and whatnots. All with stadium seating and much hooting and hollering when the massive digital clock was beaten with an especially gorgeous espresso pour. Kings and queens of future brewing empires were inaugurated.
Alternative milk products made from soy, almonds, macadamia nuts etc were on show as they are rightfully in hot demand. A growing dairy industry is brutal to planet and animals alike, and not nearly as healthy as they want us to believe: Mac nut or almond milk have triple the amount of calcium than cows milk and taste superb in latte and by itself.
Much focus was on recyclable and compostable packaging, but there’re still long ways to go to make it feasible for large production runs. Mother Earth has to wait a bit longer, but we have to push our suppliers, ourselves to do better.
Kudos and admiration have to be given to Arab, African and Indonesian exhibitors and customers who traveled in the Age of Trump to a hostile USA to search for commerce with coffee. Many proudly dressed in their traditional garb, yet humble and polite. 
Bad and good news about coffee diseases not yet on Kona shores: Coffee berry disease (CBD) is rampant in Ethiopia. Rwanda & Burundi battling a beetle which makes affected coffee beans taste like raw potatoes. A new coffee variety (F1) can now be propagated from seeds and shows good cupping quality, high yields, and resistance to coffee rust. Which we may start planting now to be not getting caught with our pants down once the dreaded rust arrives in Kona!
Walking the forever stretching hallowed SCAA expo halls as a small Kona coffee farmer and retailer made one observe what all these important folks, corporations and enthusiasts do to make their coffee products unique and interesting to their customers. Much talk about origin, certifications, roasting skills, micro lots, packaging, taste profiles cause trust and respect. It’s not about us farmers as individuals, but about the bean! Not about how we came to Kona or all the things we accomplished in prior careers, in other places. Kona coffee is the hero, it’s place in history, the magnificent coast where it grows, the way it flows off your tongue. Yes, everyone wants to live our very life in the Hawaiian sun, strives to have a handbook of how to leave the mainland life including wearing your tattered straw hat. But that doesn’t make them buy your 16 oz medium roast whole bean bags for $40.
It’s how we tell the story of our farm, how often the parchment needs raking, why the trade winds blow and that the soil and the rain tie the splendid Kona taste together. How the pickers sing when the picking is good and that not everything named Kona coffee hails from our shores. We need to tell that we, the Kona coffee farmers are authentic and our coffee is the real deal. That’s what the fakers and 10% Kona blenders can’t do. That’s how we sell our crop.
 –Submitted by Joachim Oster


Time to Fertilize Now        

Don’t forget to fertilize! As you can observe, the coffee is showing signs of a growth.  Flowering is mostly pau and the cherry is developing.

The best time to fertilize is the day before a rain, of course.  However one of the best indicators is how moist the ground is.

|Plan ahead and buy the fertilizer and have it ready to go at a moment’s notice. The first application of the season should be a formulation high in nitrogen for growth.  For inorganic farms, 15-5-25 or 10-5-20 would be a good choice. You also want to make sure you apply a good dose per tree.  I use the rule of thumb of approximately 1 pound per tree well spread out to the estimated root radius.    
Organic farms should follow the same rule.  7-7-7 would be a good choice.  Remember, you will need to apply approximately double the amount of fertilizer to achieve the equivalent amount of nitrogen.

Hope this helps and motivates everyone to fertilize.  The most common problem I see on coffee farms is a lack of fertilizer!
 –Submitted by Bob Smith

Coffee for the Troops

Beginning with the Civil War, coffee has been an important morale booster for the military in times of war. In particular, the development of instant coffee provided the convenience necessary for field conditions. Did you know that instant coffee was developed in 1910 and was available to the troops in the Great War?
 –Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Salute to Supporting Business Member – Hawaiian Soil Therapeutics

This is a relatively new business member located on the Big Island in Hamakua. They were having problems with the rain washing away the nutrients on their palm farm.  In an effort to improve the soil they developed and now produce a fish hydrolysate fertilizer using fish scraps from local fish markets.
>From their website www.hawaiiansoiltherapeutics.com :  “It works wonders for us. It works for our neighbors and clients, and it will work for you. Makai-Grow is a fantastic soil additive that performs as a chelator to bind the nutrients into the soil, which then strengthens the root structure and encourages growth/blooming.”
Check it out – might be just what is needed for those plants that are just not thriving. And, it is organic!

Recipe: Coffee Sauce for Ice Cream
Makes ¾ cup
½ cup medium grind coffee
¾ cup boiling water
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
½ cup half & half
dash of salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Stir the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Pour the boiling water over the coffee in another saucepan; reheat to almost boiling and let sit for two minutes. Strain through cheesecloth. Combine just ¼ cup of the coffee with the half & half, and stir into the sugar mixture. Place over moderate heat and stir and cook till thick and smooth. Stir in salt and vanilla and let cool.
Serve over ice cream.
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.