May 24, 2018
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September 2016 – The Independent Voice

      The Independent Voice
“Best Agricultural Newsletter in Hawaii
Newsletter of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association                                                            
                      September 2016

          PO Box 5436 Kailua Kona Hawaii 96745 USA    

KCFA Needs Volunteers
Climate Change and Coffee Production
Coffee & Art Stroll
Jamaica Addresses Coffee Counterfeiting
Made in Hawaii
Methyl Bromide in the News
Man’s Transported Landscapes – Agriculture on the Move
Salute to Supporting Business Member: ROASTAR
Recipe: Coffee and Cookie Brownies
Write to Us
Editor – Clare Wilson

We Need YOU to Volunteer! 

 In the 10 years since its founding, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association has vigorously worked for the interests of the more than 320 KCFA members in pursuit of the Association’s mission:
 “The Kona Coffee Farmers Association’s mission is to promote and protect Kona farmers’ economic interests in 100% Kona coffee, to protect the Kona coffee heritage, and to seek greater legal protection of the Kona coffee name.”
 In pursuit of this mission, the KCFA relies exclusively on the work and support of volunteers.  The KCFA does not have employees, or staff, or an executive director.  We are all volunteers putting in time and effort to support our community of coffee farmers. If we are going to strengthen and build our organization, each of us needs to consider how we can contribute—and then volunteer on projects and programs for which we have interest and time to volunteer.
Here are some of the opportunities for KCFA volunteers:
Holualoa Village Coffee & Art Stroll—The “Stroll” is the premier event of the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, and it provides the opportunity for more than 30 Kona coffee farms to showcase our heritage crop.  KCFA is co-sponsor of the Stroll with the Holualoa Village Association.   We will need volunteers for a range of activities—working at the KCFA booth, working the parking lots, assisting with morning set up, helping with the Chefs’ Choice tasting competition, and more.  If you can put in a couple of hours or more, please let us know.  It is a fun event.
 Membership Committee—Our hard-working Membership Committee Chair Donna Meiners is in need of assistance.  For example, it would be helpful to have someone contact members who have not renewed to encourage renewals—and/or discuss reasons for non-renewal and solicit feedback for improving the organization.  Donna will be retiring as chair at the end of the year, so we are also in need of a new committee chair for next year.
 COFFEE EXPO—Our annual KCFA “EXPO” has been one of the highlights of the year for coffee farmers and other specialty crop farmers in West Hawaii.  The Expo will be held next April, but the committee has already begun planning and organizing. Help us make the 2017 EXPO the best yet!
 EDUCATION COMMITTEE—The education workshops and seminars are particularly important for new farmers—but also provide important information and a chance to exchange ideas for veteran farmers as well.  We are always in need of volunteers for set up, posting of directional signs, participant registration, and more.
 SOCIAL COMMITTEE – The more we can get to know and interact with one another, the stronger our organization will be.  In the past the Social Committee has sponsored such events as the Dinner/Auction, small dinner gatherings at local restaurants, excursions to the seahorse farm, a vanilla farm, the Cyantech facility at OTEC—and more.  The more help, the more social events we can hold.
 LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE—We need members interested in testifying before the County Council, at Board of Agriculture administrative hearings, and at the Legislature.  Help make the voice of Kona’s coffee farmers be heard.
 OTHER COMMITTEES—Other committees that you may want to work with include: Branding Committee; Kamehameha Schools Liaison Committee, Origin Protection Committee, PR/Marketing Committee, Pest & Disease Committee, and Website Committee.
 Please take some time to think about how you can help to strengthen the KCFA. Please volunteer.  Let us know what you are interested in working on at
 ALSO—KCFA members are invited to attend KCFA Board meetings—the third Monday of each month at 3:00 pm in the conference room of the CTAHR offices across from the Aloha Theater in Kainaliu  Please join us.  The next meeting is on Monday, September 19.
 –Submitted by Bruce Corker

The Effect of Climate Change on World-wide Coffee Production
This article illustrates the anticipated impact of climate change on coffee production. Climate change is already being  blamed for the 50% decline in production in Tanzania, and for the spread of coffee leaf rust in countries such as Guatemala. Follow this link to read the entire article:
 –Submitted by Cecelia Smith

18th Annual Holualoa Coffee & Art Stroll

 Aloha to All Kona Coffee Farmer Members,
Every year the KCFA partners with Holualoa Village Association and co-sponsors The Holualoa Coffee and Art Stroll. 
This Event grows bigger every year as it is truly a fun one for locals and tourists. It is scheduled for November 5th during the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and draws many tourists in town for that mega festival. It is a fun day of coffee tastings, art galleries and food vendors in historic Holualoa Village.
KCFA always has a booth selling our t shirts, hats and whatever we can come up with to offer. In the past there have been donations of honey, coffee jelly and members’ coffee . 
The Booth needs VOLUNTEERS to make it happen. A three or four hour shift is a wonderful help and is fun for the volunteer. People are in high spirits and interested in talking about Kona coffee.
Please think about helping out either setting up, breaking down or manning the booth. 
If you are really good at jams, baking or have other donations it would be much appreciated as well. 
Please contact Anita Kelleher at to sign up or ask questions.
A big Mahalo!
 –Submitted by Anita Kelleher

Jamaica Addresses Coffee Counterfeiting 

Two scientists at the University of the West Indies are working to develop a method to detect the counterfeiting of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.
 The problem, according to one of the researchers, has arisen because Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is viewed as such a high quality coffee “it is counterfeited and across the world people are blending it with cheaper, lower quality coffees and marketing the final product as premium Blue Mountain because it commands a premium price. Unfortunately, in some cases, the product so labeled may not even contain any Blue Mountain Coffee at all.”  [Sound familiar?]
 The scientists are working on the development of analytic techniques for determining chemical elements that can serve as a fingerprint or marker for Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and distinguish it from the counterfeits.  It is hoped that the development of these techniques will allow the Jamaica Coffee Industry Board to even more effectively pursue its program of prosecuting the blenders and counterfeiters throughout the world. 
 In contrast with the inaction of the State of Hawaii, Jamaica has vigorously enforced the geographic certification marks for Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and brought legal actions against blenders and counterfeiters. The result of these enforcement efforts is that Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee generally sells at 25% to 40% higher prices than Kona Coffee. Jamaica’s work in successfully keeping most of the blends and counterfeits off the market results in higher retail prices and higher farmgate prices for growers.
 To learn more about this research being done in Jamaica, go to:
 –Link provided by Anita Kelleher

Made in Hawaii
How important is the name Hawaii as a brand? According to Lianne Yu, writer for Hawaii Business, “the Hawaii brand is a powerful and emotive tool for selling local products worldwide”. According to business leaders interviewed for this article, whether an item is grown in Hawaii, distilled in Hawaii, designed in Hawaii, or made in Hawaii, it is immediately attractive to consumers, locally, nationally, and internationally. Senator Russell Ruderman is quoted about his concerns about the state’s lack of protection of branding Hawaiian products. To read the entire article, go to:
 –Submitted by Clare Wilson

Methyl Bromide is in the News Again

This spring a Delaware family vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands was seriously injured by exposure to methyl bromide sprayed in a condo below theirs by Terminix.  Here is a link to a Delaware News Journal article on the methyl bromide poisoning:
 What does methyl bromide have to do with Kona Coffee?
 For many years green coffee imported into Hawaii (most of it used in the 90% portion in Hawaii coffee “blends”) has been required by law to be fumigated with methyl bromide. The requirement was put in place in the hope that fumigation would prevent the introduction of CBB, Coffee Rust and other coffee pests and diseases into Hawaii.
 Methyl bromide is a very dangerous chemical.  It is a carcinogen and an atmospheric depletant—banned by the 1987 Montreal Protocol, but still used to fumigate green coffee imported into Hawaii pursuant to a loophole put in place by the USDA.
 On April 19, 2006, KCFA adopted its Position Statement on Green Coffee Imports.  In light of the continuing health and safety concerns about use of methyl bromide (eg, are methyl bromide residues in fumigated coffee a health hazard?) and questions as to its effectiveness in protecting Hawaii coffee against pests, this Position Statement makes for fascinating reading—even 10 years after its adoption.  In particular, consider the foresightful questions as to whether methyl bromide would prevent the introduction of CBB. What about coffee rust?
 To read the KCFA Position Statement, go to
 –Link to Delaware News Journal article provided by Mark Shultise

Man’s Transported Landscapes
by Peter T Young


Tracing the history of agricultural products is one way scientists track the migration of people during times when no written records were left behind to offer clues. (Yirda; PHYS)
On his voyages across the Pacific, Captain James Cook encountered geographically disparate Polynesian societies, including those living on Easter Island, Hawai‘i and the north island of New Zealand. These far-flung communities cultivated a common crop, sweet potato. (Denham; NCBI)
Researchers later sampled specimens brought back by early explorers (including Cook.) They found that the DNA evidence indicated that the sweet potato had migrated to Polynesia long before European explorers had made their way to that part of the world. (Yirda; PHYS)
Peruvians first domesticated the sweet potato around 8,000-years ago. And though the crop spread from there, the means by which it traveled have always remained contentious.
One possibility was that Polynesian sailors first brought it home from across the ocean: The oldest carbonized sweet potato evidence in the Pacific hails back to about 1,000 AD – 500-years before Columbus sailed to the Americas.
The Polynesian word for sweet potato resembles the central Andes’ Quechua people’s word for the vegetable. (SmithsonianMag) Polynesian word for sweet potato ‘kuumala’ resembles ‘kumara,’ or ‘cumal,’ the words for the vegetable in Quechua, a language spoken by Andean natives. (NPS)
By analyzing the DNA of 1,245 sweet potato varieties from Asia and the Americas, researchers have found genetic evidence that proves the root vegetable made it to Polynesia from the Andes.
DNA studies did not just look at potatoes, research suggests Polynesians from Easter Island and natives of South America met and mingled before 1500 AD, 3-centuries after Polynesians settled the island also known as Rapa Nui. In the genomes of 27 living Rapa Nui islanders, the team found dashes of European and Native American genetic patterns.
But did Polynesians land on South American beaches, or did Native Americans sail into the Pacific to reach Rapa Nui? (Lawler; ScienceMag) Or, did its seeds possibly hitch a ride on seaweed or natural raft, or gotten lodged in the wing of a bird? (NPR)
“Our studies strongly suggest that Native Americans most probably arrived (on Rapa Nui) shortly after the Polynesians (got there.)” (Erik Thorsby; ScienceMag)
But many scientists say that Pacific currents and Polynesian mastery of the waves make it more likely that the Polynesians were the voyagers. They may have sailed to South America, swapped goods for sweet potatoes and other novelties—and returned to their island with South American women. (Lawler; ScienceMag)
“There’s a lot of evidence accumulating … that the Polynesians made landfall in South America. We think they had sophisticated, double-hulled canoes – like very large catamarans – which could carry 80 or more people and be out to sea for months.” (Kirch; NPR)
But Polynesians didn’t just grab the potatoes and head home. There are clues that they may have introduced chickens to the continent while they were at it.
“(T)here is this baffling evidence that there were chickens in western Peru before Columbus.” (Mann; NPR) Chicken bones – unknown in the Americas before 1500 AD have been excavated on a Chilean beach, which some believe predate Columbus. (NPR)
The researchers found strong evidence that “supports the so-called tripartite hypothesis, which argues that the sweet potato was introduced to Polynesia three times: first through premodern contact between Polynesia and South America, then by Spanish traders sailing west from Mexico, and Portuguese traders coming east from the Caribbean.”
“The Spanish and Portuguese varieties ended up in the western Pacific, while the older South American variety dominated in the east”. (SmithsonianMag)
It is believed the sweet potato then made three independent trips to Southeast Asia. The Polynesians probably introduced it in 1100 AD. While the Spanish and Portuguese brought other varieties from the Americas around 1500. (NPR)
“I’m delighted to see the (tripartite) hypothesis now further confirmed by these recent results.” (Kirch; Nature) Such studies of how humans moved plants and animals, Kirch says, show what the late pioneering ethnobotanist Edgar Anderson called “man’s transported landscapes.”
Historical specimens will be crucial to explaining these patterns. The sweet potatoes collected by Captain Cook’s voyage, for example, “provided time-controlled data” that show “the importance of continuing to curate such specimens in the world’s museums”. (Nature)
As widely used as it is now, the sweet potato could play an even bigger role in feeding people across the world: climate change may help the roots grow even bigger. (SmithsonianMag)
He ʻuala ka ʻai hoʻola koke i ka wi.
The sweet potato is the food that ends famine quickly. (ʻŌlelo Noʻeau from Pukui)
Reprinted here with permission of the author
–Submitted by Cecelia Smith

Salute to KCFA Supporting Business Members

Roastar is our supporting business member of the month. A member since 2012, Roastar “first in digital flexible digital packaging” produces custom printed coffee bags (or macadamia or any other food product). “Short runs, quick turnaround, no plate charges, photo quality print, free production proofs”
Check out their website to see examples of bright colorful bags – no more labels to stick on your coffee bags.

Recipe: Coffee and Cookie Brownies
From the Test Kitchen of BH&G

  • 1 16 1/2 ounce package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 19 1/2 ounce package milk chocolate brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup coffee liqueur or cooled strong coffee
  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press sugar cookie dough into the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, brownie mix, oil, and liqueur until just combined. Spread batter over sugar cookie dough. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes or until edges are set. Cool in pan on a wire rack. To serve, cut into bars.
    –Submitted by Anita Kelleher

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