Thursday, May 9, 2013

5th Annual Ka'u Coffee College

Po-Jung "Simon" Hsieh of Taiwan. Photo by Julia Neal
New York Roaster Jim Munson.
Photo by Chris Manfredi
Ka'u Coffee Education wrapped up ten days of Ka'u Coffee Festival events on Sunday, May 5, 2013, with Ka'u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. Chinese coffee entrepreneur Po-jung “Simon” Hsieh talked about the history of coffee growing in Taiwan where Japanese established coffee growing during their occupation of the island. The coffee became abandoned and went wild after the Japanese left, and more recently was re-established as a new industry. Hsieh operates Soaring Phoenix Trading Co. and imports Ka'u coffee to Taiwan.

Jim Munson talked about the development of his company, Brooklyn Roasting Company. He praised the strength of the Ka'u Coffee farmers' stories and how they play to the U.S. market and appeal to U.S. consumers. 

Dr. Leisha Keith, from University of Hawai'i, talked about management of the coffee berry borer that has devastated farms in Kona. She said that keeping farms and surrounding lands and gulches clean of fallen branches, coffee cherry, and cuttings is one of the most important aspects of holding back the infestations. 

Dr. Leisha Keith of University of Hawai'i
Other important management priorities Keith emphasized are spraying a fungus that can kill the borers in five days when the insects move around outside the young coffee beans and also setting traps so farmers can know when the coffee berry borers are invading their orchards. She said that once the pests bore into the coffee beans, the fungus spray can't reach them.

5th Annual Ho'olaule'a

Photo by Andrew Richard Hara
The Ka'u Coffee Festival Ho'olaule'a drew more than a thousand people to the grounds of the Pahala Community Center on Saturday, May 4, 2013, in celebration of 17 years of Ka'u coffee becoming a new industry for the district, with small businesses and small farms creating a worldwide reputation. 

Chris Manfredi, co-chair
of Ka'u Coffee Festival,
with Wendy Cortez-Botelho,
representing Gov. Abercrombie
who declared Ka'u Coffee Week.
Photo by Julia Neal
Photo by Andrew Richard Hara
Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared the week of the festival Ka'u Coffee Week. 

A cultural exchange based around the festival was further forged between the small community of Lana`i and halau members in Pahala and from Japan. 

Keoki Kahumoku and 'ukulele kids.
Photo by Julia Neal
Lori Lei Shirakawa’s hula studio presented dancers from tiny keiki to kupuna, accompanied by Gene Akamu, Lori Lei and friends. Cyril Pahinui, D, Gene and Curtis, and Debbie Ryder were among the performers along with Keoki Kahumoku and his 'ukulele kids. 

Photo by Julia Neal
The many labels of Ka'u coffee were shared with visitors and local residents who also visited farms and the Ka'u Coffee Mill and tasted coffees brewed using various methods at the Ka'u Coffee Experience.

Craft, food and entertainment vendors added to the collection of community members present at the festival.

Photo by Andrew Richard Hara
Jeanette Howard was awarded a $1,000 check for winning the Buy Local, It Matters raffle.

Mahalo for your support. Check back soon for next year's dates!

Ka'u Star Gazing

Photos by Andrew Richard Hara
On Friday, May 3, 2013, Ka'u Coffee Mill offered a unique opportunity for event participants to not only visit Makanau, a Hawaiian historic sacred site and lookout place, but to taste a selection of wine and beer as they star gazed. 

'Imiloa astronomer Shawn Laatsch gave a lecture on stars from Makanau as the sun set. While the clouds, which brought much needed rain to the coffee farms, prevented many stars from being seen that night, the astronomer used the sky as a backdrop for teaching the group about Ka'u’s night skies. 

Before dark, the group was able to see the view from Makanau over ranch lands and onto a long stretch of undeveloped coastline. 

The name of the tabletop mountain, Makanau, incorporates the Hawaiian word for eyes, “maka.” 

Participants paid $35 per person in advance and received Ka'u Coffee, wine, beer and snacks.    

This event might be held again next year so check back later for a date!

Coffee & Cattle Day

Photo by Tom McAlexander
Aikane Plantation Coffee Company hosted a "Coffee and Cattle" event on Friday, May 3, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. At this official Ka'u Coffee Festival event, Phil and Merle Becker explained to participants how coffee is integrated into cattle production and other agriculture. Visitors paid $25 per person in advance and received lunch and beverages in addition to the tour.

In 1894, “Papa” J. C. Searle, Merle’s great-grandfather, planted his first crop of coffee in Ka‘u. His coffee became very popular and received many favorable comments from the local media. Due to a competition for laborers with the sugar plantation, “Papa’s” dream was lost but not forgotten. Over one hundred years later, Aikane Plantation Coffee Company was established by Merle and Phil Becker.

Phil and Merle Becker.
Photos courtesy of Aikane Plantation Coffee Co.
This event will likely occur again during the 2014 Ka'u Coffee Festival, check back later for dates.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ka'u Mountain Water Systems Hike

Olson Trust land manager John Cross discussed plans for a hydroelectric plant using water from former plantation water sources during yesterday's Ka'u Moutain Water Systems Hike. Photos by Andrew Richard Hara
The Ka'u Mountain Water Systems Hike yesterday led walkers from 25 to 75 years of age onto old plantation trails, into the rainforest above Wood Valley Road and to old tunnels and water systems once used to carry sugar cane to the Pahala sugar mill. The event, one of many during the ten days of the Ka'u Coffee Festival sold out, and Ka'u Coffee Mill representatives said they plan to offer the hike on a regular basis.

During the trek, Olson Trust land manager John Cross explained plans to use the plantation water sources for a new hydroelectric plant that will run Ka'u Coffee Mill and other farm enterprises as well as provide irrigation water for crops like taro and watercress. Shalan Crysdale, Hawai'i Island Director for The Nature Conservancy, talked about the rainforest and the preservation of the watershed and endangered species, as well as a partnership with landowner Edmund C. Olson Trust II to eradicate invasive species such as kahili ginger from the native forest.

The next Ka'u Coffee Festival event is Coffee & Cattle Day tomorrow, Friday, May 3 at Aikane Plantation Farm with lunch and a tour of coffee, protea, cattle, horses and other farm enterprises on the cane haul road between Pahala and Na'alehu. The cost is $25 per person. Call 808- 927-2252 for reservations.

Also on Friday is Ka'u Star Gazing on Makanau Mountain at 5:30 p.m., meeting at the Edmund C. Olson Trust II building on the corner of Maile St. and Pikake St. in Pahala. The $35 per person event is sold out and includes a talk from an 'Imiloa astronomer, as well as Ka'u Coffee and snacks.

The Nature Conservancy Hawai'i Island Director Shalan Crysdale talked about rainforest preservation.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Triple C Recipe Contest Winners

Judges put the recipe entries to the taste test and found it difficult to choose a winner from the many delicious creations. Photos by Julia Neal
Sunday's Triple C Recipe Contest in which contestants used Ka'u Coffee to make cookies, candies and crackers saw Gwen Edwards take home the $500 grand prize with her Coca Mocha Roca, plus $150 for winning the Amateur Candy category.

Grand Prize winning recipe,
Cocha Mocha Roca by Gwen Edwards.
The event was held April 28 at Ka'u Coffee Mill with five judges, the third event in ten days of the Ka'u Coffee Festival. Judges for the recipe contest were Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya, Chef Brad Hirata, Na'alehu Market owner Carl Okuyama, Ka'u Coffee Mill Chief Roaster Kalikoweo Keolanui-Daniele and Lou Daniele, also of Ka'u Coffee Mill.

Musician Keoki Kahumoku with
Grand Prize Winner Gwen Edwards.
In the Amateur Candy category, where Edwards also took first, she was followed by second-place winner Rosaria Chelsea-Lynn taking home $100 for her Ka'u Coffee Honu Crunch, and Nadine Ebert taking home $50 for her Chocolate Frosted Coffee Candy.

In the Amateur Cookie category, Masako Sakata took first and $150 for her Ka'u Coffee Cookie Delights, second place and $100 went to Angelica Kawewehi for her Ka'u Coffee Doodles and third place and $50 went to Nadine Ebert for her Mocha Biscotti Frosted with Chocolate.

Musician Keoki Kahumoku and two-time winner
Masako Sakata.
In the Amateur Cracker category. Lisa Dacalio took first and $100 with her Ka'u Bull Crackers. Masako Sakata took second and $100 with her Ka'u Coffee Icing on Crackers. Sakata donated both of her awards to next years Miss Ka'u Coffee Pageant as a $250 scholarship.

In the Professional Cookie category, Aikane Plantation Coffee and Kapolei High Schools Culinary Program took home $150 and first place for Ka'u Coffee Brownies. Trini Marques took home second and $100 for Ka'u Coffee Chocolate Dipped Pleasures.

In the Professional Cracker category, Trini Marques took first and earned $150 for her Ka'u Coffee Melts.

"Happy Birthday Ka'u Coffee
In the Student Cookie category, Sarah Beth Passarelli took first with Coffee-Chocolate Bites, earning her $150. Second and $100 went to Lorilee Lokenani Lorenzo with her Coffee Macnut Pie Crust Bars, and third and $50 went to Ka'u Middle School Uplink After-School All-Stars with their Uplink All-Star Cookies.

In the Student Candy category, Lorilee Lokenani Lorenzo took first and $100 with her Coffee Macnut Candy.

The day also celebrated the first anniversary of the Ka'u Coffee Mill visitor center.
Miss Ka'u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya danced hula as Keoki Kahumoku sang and played 'ukulele while as the judges scores were tallied.