Know Your Land and Eat It Too

IN YOUR FRIDGE / Farmers’ market managers, Pamela Boyer and Annie Suite have joined hands with local farmers to create Oahu Agri-Tours. There’s no fancy farmhouse or massive farm machinery; what you see is what you get. You’ll experience first-hand how farmers are committed to practicing clean, organic farming.

Poamoho Farms is one of the farms on tour, and guests learn how the fruit orchard uses natural pest management and fertilization methods. Tin Roof Ranch farmers Luann Casey and Gary Gunder butcher their chickens the day before selling them at the market.

Na Mea Kupono wetland taro farm practices old school taro farming methods that most locals don’t even know about. Here you can also watch a traditional poi-pounding demonstration.

At Mohala Farms you’ll see how simple and natural farming is still possible (and still exists).

Kona growers take on national chain

HONOLULU – Hawaii farmer Paul Uster was on vacation in California when he saw a package of Kona coffee blend in a supermarket that he knew would upset fellow growers back home on the Big Island.

The Safeway brand of Kona blend medium roast coffee didn’t specify what percentage was made from the world-famous bean or whether it was grown in Hawaii – information a law in the Aloha State requires for labels on Hawaii-grown coffee. That law is meant to inform consumers but also protect the integrity of Hawaii’s premier coffee grown on slopes of volcanic rock.

“It degrades the reputation and the quality of Kona coffee. When consumers are not informed it makes it harder for me to make a living,” said Uster, who owns Mokulele Farms and is on the board of directors of the Kona Coffee Farmers Association. “Kona and other Hawaiian coffees are a great treasure to the state.”

Hawaii is the only place in the United States where coffee is grown. Beans grown in the Kau district of the Big Island are also gaining popularity among discerning coffee aficionados.

Safeway’s blend was priced at $8.99 a pound, Uster said, while 8 ounces of pure Kona coffee can sell for $25.

Island brews

Hawaii’s no different from any other place in the country when it comes to coffee lovers: Step into any Starbucks and you’ll see — we’ve got lots of ’em. And yet, we’re not like everywhere else because we’re the only state in the nation that grows coffee.

Viewed from that perspective, those long lines at chain coffee bars with their non-Hawaii coffees seem nonsensical. Shouldn’t Hawaii people be drinking Hawaii coffee?

Thankfully, a host of venues in Hawaii do offer locally grown coffees.

But there’s a new shop, just 4 months old, that is taking Hawaii coffee to a whole new level on Oahu.

Beach Bum Café, run by owner Dennis McQuoid out of a storefront in the Executive Centre on Bishop Street, is cutting-edge in what it offers: a selection of 100 percent Hawaii coffees and a choice of five brewing methods.

He calls his place a “microbrew” coffee house, meaning he grinds beans upon order and brews one cup at a time. This ensures the freshest cup possible.

McQuoid offers eight single-estate coffees at any given time, and he keeps just a two-week supply to ensure freshness.

McQuoid also offers a generous helping of customer service. He starts by helping patrons make selections based on their preferences.

Coffee drinking may cut prostate cancer risk

In case you needed one, here’s another possible reason to have that cup of coffee in the morning: Men who regularly drink coffee appear to be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, especially the most lethal kind, according to new research.

Lorelei Mucci of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues analyzed data collected from 47,911 U.S. men who participated in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a large, ongoing examination of a variety of health issues for men. As part of the study, the men reported their coffee consumption every four years between 1986 and 2008. During that period, 5,035 cases of prostate cancer were reported, including 642 fatal cases.

The men who consumed the most coffee, which was defined as six or more cups every day, were nearly 20 percent less likely to develop any form of prostate cancer, the researchers reported in the May 17 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

But, most strikingly, the heavy coffee drinkers were also 60 percent less likely to be diagnosed with a lethal prostate tumor. Those who drank between one and three cups a day were 30 percent less likely to develop a lethal case.

The risk was cut regardless of whether the men drank decaffeinated or regular coffee, the researchers reported.

State officials report first infestation of coffee berry borer in Kau

The first infestation of the coffee berry borer in the Kau district of the Big Island has been detected at a farm in Pahala, state agricultural officials announced today.

Infestations of the beetle, which threaten Hawaii’s $27 million coffee-growing industry, have been concentrated in West Hawaii.

The coffee berry borer, a small beetle native to Central Africa, bores into coffee beans and lays its eggs, its larvae feeding inside the bean.

State officials said they’re still assessing the extent of the infestation in Pahala and that farmers in the region are asked to inspect their fields and report any suspected coffee berry borers.

The state in February approved the use of the fungus Beauveria bassiana to control the spread of the coffee berry borer.

State officials report first infestation of coffee berry borer in Kau – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Big Isle coffee farm wins international honors

A Big Island coffee farm is among 10 in the world to win the distinction of “Coffees of the Year.”

Kailiawa Farm was the only coffee producer in the nation to get that title from the Specialty Coffee Association of America and Roasters Guild competition in Houston, West Hawaii Today reported Friday.

The farm is on the Big Island’s southern tip known as the Kau district, which in recent years has been gaining recognition among coffee aficionados. Coffee in neighboring Kona has long been well-known.

Bull Kailiawa of Pahala told the newspaper he believes his family farm’s location in an area called “Cloud Rest” is key to producing quality coffee.

“The rain plays a big part,” he said. “It brings energy and we’re thankful for being on that belt line.”

This is the second time the farm received the honor.

Feds say firm abused Thai farm workers in Hawaii, Washington

The U.S. Employment Opportunity Commission announced today that it filed lawsuits in Hawaii and Washington state against Global Horizons Inc., a Beverly Hills-based farm labor contractor, and eight farms, including six in Hawaii.

The agency said Global Horizons brought more than 200 men from Thailand to work on farms in Hawaii and Washington, where they were subjected to severe abuse.

The EEOC contends that Global Horizons engaged in a pattern or practice of national origin and race discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Hundreds of additional potential claimants and witnesses are expected, the EEOC said.

The agency said the Thai workers were assigned to work at these farms in Hawaii: Captain Cook Coffee Company, Del Monte Fresh Produce, Kauai Coffee Company, Kelena Farms, MacFarms of Hawaii and Maui Pineapple Farms.

The Washington state farms named in the lawsuits are Green Acre Farms and Valley Fruit Orchards.

The lawsuit follows criminal charges brought against Global Horizons last year. The U.S. government in September indicted Global Horizons owner Mordechai Yosef Orian and others with exploiting about 400 Thai workers in forced-labor conditions from May 2004 to September 2005.

State wants to bring in fungus to control coffee pest

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture is proposing to make it easier to import a fungus used to control a type of beetle that is a major threat to Kona’s coffee bean farms.

The Department of Agriculture said in a news release yesterday the proposal seeks to remove the fungus from the list of restricted microorganisms.

Agriculture officials in February approved using pesticides that contain the fungus only with a permit. The department is proposing to remove the permit requirement but the pesticide would still need to be registered with the state.

The fungus is contained in pesticides Kona coffee farms use to control an infestation of small beetles known as Coffee Berry Borers. The beetle has destroyed 60 to 70 percent of coffee crops at some farms.

State wants to bring in fungus to control coffee pest – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Beetle threatening Kona coffee crops

KAILUA-KONA – A beetle smaller than a sesame seed is boring its way into Kona coffee beans and threatening the nation’s only coffee-growing region’s premier crop.

More than 600 farmers in North Kona and South Kona, on the west side of the Big Island, are preparing to coat their fields with a suffocating fungus and are taking other measures to save their livelihoods and protect the world famous Kona coffee brand. While they’re confident they can limit the damage, they acknowledge they face a long fight against a beetle that will almost certainly reduce harvests and force costly chemical treatments and other work.

”It definitely has made growing Kona coffee more challenging,” said Tommy Greenwell, owner of Greenwell Farms. ”Once the beetle bores into the coffee cherry, it digs out a home and lays its eggs. That bean is no longer useable in coffee products. ”

The beetle, a bug known as Hypothenemus hampei that is native to Africa, was formally identified in Hawaii in September, but farmers have reported spotting it for two years. No one knows how it arrived in Hawaii, but growers said they’re not surprised because it’s seen in other coffee-growing regions throughout the world.

”There are 101 theories about how it got here. All we know is it got here from another country and it’s a very, very good hitchhiker