A Maui coffee farmer said controlling invasive species such as the coqui frog and fire ant is a Big Island problem.
“They already have them, we don’t. Why put the cost on us?” asked Bobbie Becker, owner of Maui Mountain Coffee Farm. “They’ve got it there.”
Becker is a supporter of state Senate Bill 2347 — written as an attempt to control the spread of invasive species to the local agriculture industry — which soon will be taken up by the House Finance Committee.
Parts of the bill would prohibit the transportation of the pests and establishes penalties for violations, including language that would require any commercial entity that transports invasive species to pay a fine equal to the value of the infested shipment.
Eric Tanouye, president of Hawaii Floriculture and Nursery Association and vice president of Green Point Nurseries, called the bill “a detriment to the Big Island.”
“They are distracting, and distracting all of us from the main objective,” he said. “How do we make ag thrive on the Big Island and in the State of Hawaii?”
Springer Kaye, manager of the Big Island Invasive Species Committee, said the committee agrees with the intent of the bill, but does not support SB 2347 and thinks it puts the Big Island at a disadvantage.
“Unfortunately, SB 2347 specifically targets the already struggling horticulture and agriculture economy on the Island of Hawaii, without providing any appropriation to re-establish the state programs required to effectively stop the spread of invasive species,” Continue reading
Mention Maui and visions of sandy beaches, surfers, palm trees, and umbrella drinks come to mind. Maui certainly has all those things, but dive past the postcard perfect shoreline, and you’ll find that Maui’s unique microclimates and wealth of fertile volcanic soil also make it prime farming land. Here are three spots to get an authentic taste of homegrown aloha.
Maui Gold Pineapple Farm
It’s almost impossible to think of Hawaii without thinking of pineapples. Tropical, sweet, and juicy, pineapples taste of smiles and sunshine. Go right to the source with Maui Pineapple Tours. If you’ve ever wanted to frolic through golden pineapple fields (not recommended—pineapples are spiky), this is the place to do it since it is the only working pineapple farm in the U.S. you can tour. You’ll visit the Hali’imaile Pineapple Plantation, home to the trademark Maui Gold pineapple, a variety prized for its sweet flavor and low acidity. Check out the packing and shipping factory, head out to the farm, and eat as much pineapple as you’d like, straight from the fields.
You will leave with sticky fingers, a Maui Gold for the road, and more knowledge about pineapples than you’ll know what to do with (like how to select a good pineapple at home, the best way to cut and core it, even how to grow your own pineapple plant from the crown of the one you just ate). Continue reading
A national grocer said it has changed its label on packages of Kona coffee blends, making good on a promise it made last year to a group of Hawaii coffee farmers.
But the Kona Coffee Farmers Association said Thursday that Safeway hasn’t fully honored that promise.
Last year, Safeway agreed to change the label on Kona coffee blend products sold on the mainland to add the phrase “10 percent minimum Kona blend.” That was after the association called for a boycott of the company’s 1,700 stores nationwide because farmers said the labels were misleading and degraded the reputation of Hawaii’s famous coffee.
Safeway doesn’t sell the coffee blend in any of its Hawaii stores, so it wasn’t subject to a Hawaii law that requires labels to reflect the percentage of Hawaii-grown coffee, which needs to be at least 10 percent for the state designation.
Instead, the state Department of Agriculture asked Safeway to voluntarily comply with Hawaii’s law.
The Pleasanton, Calif.-based grocery chain agreed and promised to begin selling 100 percent Kona coffee in some California stores.
The Kona Coffee Farmers Association has been watching Safeway closely for these changes. The association said in a letter to Safeway that members have seen the old packaging in mainland stores and is disappointed the company hasn’t started selling pure Kona coffee.
“Given the product shelf life, packaging used before the (changes) may still exist on store shelves or elsewhere in our distribution chain,” said a letter from Brian Dowling, Safeway vice president of public affairs, adding that the company doesn’t plan to destroy or dispose of those products.
Dowling’s letter said that Safeway hadn’t been able to sell 100 percent Kona coffee, but still planned to do so. Continue reading
In 1650, St. Michael’s Alley, London’s first coffee shop, placed an ad in a newspaper. That ad — archived in the British Museum, and Internet-ed by the Vintage Ads LiveJournal — extolled the many Vertues of the newly discovered beverage. Which “groweth upon little Trees, only in the Deserts of Arabia,” and which is — despite and ostensibly because of its Vertues — “a simple innocent thing.”
What’s amazing about the ad — besides, obviously, its crazy claim that coffee can prevent Mif-carryings in Child-bearing Women — is how flagrantly its copyrighters flung the Vertues they extol. Per these 17th-century Mad Men, coffee could be used to aid and/or prevent: indigestion, headaches, lethargy, drowsiness, arthritis, sore eyes, cough, consumption, “spleen,” dropsy, gout, scurvy, and — my personal favorite — hypochondria. And they back up their claims by pointing out that Turkish people, those noted coffee imbibers, don’t have scurvy, but do have nice skin. QED!
What’s amazing as well, for better or for worse, is how familiar the ad feels. Sure, today we regulate our marketing claims; Starbucks wouldn’t get very far were it to announce the miscarriage-prevention properties of the half-caf soy latte. But we’re also, still, entirely familiar with ads that ramble on about the health benefits of particular products with a hilarious if occasionally dangerous disregard for reality — particularly on the modern-day pamphlet that is the Internet. (With Product X, you’ll be slimmer/bulkier/hairier/smoother/perkier/calmer … in just one week!). The main difference is that the caveat of 1650 — Made and Sold in St. Michaels Alley in Cornhill, by Pasqua Rosse, at the Signe of his own Head — has been replaced by a caveat that is all too recognizable in its modernity: This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Continue reading
HONOLULU – Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Monday that he plans to veto a bill that would remove mandatory certification for Hawaii-grown coffee, a measure Kona coffee farmers said would be disastrous for the industry’s integrity and reputation.
Abercrombie listed the bill as one of 19 he is considering vetoing from the 2012 legislative session. Some of the bills are still under consideration, he said.
Kona coffee farmers who were against the certification repeal from the start welcomed the veto. The certification helps them fight against lesser-quality products, they said.
“The implications of this measure are problematic,” Abercrombie said. “Further discussion is needed to ensure that the Hawaii brand will not be undermined.” Continue reading
MILWAUKEE — One of life’s simple pleasures just got a little sweeter. After years of waffling research on coffee and health, even some fear that java might raise the risk of heart disease, a big study finds the opposite: Coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer. Regular or decaf doesn’t matter.
The study of 400,000 people is the largest ever done on the issue, and the results should reassure any coffee lovers who think it’s a guilty pleasure that may do harm.
“Our study suggests that’s really not the case,” said lead researcher Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute. “There may actually be a modest benefit of coffee drinking.”
No one knows why. Coffee contains a thousand things that can affect health, from helpful antioxidants to tiny amounts of substances linked to cancer. The most widely studied ingredient — caffeine — didn’t play a role in the new study’s results.
It’s not that earlier studies were wrong. There is evidence that coffee can raise LDL, or bad cholesterol, and blood pressure at least short-term, and those in turn can raise the risk of heart disease.
Even in the new study, it first seemed that coffee drinkers were more likely to die at any given time. But they also tended to smoke, drink more alcohol, eat more red meat and exercise less than non-coffee-drinkers. Once researchers took those things into account, a clear pattern emerged: Each cup of coffee per day nudged up the chances of living longer.
The study was done by the National Institutes of Health and AARP. The results are published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Careful, though — this doesn’t prove that coffee makes people live longer, only that the two seem related. Continue reading
HONOLULU – Kona coffee farmers are asking the governor to veto a bill that removes mandatory certification requirements for Hawaii-grown coffee.
The bill was one of dozens that cleared the full House and the Senate on Tuesday, two days before the end of the 2012 legislative session.
On Thursday, lawmakers will vote on the remaining measures, including the $11.2 billion state budget bill and related fiscal measures.
Kona coffee farmers have opposed House Bill 280 throughout the session. The measure addresses a staffing shortage at the state Department of Agriculture, which has had to eliminate all but one coffee inspector position in West Hawaii Island.
Currently, coffee labeled as Kona-grown must be inspected and certified by the state. The inspectors verify that blends labeled as Kona actually contain at least 10 percent Kona-grown coffee.
If the bill becomes a law, however, inspections will become voluntary and growers will provide their own documentation of the coffee’s origin.
Rep. Cynthia Thielen, R-Kaneohe-Kailua, tried unsuccessfully to get the bill amended on the floor. Her proposal would have inserted language from a food sustainability measure that failed to pass out of committee. Continue reading
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that cacao of the theobroma cacao tree, the dried and fermented seed from which chocolate is made, is native to the central and western Amazon region and is widely distributed throughout the humid tropical regions with commercial production concentrated in Brazil, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
The legislature finds that the cacao industry in Hawaii is in its infancy stage with fewer than thirty growers and a total acreage of approximately fifty acres, but holds the promise of helping diversified agriculture markets. The University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources has conducted a series of meetings, including the one-day workshop entitled “Future of Cacao in Hawaii’ held October 23, 2008, involving key stakeholders in the local cacao industry and representatives statewide to strategize on methods for positioning Hawaii in the growing cacao market. Continue reading
Even as coffee consumption grows in Thailand each year, the country remains a net coffee importer. Several coffee growers have shifted to other lucrative plants such as rubber and oil palm because of their higher market prices.
Varri Sodprasert, president of the Thai Coffee Association, said Thailand’s coffee production has dropped continuously the last five to six years, with production this year estimated at only 41,000 tonnes.
Coffee has been grown in Thailand for over 100 years. The country officially became a coffee exporter in 1976, selling 850 tonnes of robusta coffee. Helped by strong world market prices in the 1980s, exports thrived, culminating in a peak in 1991-92 of almost 60,000 tonnes.
The collapse of the “International Coffee Agreement” in July 1989 and the following slump in world coffee prices hit farmers hard. Facing an oversupply, the Thai government initiated a five-year plan starting in 1992 to encourage coffee farmers to switch crops, reducing the coffee plantation area from almost 500,000 rai.
Coffee plantation is estimated at 300,000 rai this year, with about 260,000 rai for robusta beans and 39,000 rai for arabica, said Peyanoot Naka, senior research officer at the Agriculture Department.
Robusta coffee growers are mostly in the South, where plantation area is expected to drop from 287,000 rai as more farmers shift to rubber and oil palm.
But arabica strains, grown mostly in the North, are expected to increase plantation given relatively high prices.
The ex-farm price of arabica is now at 150 baht per kilogramme, while the related price of robusta is 72 baht per kg.
Domestic consumption is estimated at 70,000 tonnes a year. Thailand imports at least 5,000 tonnes to supply instant coffee makers. Continue reading
Former President George H.W. Bush hated broccoli. But I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t love avocados. Cool and creamy, rich and texturally divine, this native American fruit is a perfect ingredient in, say, a California roll sushi, layered in a sandwich, and mashed into a spicy guacamole to be served with crunchy chips.
I also love to scoop out the buttery meat, slice into eye-appealing thick pieces, and sprinkle with a little cayenne, sea salt and a drizzle of lemon. Perfecto!
Those heading to the Big Island of Hawaii this weekend will find the sixth annual Hawai‘i Avocado Festival celebrating the versatile fruit.
Today, the festival fun will be centered around Kealakekua Bay Bed and Breakfast for a Farm-to-Fork Hawaii Dinner, according to publicist Fern Gavelek.
”The menu of the five-course, avocado-inspired meal is by Chef Devin Lowder of When Pigs Fly Island Charcuterie. Dessert Chef Hector Wong of My Yellow Kitchen in Honolulu will prepare a seven-layer avo dessert. Seating is limited and a portion of the $85 price benefits the festival. For reservations, phone 328-8150.”
”The celebration culminates Saturday, Feb. 18 with the family-friendly 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Hawai‘i Avocado Festival at the Keauhou Beach Resort. The free, community event offers a wealth of activities for attendees of all ages sprawling throughout the resort’s grounds.”
”Get tips on growing and grafting avocado trees, plus trees will be on sale for the home orchard. Leading the educational botanical sessions is a team of University of Hawai‘i staff Continue reading