September is the first of the hot, dry months for us in West Hawaii. We finally have a few days without rain and the ground is drying out. That means it is time to bring in the coffee harvest while working to stay cool. Here in Hawaii there is no heat and no air conditioning which is a bit strange when you come from the Midwest where winters freeze and summers scorch.
Kilauea Military Camp
With a required 14-day quarantine in place for all visitors the island has been very quiet. Many of the restaurants, hotels and tourist focused businesses are closed or offering low kama’aina (local) discounts. We took advantage of the one offered for the military and had a lovely stay at the Kilauea Military Camp in Volcano National Park.
The National Park is open for visitors and most of the trails damaged in the 2018 eruption have been repaired. We spent three days hiking, reading, and relaxing. The park was deserted and beautiful.
When we purchased the property there were approximately 200 trees. With proper trimming, displacement due to new structures (Tiny Home), and a few that were sick, we ended up with less than 100 trees with cherry. That will change in the next few years as trees grow back and the new trees get big enough to fruit.
The Progeny 502 we purchased is almost ready to graft. To battle root nematodes that can destroy coffee tree roots we graft the best fruit trees upper structures to a different variety of tree that has a robust root system impervious to nematodes. This approach gives us the best of both worlds - disease resistance and high quality coffee.
First Harvest is in! From now until the end of the year we will continue to pick and process until we’ve brought in all of our cherries.
This year our crop will be fairly small so we are managing the harvest by ourselves. We’re learning the challenges of coffee picking and get better every year.
After the cherry is picked it is pulped to remove the outer layer. Next up is a 24 hour soak in water to get rid of the slimy mucilage. We move the coffee straight from the water to the drying table until it reaches 11-13% humidity and is in the parchment stage. It is then stored as parchment until we’re ready to mill and roast it for our customers.
This year’s crop is looking very healthy and we’re looking forward to shipping it to our customers around the world. We hope you enjoy it!
Josh, Kris, Audrey, Mo, Crookshanks and Cujo
Guard Well Farm
75-1097 Keopu Mauka Dr.
Holualoa, HI 96725