Friday, January 13, 2012

Field Trip to Hawaiian Farms

I have so much to tell you about my Hawaiian field-trip to see what other "Paradises" look like.....

Our journey began on December 30 flying over to Honolulu for a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands.  One of many firsts for Farmer Joe and myself, so combining a little business and lots of pleasure, we dug out our summer clothes & headed out to see firsthand the kinds of crops the tropical farmers raise over there. Our Hawaiian Field-trip included an innovative coffee farm, a cacao farm, and a pineapple plantation. 

Coffee Farm 

We took a tour of a coffee farm called "Kona Joe".  This particular farm has started training their coffee trees to grow on trellises like the wineries do for their grapes.
Farmer Joe by the coffee roasting machine

A view of the coffee trees
The beans are hand-picked when ripe, sorted and then roasted.
The beans being sorted into different categories

Freshly roasted beans.... the smell was heavenly
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One new thing I learned was that dark roasted beans have less caffeine than a lighter roast.  Below is a video of the beans being bagged once the process is complete and ready for sale.




Cacao Farm

Next stop was a tour of a local Cacao Farm.... Coffee and chocolate, does it get any better than that!?  Plus they had samples too.

The only chocolate grown and processed all in Hawaii

The chocolate farmer explaining his crop

Cacao pods that grow on trees and are harvested by hand every 2 weeks

A pod cut open

A view of the bean when it has been cut out from the pod and the extraneous
(white part) removed from the bean

The beans are placed in a special box to allow the extraneous matter around the bean to naturally dissolve

Next the beans are placed in the open air drying rack to help them cure.  The
nice warm weather and sun helps this process. The beans are then roasted
and it looks much like the coffee roasting bin.
THEN  the final product.... yum chocolate as seen below.
It looked like an overgrown fondue pot and made our
mouth's water
Once the chocolate is ready to be poured into forms for their chocolate bars, it will be refrigerated until it's set up.  Of course seeing the liquid chocolate helped the sales at the end of the tour.  =)

Dole Plantation:
A few days later we went to the Dole Plantation  took a tour of the pineapple farm all from the comfort of a little open air train through the grounds.  All of the pineapple grown on this plantation are now for tourists to purchase and ship home.  Dole now raises pineapple overseas where it is also canned there as well due to high labor costs in the USA.

Farmer Joe & I in front of the plantation, they had "Dole" spelled out with plants

A picture of the in the gift shop of the original roadside stand

The sign says the cycle has 3 fruit harvests, the 1st pineapple is ready to pick in
18 months, second is at 32 months and 3rd is 45 months 

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The train as it winds its way through the plantation grounds 
The plantation had many other plants, such as banana trees, other exotic fruit trees, sugarcane fields and many other kinds of flowers & plants.

This is what a field of pineapple looks like. 

A pineapple in the growing stages.

A picture from the showroom of what an actual harvest looks like

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Info on the varieties
The beautiful grounds on the plantation has many kinds of trees as well and I just wish I could grow one of these in my yard....

I loved the "gum trees" they did not look real,
but they were.  The bark is so unusual.

Close up of the gum tree. It looks like a painted tree

A banana tree

Sugar cane fields
Well there you have it, a snapshot of how coffee, pineapple and cacao are grown (some of my favorite foods & drink). Everyone has their idea of paradise, and for this farm-wife and her farmer, ours' is rural Idaho, but it is fun to see what else is out there. I hope you enjoyed this tropical crop tour.  The next field-trip will be closer to home and I am in the process of obtaining permission to film it (so make sure and come back soon). More pictures of the trip can be found on the At Home on the Farm page.   I  hope 2012 finds you healthy and happy and I am looking forward to a new year of adventures.  As always, please feel free to email me if you have any questions at idahofarmwife@gmail.com and I love the comments.  All my best, Gayle