Thursday, December 1, 2005

December 2005, We decide whether to keep the Kona coffee farm's sheep...


December 2005_We get a taste of handling sheep...we eventually decided we have much too much to do to also take on taking care of sheep!


Saturday, November 5, 2005

November 2005, We find a slightly used Honda ATV at a Hawaiian yard sale and bring it back to put it to work at our coffee farm


November 2006_We get a Honda ATV from a yard sale

Believe it or not -- we find amazing things at yard sales, in this case a hardly used almost a year old ATV...


Wednesday, November 2, 2005

November 1-2, 2005, We Attend Classes to Learn How to Cup

This two day class was rather fun and we certainly got to learn some new things. It is important when you produce coffee to know if the flavor profile is “on the money” or not. We learned that many factors can cause coffee to be average or inferior. Some of it is how you roast, and this class helped teach us what separates the “men from the boys” and also made us acutely aware that each stage of coffee processing needs to be done with care and knowledge. The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is almost applicable -- as you can prevent bad coffee but there is not much you can do to cure it once it isn’t perfect anymore!


Tuesday, November 1, 2005

November 2005, We Meet Enthusiastic Kona Coffee Farmers...


November 2005_We meet enthusiastic coffee farmers and we sign to buy the farm.

110505, We attend the Kona Coffee Festival Art Stroll and meet a couple of local coffee farmers that convince us even we can be coffee farmers and be happy. (You can see a photo about this on our “About Us“ page.)

We do find a property and sign an offer which is accepted. Since the farm is located on lease hold land, it takes a while from the time you sign your offer papers to when you actually get possession of your farm! In this case we did not get possession until April 2006.


Saturday, October 1, 2005

October 2005, We attend a Small Equipment Seminar for Kona Coffee Farmers

October 2005_We have been studying and learning about coffee farming since February 2005. We attend a “Small Equipment Seminar” that is lectured by Ken Sheppard. (You can see a photo about this on our “We own and operate Kona Comfort organic farm” page.) Ken actually designs and sells some coffee farm equipment and can consult with you and install other equipment. As you might suspect not all coffee equipment is equal. Take a look at his website here: Ken Sheppard’s Coffee Equipment Home Page
This is Ken Sheppard giving his lecture at the Small Equipment Seminar October 2005

Monday, January 10, 2005

January 2005, We learn about coffee farming before we start to look for a place to work as coffee farmers

We started actually thinking about Kona Coffee farms in small "what if's) as far back as I believe December 2004. But in January we actually started keeping documents and notes and trying to put conclusions to the details.

Although coffee farms and Kona Coffee was all around us, it is one of those things you can take for granted. There are also car repair shops, grocery stores and massage therapists -- these all blend into "that's the environment" but think "it does not directly affect us".

But then we considered that:
(1) Our favorite area of the Big Island is South Kona, and that is where the majority of Kona Coffee farms are located.
(2) Combine that with the fact that you can live and work at the same place -- that's a definite plus.
(3) Other businesses we had followed or were interested in, none went very far past "just looking".
(4) A number of Kona Coffee Farmers seemed to be successful and happy.

Then it dawned on us (forest for the trees):
Having our own Kona Coffee farm in South Kona would address many important issues:
(1) To be able to live in our favorite area;
(2) To be able to produce an actual product from Hawaii;
(3) To be able to make a living in Hawaii;
(4) To have a simple and laid back lifestyle more in line with the philosophy of Hawaii;
(5) To have hands on control of a small operation as opposed to a big company like we had evolved from.

We spent the next several months trying to learn as much as we could about how farmers work, what they needed to produce to generate what amount of money, what amount of property would it take to hold the number of plants that would yield that money, and on and on.

In other words we wanted to be able to verify to the best of our ability that within some reasonable range, there were existing methods that would yield consistent results. After all we were totally new to this, we did not grow up as farmers, we needed to try to make sure that there were existing "farm recipes" or "plans for operation" or "business plans" we could follow as a guide and not end up assuming we could figure it all out in the process. We did not want to just leap and hope we could figure it all out, we wanted to learn what would make you successful and what might hamper you.

From hearing other farmers' stories, quiet a number of new farmers had simply come over and seen a piece of land and fell in love with it. You hear the same thing happen when people buy an expensive car or a house.

A prospective coffee farmer needs to carefully consider if the farm he is thinking about has the potential to support the costs and the farmer's personal income needs. A four acre farm may be very cute but can it support you? If not, and you have to work two other jobs what will come of the upkeep and potential of the farm? If you have lots of money in the bank -- maybe that is a model that will work, but what if you need to make a living from a farm? Lots to consider and it can't be learned in one seminar or one club meeting, in one day, or in one month even.