In October/November of 2012, I flew to the Big Island (Hawai’i) to deepen our coffee grower relationships and foster new connections. That trip was such a learning experience for me, and I am grateful. As a result of this trip, we added certified organic coffee and macadamia nuts (raw, dehydrated as opposed to roasted) as well as flavored mac nuts that feature organic Big Island ingredients. I spent much of my first week checking out land parcels in the Puna district from Glenwood to Kea`au, searching for a Big Island home to `Ihilani Farms. I found a buyer’s agent for the real estate. The next week was spent on the Kona side during the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, meeting “phone friend” coffee growers in person, witnessing firsthand the intricacies of everything from growing to harvest and processing as well as some politics of the Kona coffee industry. I was able to stay with my primary Kona grower’s mother and sister, both kindred horsewomen.
Once back in Oregon, we began the land hunt in earnest. `Ihilani spent untold hours searching listings. Offers were made, counter-offered, rejected on both sides for varying reasons. In December 2012, we had our first public appearance at the Winter Wine Festival at Spirit Mountain Casino. The booth was beautiful and I wish I had thought to photograph it before we took it down. After serving coffee and mac nut samples all day nonstop, it simply did not occur to us until it was too late to take photos. Oops. There will be another opportunity for photos in March 2013 during a two-day wine and food event.
At the end of January, we were getting closer and closer to making a real estate deal. And now you are caught up to present time in the adventure with the announcement that began this blog…The land in Puna is now ours. We will continue to build the customer base on the mainland for a time yet while putting together the agricultural business plan. Learning lots lately, about cacao, vanilla and mucuna bean, etc. Stay tuned by subscribing and sharing this blog to spread the word. Mahalo!