Dragon Fruit & Coffee

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What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday we had a few people come over to visit and  pick some fruit in the farm.  While there were certainly dragonfruit available for them to pick, it did NOT look like this yesterday.  We’re in the process of picking and will be selling to one of the CSA’s we work with in Hilo.

The dragon fruit on the lower limbs gets eaten by the chickens.  As you can see from the picture, some of them are just the right height for them.  Needless to say they love it too.

We also picked some coffee today.  Not a lot, but more than last week.  It never fails in the beginning of the season, I’m super into the picking process.  It’s exciting, I know that we’ll have a lot of our own coffee, and it’s a walking or rather “picking” meditation in a way.  I really get into it.  Sadly, I now this feeling will change.  Picking coffee for a half hour is different than picking coffee all morning.  My husband and I will pick about a 5 gallon bucket each time we pick during season.  Today we picked about a quarter bucket together.  We also roasted 4 pounds of coffee in our new roaster today.  The beans aren’t from our farm, it’s what we’ve been using to help season the roaster.  I LOVE the machine.  I know it’s just a roaster, but this is going to serve us quite well.

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The finished product.  It’s been a busy weekend on the farm.

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Chickens

We recently bought four new chickens.  They’re not quite full grown, but should be laying in the near future.  Two of the chickens are Polish.  I’ve never heard of Polish chickens before and even though they apparently aren’t the best layers I insisted on getting them because 1) I’m part Polish!! and 2) they’re a little different looking than the normal chicken.  They have have what looks like hair on top their heads.  IMG_1023.JPG

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Above are pictures of the all the chickens we got.  The all black one is Polish, and the black and red one at the top is a Polish one as well.  We’re keeping them separated from the rest of the flock for a few weeks so they can get a little bigger and get used to the place.

We’ve got a lot of fruit ripening right now – dragon fruit, pineapples, mangoes, starfruit (we’re loaded!), bananas, berries, and lemons.  We’ll be selling some of the dragon fruit and starfruit shortly.  I’m going to try making limoncello again with our lemons.  We have the perfect lemons for this, Meyer lemons, but last time I made it, I think there was too much pith in the rind still and it just did’t taste that good.  So this time I’ll take it slower, and see how it comes out.  I’ll keep you posted as to my efforts on that one. IMG_1017.JPG

Fruit salad from the farm.

Guava guava jelly

We have a few guava trees on our property.  The most prolific one is right next to one of our ponds and many of the guavas end up in the pond.  Unfortunate for us, but the ducks eat them so not as unfortunate for them.

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So I spent the morning making guava jelly (while humming the Ka’au Crater Boys guava jelly song the whole time).  Not sure if my nephew Mika reads this blog, but yes, I’ll be sending some his way.  Guavas have a lot of pectin, so making jelly is super easy.  I simply cut the guavas in quarters and boiled with a little water for about 45 minutes.  Then I strained all the seeds out.  Once I had the juice, I measured it.  You’re supposed to use equal part sugar to equal parts juice, so I had 8 cups juice, which technically means I should’ve used 8 cups sugar.  I used a little less sugar just to try and be “healthier”.  But as anyone knows who makes jelly, if you don’t use sugar it’s not going to jell.  I also added about 1 cup of lime juice. It’s a little more lime juice than most recipes call for, but guava jelly is super sweet, so it adds a tiny bit of tart.  I then boiled everything together again, first a rolling boil to dissolve the sugar, then a steady boil (I set my stove to 6 out of 10 in heat) for about half an hour.   It’s super important to stir throughout, especially if the sugar hasn’t dissolved; one it can actually burn, and two it can boil over your pot.  Sticky jelly all of your stove it not fun, and unfortunately I keep learning that lesson over and over again.  DO NOT leave a pot of jelly unmanned on your stove for more than 2 seconds.  Don’t do it, I tell you, it’s a mess.  I digress, after it’s cooked and you test for readiness (I use the cold spoon test – dip a cold spoon into your mixture, let it sit, is it starting to get tacky – yes, it’s ready, no cook a little longer), pour into jars, boil jars, then Pau – Guava jelly.  Well not quite, done, they have to cool and set, but that just requires waiting.

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Finished product

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It came out a dark red color, I think because I used an organic raw sugar instead.  It’s usually a little more pink colored.  It tastes pretty good if I say so myself.

I also picked up lilikoi today; I say picked up, because you’re literally picking them off of the ground.  If you try and pick a lilikoi on the vine, it’s not going to be ready, be patient, let them drop – they’re sweeter that way.  Lilikoi jelly is my husband’s FAVORITE!  Last year, we had a horrible year, and only had a handful of lilikoi.  Usually we have a loads.  This is year is better than last, not like our normal yield, but I should have enough eventually to make some jelly.  I also make a mean lilikoi liqueur.  I hope I have enough lilikoi this year to make some of that as well.  We have a number of varieties of lilikoi on the property.  The purple one is new and isn’t fruiting yet, but our orange and yellow varieties are fruiting.

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You can see the difference in the two in the picture above.  I find the yellow one slightly more tart and the orange a little sweeter, but they’re both delicious.

We have a lot of fruit right now.  My son took the picture below.  Not only did he take the picture, he harvested all the fruit.  I saw it on his Instagram account, and wished I had the picture for my blog.  Little did I know he actually took some pictures of the yield with my camera.  What a nice surprise.  (Bananas, pineapples, mangoes, starfruit, dragonfruit, papaya, pumpkin, and breadfruit, oh my!)

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He took a bunch of pictures.  I love this one, because Otis is licking his lips.  He loves bananas!  I made some pumpkins soup out of the pumpkins, we dried the pineapple, my son gave some of the breadfruit away (we have SOOOO many if anyone wants), and we’re slowly eating or giving other stuff away.

I feel extremely grateful for this little piece of heaven.  But most of all I’m extremely grateful for my husband.  The property was beautiful when we got it, but all the trees, and ponds, and fruit and vegetables, that was my husband’s work.  He is the hardest worker I know.  When he comes home from work, he’s in the garden.  Every weekend, he is in the garden.  While I know for a fact, it is a lot of hard work for him, the farm is his church – it’s his place to connect and be grounded.  He loves it, and I love that he loves it. I’m grateful everyday for him.

Coffee time!

Berries are starting to turn red.  Last week, I picked some of my sister in laws beans, and this week, I picked a few of ours as well.  Good news is that while there appears to be some coffee borer beetles in our beans, it is very minimal.  This last batch had only 2 beans with the beetle.  I’m so relieved, but still cautiously optimistic.  We’re going to be treating monthly to help insure the level of infestation stays really low.

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We recently made a big decision regarding our coffee processing.  We decided to purchase a motor for our cherry huller, a larger home roaster, and a parchment husker.  We currently have a cherry huller, that takes the red coating off the bean (see pictures above).   As you can see from the above picture, there is a hand crank.  It works well, and is a work out in some respect, but with the amount of beans we produce, hand cranking just isn’t sustainable.  This new motor will make this process substantially quicker. For large yields, we typically sent our beans off to a local coffee producer  who would take the parchment off the bean and then roast the coffee.  These recent purchases will allow us to do this all by ourselves.  The roaster that we had (and still have) roasts about 1/2 pound of coffee.  The new roaster will roast about 5 pounds of coffee at a time.  I’m excited to take this big step.  It was a large investment financially, but in time in will easily pay for itself.  Best of all, it looks like the family will be getting some special estate coffee for Christmas!!

 

Homegrown lunch

Everything but the peanuts is from the farm

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I would love one day to be almost entirely self sufficient on our farm at least food wise.  There are certain things I can’t grow or make at this point, so I know that this won’t  happen for awhile unless I completely change my diet.  I’m not opposed to that, but while we have a lot of fruits and vegetables that we do grow, it is seasonable, and I’m still learning to be better at canning and preserving foods for later.  So one month we’ll have a ton of pumpkins or a ton of dragon fruit, and one tends to get tired of eating the same thing over and over again.  But today I started small, lunch was entirely farm produced minus the peanuts in the papaya salad.

Quickie papaya salad recipe:

Green papaya grated (there is a special grater for this, see picture below, it’s the light blue handled tool), one large size tomato, one lime, green beans (I substituted moringa beans), fish sauce, and a little chili pepper if you like.

We have a large mortar and pestle that is perfect for papaya salad.  Par boil beans (about 4 or 5 large beans).  Cut tomatoes in quarters and cut lime in quarters.  Put green beans, tomatoes, lime, chili pepper in mortar and start grinding.  Add a little fish sauce.  Fish sauce is salty, start with a little and add to taste.  Grind a little more, and then slowly start adding the green papaya.  I usually use one large green papaya.  This will serve about 4 people as a side salad or two people if this is your main meal.  Keep pounding the pestle until everything is thoroughly mixed.  I add about 2 tablespoons of fish sauce total, and usually squeeze a little more lime in at the end.  Garnish with peanuts.  I do this all to taste.  My husband likes salty and spicy, so he usually adds a little more chili pepper and fish sauce then I do.  Start at small, because if you add to much, the only way to save it is to grate more green papaya.

Papaya salad #greenpapayasalad #hawaiilife #farmlife #homesteading

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The drink above is turmeric, ginger limeade sweetened with honey.  I squeezed about 6 limes for the pitcher.  In addition I boiled two cups of water with two tablespoons of turmeric and two tablespoons of ginger.  I let it cool, strained it and added this my lime juice.  I added more water to fill the pitcher and honey to taste.  A nice healthy refreshing drink for the summer.