Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  We’ve been celebrating on Friday for the last few years instead of the typical Thursday.  Living on an island, especially an outer island like we do, means that family may not be close by.  This is no exception for us.  While we’re fortunate our son still lives on Island, the rest of our family is on Oahu or the mainland.  So for the last few years, we’ve invited those like us, those whose families are far away, and celebrate the holiday together.  We’ve slowly created our own tradition which is something special.

We didn’t do the typical turkey dinner, rather we cooked a Hawaiian version – kalua pork, corned beef luau (a mix of my husband’s Hawaiian heritage and my Irish), ulu (breadfruit)/cauliflower mash, fruit salad, Kona crab, nabeta, asparagus/green bean casserole, squash crumble, pumpkin soup, and lomi salmon.  I almost forgot we broke open the pineapple liqueur I had made.  For dessert, we had kulolo and a lime/avocado pie.  It was so delicious.  I neglected to take pictures, but have lots of snapshot in my mind and more importantly my heart, so I won’t forget.  A lot of the stuff came straight from the garden.  It feels good to be sustainable and share what we grow.

On Saturday we went to Aikane Nursery in North Kohala.  What a nice group of folks up there.  We got some unusual tropical fruits we’re excited about trying.

This is Pandan.  The leaves are used for seasoning in cooking.  When fully grown it looks very similar to a lauhala tree.

Pedalai – the fruit of this plant looks like a gigantic rambutan.  It’s bright orange with fuzzy hair on the outside.  Its white fleshy interior is supposed to be superior tasting.  We can’t wait to try this!!

We also picked up a new kind of dragon fruit, cardamon, a jelly palm (you can make jelly off of the fruit!!), a dwarf coconut, and a few other things.  We’re going to make signs so we don’t forget what everything is.  Right now, in the garden we have a plant fruiting that we have no idea what it is.  Once it looks ripe, we’ll cut it open and hopefully with a little detective work, we can figure it out.  We need to do a way better job of identifying our new plants, especially the unusual ones.

Our grotto is coming along nicely.  My son’s girlfriend, Mele, gave me a beautiful orchid to add to the garden.  It is a scented orchid too!  We got a few ornamental plants and a few more anthuriums.

We’re still in coffee picking season, but it’s been raining since we last picked on Sunday, so we haven’t had enough sun or dry time to get out there and pick since.  We definitely have to pick next week; rain or not, it needs to picked.  Right now we have all our racks filled in our dry house with coffee.  It’s been a little colder out, so it’s taking a little longer to dry.  The house is well insulated though, so we don’t have an issue of moldy beans this year.

 

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Coffee picking

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We’re in the heat of coffee production.  Yesterday my husband and I picked approximately 30 gallons of cherry in 5 hours.  We were super grateful it was overcast, otherwise it would’ve been painful.  A few months ago I wrote about starting the season, and how I was “excited” about picking and it being a meditation practice in its own way. Yeah, well that feeling is OVER.  Even back then I knew that “excited feeling” would pass.  We currently have about 50 trees and have started a new field with 75 more.  While they won’t be ready for a few years, in the midst of our picking, my husband and I questioned our reasoning (and our sanity) behind planting more coffee.  We do plan on doing this in our retirement, but we’re not retiring in the next two years.  We just keep telling ourselves, “it’s a season, it’s not all year round, we can do this”.  Yes, it’s awesome to have your own coffee, but it is a lot of work.  Yesterday we also packaged some of our roasted coffee, the first of our coffee this season.  This is also the first of our coffee in two years.

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In the 30 gallons of coffee beans, I only saw 4 beans that had a sign of coffee borer beetle.  4 beans!!  We are so happy.  We will continue to organically manage the pest the best we can, and hope we are able to sustain our efforts in combatting this bug.

So that 30 pounds of cherry we picked yesterday … well that was only one of our fields, we have another field to do today.  To be completely honest, I’m not looking forward to it.  But this weekend looks to be the peak of our season.  We picked a lot of coffee on the trees, so we won’t be picking as much in the coming weeks.  Although we did spot some new flowers growing on a few of the trees …

I will admit all this hard work has had its benefits, because for the first in a while, we enjoyed a cup of our very own “Kalopa Makai Farms Estate Coffee” yesterday.  There’s nothing better than that.

Citrus (and blogging)

So I’m late on this post, my goal is posting once a week.  I’m in the process of switching blog sites.  In an effort not to lose my domain name “ourhawaiifarm.com”, this process has been a major hassle and a time consuming one.  Oh, and frustrating, did I mention, extremely frustrating.  So I didn’t want to post until I could post on the new site.  Seeing as this may not happen for a few more days (or so I’ve been told), I’m just going to continue to write in a timely manner.  For those contemplating a switch, if you’re not completely savvy to this blogging world thing (which I am not) find someone to help you OR pay the extra bucks to do it an easier way.

So done with that rant, BUT be looking for a new looking site soon (crossing fingers … waiting impatiently).

Okay, now the farm.  We’re overloaded on citrus right now.  So I must make a confession.  I know I’ve mentioned this in my blog previously, although not in this context.  I’ve always been jealous of the people who have tons of citrus on their trees, BUT also a little judgmental about their lack of prompt picking – okay, a lot judgmental.  I’d often see piles of fruit on the ground wasted, and I would think that they were a bit lazy for not picking their fruit.  But now, I understand why this happens because I’m faced with the same dilemma.  Our tangerine tree became so loaded so fast it was all we could do to keep up.  I went down to the tree determined to pick all the ripe tangerines and give them to neighbors and friends just so they wouldn’t waste.  But there were plenty on the tree that had already been stung by fruit flies that were no good, not to mention the loads on the ground already fermenting.  Plus the fact that my husband and I work all week at jobs that actually pay us, we’re limited to work that is done during the week, hence limited picking time.  So never again will I question others picking practices.  I get it, I get it, sometimes there is too much of a good thing.

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In addition to tangerines, we have Meyer lemons, Tahitian limes, different types of oranges, kumquats, and ruby red grapefruit.  Some of the oranges we have were here when we bought the property.  We don’t know all the varieties that we have, but we do have caracara which are a really pretty pink side, blood oranges, and minneolas which are great for juicing.  We also have what appears to be a Ka’u orange.  This year, all of all citrus are doing well.

If you’re a backyard farmer and you can only grow one kind of citrus, hands down I would say choose a Tahitian lime.  The limes are larger than your typical lime, and turn yellow when ripe.  They’re really juicy and have a slightly sweeter taste.  They’re great, but best of all the tree fruits year round.

I’d write more, but I have a ton of oranges, and I need to get juicing!!