Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Different Kind of Work Week.

So I'm sure that my daughter is getting tired of standing there as she has the past two weeks.  Well I've been busy.  It's with some reluctance that I report on where I was the week before, as I used to snicker when others said they were going there to "work".  Well I got tapped for some "work" on a trip to Kauai with Troy.  We do have some fertilizer accounts over there, and it was time for a visit to see how things are performing, and to try and get an increase in AgroLiquid use over there.  I'm sure that many who have made it over on the Research Trip in January know of this place.  It's Kauai Coffee, the nation's largest grower and producer of coffee, which they market under that name.  We actually sell it in our company store which is open to the public, and it moves very quickly.  Anyway, their gift store was packed as usual.  I had to wait for a while to take this pic with no one in it.  We met with their agronomists and introduced  some new product options which they will use in the future.
Here is some of the coffee that has been on the AgroLiquid program.  Looks as good as any coffee should.  It was a beautiful site.  You go Liquid!    
 Here is Troy out with a couple of the agronomists, Bronson and Jon.  Everyone seems to like what they see.
Here is the drip line that brings the AgroLiquid to the coffee plants.  The fertilizer recipe is changed each month due to the shifting nutrient demands of the plants throughout the year.  But Liquid has been able to meet the demand as it is the only fertilizer source used here.
Down to the roots and up into the plant where the coffee beans are produced.  These are the beans that will be harvested later this fall.  They said this looks like a pretty heavy crop.  I couldn't agree more. (I tried, but I couldn't.)
We also saw some corn that was experiencing some micronutrient deficiencies.  We sent some different fertilizers that should correct this.  We want green corn only.
One sad issue that is really causing problems for some of the agricultural business of the island is the anti-GMO stance by what I believe to be a very vocal minority.  There are several hybrid seed companies on the island to take advantage of the year-round growing conditions in order to develop new parent lines for new seed traits.  Such traits are developed through gene introduction or GMO technology.  There is no credible evidence that any of it is a threat to humans. Nor are the traits expressed in the harvested kernals, just the leaves. Well people not in the know are equating this to vile pesticides and a threat to humanity.  There were daily letters to the editor in the Garden Island newspaper telling of what a threat this is to people.  There have been protest marches on company farms in Oahu.  In fact, there are now fences, gates and guards at seed farms here in Kauai.  No longer can you just go in and visit.  One company person said that they encourage employees not to wear company logo shirts into towns as some of their vehicles have been "keyed". This change has really escalated since I was last there a few months ago.  The anti-GMO protesters can't be reasoned with. They don't care that with 9 billion people on Earth by 2050 that food production per acre must increase, as there is not going to be more farm land available.  They are able to produce corn with increased yield potential. They don't care that GMO traits enable considerably less insecticides and herbicides applied.  They don't want any ag chemical applications at all, on this island or anywhere. Organic only. (And the funny thing is, the Bt protein, from a naturally occurring bacteria, that is part of the GMO corn that kills worms only if they eat part of the root or leaf, is actually the same Bt product that is an organically approved insecticide called Dipel. It's an old product.  But it's organically labelled.  Go figure.)  And so if they get their way they are making death sentences to millions who won't have any food.  But it was refreshing to see this "editorial" on this private farm of some sort.  There are some sane people.  You can't reason with the protesters, but even they should read this.  Stay tuned.  It will get real interesting. 
Anyway, later we went and visited an old friend, one that I hadn't seen for over six years.  One of the activities on the research tour was to go out to the Cassell farm at the base of Waimea Canyon. Jim Cassell used to work with Mr. Cook on a variety of research plots there.  Bananas, papayas, cucumbers, lettuce, and more.  Sadly, the last visit there was in 2008, as Jim passed away later that year. He is missed.  Hopefully many of the blog readers will remember these visits.  Well his wife Ruth is still there and was actually very happy to see Troy and me.  Here is their beautiful house, still as nice as ever. 
And here is the view from that porch.  We used to park our cars out on that lawn and sample good eats such as different varieties of bananas grown there.  This is at the base of Waimea Canyon.  There is a trail there that you can follow clear up into the canyon.  Hikers and people on horses come through daily.
Ruth is doing very well and showed us around the beautiful grounds.  There isn't much food production these days.  But one of her sons keeps the place looking great.  We talked about the great days when Mr. Cook and her husband would grow all sorts of things on the property.  It was sad, but a happy memory.
 The old sign is still there.  We would take a picture of the group in front of this sign on the visits there.  Of course the group was much smaller then.
 And here is the greenhouse that Mr. Cook had built and grew cucumbers and lettuce here.
And one of the Papaya trees.
So that was fun.  One of the many things on my blog to-do list is to find some of the old pictures that I have somewhere of earlier visits there of Mr. Cook and Jim showing me around.  Like in 1995.  I could post those in a future blog recalling those memorable times.  That was pre-digital, so I will need a rope and helmet flashlight to find them.  We did more business stuff, but this is the reportable part.  But we had some fun too, and that will be next.  Aloha, ya'll.