Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our New Retail Partner in the Aloha State

 So you've read in the past blogs about how AgroLiquid is used by Kauai Coffee. Not on all of the acres, but quite a few.  They indicated that they like to work with a Hawaiian company for nutrients for most of the acres.  They like to work with the locals, can't blame them for that.  And in the past we have had fertilizer used by seed company research on the island and elsewhere, but there is high turnover there and as soon as one guy gets on board, he's gone back to the mainland.  So the best way to sell fertilizer here, and anywhere, is to have a local dealer. So I am happy to announce that there is now an AgroLiquid Retail Partner in Hawaii.  I had known about them for some time, and made contact over a year ago, and the agreement was signed in late November by...BEI Hawaii. Their main office is in Honolulu, and they started in Hawaii as a guano (look it up) company back in 1890 and have grown to be a supplier of crop protection and nutrients for all of Hawaii.  Now add AgroLiquid to their offerings.

So a couple weeks ago I was having breakfast with their manager on Kauai, Eli Pablo, and he got a phone call.  It seems that our ISO tanker was being delivered to Kauai Coffee that very morning.  He asked if I wanted to go see it.  I swallowed my last bite of eggs and said "let's go."  It was the first order being delivered by BEI as a Retail Partner and we got there as their truck entered the tank yard with 4300 gallons of High NRG-N and Sure-K.  It had been picked up off the boat at the harbor in Nawiliwili, and brought here.  It had started out at our plant in Stockton, CA and put on a boat in Oakland. I had worked with Kauai Coffee for several years, and this was the first opportunity to see an ISOtanker delivered.
 They liked our modern tank.  It looked nice, but was already out of style now that we are AgroLiquid with a new logo and all.  So a new paint job is needed.  And all I had was a green Sharpie, so I decided to wait for professionals.
 Here is the tank yard where the AgroLiquid fertilizer is stored...but just for a short while.  You can see the mill in the background that we toured in the last blog post.  Those towers are used to dry the beans by the way.
 And from the tanks it is hauled to the fields to run through the drip lines on the wonderful coffee trees.
So I'm looking forward to working with our new Retail Partner BEI Hawaii and expanding the use of AgroLiquid.  Eli and their General Manager Carolyn from Honolulu were at our banquet.  It was pointed out that they were already in Hawaii, so maybe their sales reward trip will have to be to Michigan in January.  Now that is some incentive.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

AgroLiquid's Pacific Adventure. Part 2.

 So every morning there was a beautiful sunrise. Sunrise this time of year was around 7:20.  That's a.m.

So the activities continue, and on this day we visited Kauai Coffee.  It is not only the largest coffee grower in the U.S. with 3000 acres, but also the only one that uses AgroLiquid (so far.)  It is a great partnership as all of the fertilizer is run through drip line irrigation.  I have shown this in the past. The coffee on the big island of Hawaii is not irrigated.  But we will study on it.  We split into groups to visit the mill where the harvested coffee beans are processed for roasting.
With our heads suitably protected, we entered the mill.  This was my first mill visit, and I will say that I had no idea how complicated the processing operation is.  There are so many steps.  I thought you just picked them, ground them up and roasted it....brew and drink.  Wrong!
Here is some of the equipment.  This is for the de-pulping process, among other things.  Interestingly, all of this equipment is made in the country of Costa Rica, seeing as there isn't much of a demand in the U.S. for coffee processing equipment to be made here.
 At some point, the beans are sorted on this shaker table.  They are sorted by weight, with the heavier and higher quality beans going down the right side.  Just about all beans are used, but they are graded differently.  
There was lot's more that we saw, but then went over to the visitor center where we were met by Greg Williams who is the orchard manager.  He is the one that I deal with about fertilizer.  (He is wearing his LIQUID hat.  I will have to get them AgroLiquid hats now.)  And on the right is Bronson Yadao, who is in charge of running the irrigation and orchard scouting. They are both very nice and like AgroLiquid. Greg talked about the growth and harvest of coffee.  They are just finishing harvest now, and there is a harvester in the background which they demonstrated.  Actually they are blueberry harvesters from Michigan.  Harvesting the two plants is very similar.  Small world. 
It's no secret that we serve and sell Kauai Coffee in our office.  Here is the nice sign in the lobby next to the coffee urns full of coffee that we have every day.
That evening was the AgroLiquid banquet.  It was a quite an event with appetizers (you know what they call "appetizers" in Hawaii don't you?), a delicious buffet dinner and live music....all right by the ocean.
 Part of the pre-dinner entertainment was a show from this hula school.  You have to start young and they gave a good show.  
Here are some of the happy eaters.  Visiting and eating fish, fowl and beef all by the ocean can't be beat.
 The next day was an opportunity to visit our friend Ben who owns the Kauai Eco-Sporting Clays shooting range.  You wouldn't normally think of shooting clays during a visit to Kauai, but it's a lot of fun.  And Ben is a great instructor as he gives pointers to Ron from the NCRS.  This is the top rated activity in Kauai on Trip Advisor.  So don't go to Kauai without a visit, as nearly 40 of our group did that day.
 And near the range is the beautiful and famous Wailua Falls.  Still going strong.
 Much of Kauai's history involves the growing of sugarcane.  But after over a hundred and fifty years, sugarcane farming ended in the early 1990's.  I remember seeing it all over, but no more, due to cost. It's a long boat ride to the mainland compared to sugarcane in LA and FL (and South America), plus sugarbeets.  The last crop of sugarcane in all of Hawaii will be harvested this year in Maui.

But we took a trip to the Grove Farm that was started in 1864 by George N. Wilcox.  He was born in Hawaii and had an engineering degree from Yale.  Well what made him successful was developing canals that could bring water from the wet mountains to this dry part of the island.  I read that sugarcane requires 2000 pounds of water for one pound of sugar.  George made the Grove Farm very successful up until his death in 1933.  And being the son of Missionaries, he was very generous.  In fact he built the Nawiliwili Harbor with his own money and allowed anyone to use it.  It is still an important shipping harbor today and it is where the AgroLiquid tanks come in and go out of.
This is the rain gauge that George would check every day so that he could determine how much water to bring down for the sugarcane fields.  I really admire these early pioneers that were so smart to figure out all of this without computers and such.
 This is the plantation house that was built in the 1800's.  It was still lived in by some of the Wilcox family through the 1980's before becoming part of the foundation museum.
 Here is the library.  See those big bowls?  They are made of Koa and each values in the thousands of dollars.  And the room is full of old historical books.  The guide said that they decided to keep the books here since the temperature and breeze kept the storage correct.  They still treat the pages annually for prevention of bug damage.  And there was actually a log from Captain Cook who "discovered" the islands back in the 1770's.
 Well after all of this fun and learning, the week sped by and it was time to say farewell to the Kauai Beach Resort...and head back home.
 But before signing off...I want to acknowledge my friend and loyal blog reader, Jerry Cordell, who won a prize on the first day breakfast for actually knowing the name of my blog.  I'm sure everyone else was just too shy to stand up and say "Land of Liquid".  But not Jerry.  Evidently smart guys are named "Jerry". 
But doesn't everyone who reads this get a prize of their own?  

Monday, January 18, 2016

AgroLiquid's Pacific Adventure, Part 1.

So I've been out the past couple weeks...out in the ocean in Hawaii.  Or more specifically Kauai, the Garden Island.  Well I was fortunate to be able to accompany the group of Retail Partners who had qualified for a trip, or Research Trip as it is called.  Additionally there were some growers and other personnel from AgroLiquid.  (I will say that ownership is generous enough such that at some point all employees have an opportunity to go.  And go again too.)  So anyway, there were over 100 people in the AgroLiquid group at the beautiful Kauai Beach Resort.  In fact, we have been coming to this particular resort for 20 years now.  Besides, the Spartans, Cowboys and even the Sooners had all lost their bowl games, so forget about that and enjoy the sun.

On the first morning there is an orientation breakfast.  I was describing the upcoming adventures that people had signed up for in advance.  I usually don't show pictures of myself in the blog, but I really like this Aloha shirt and admittedly don't wear it much, or at all, in Michigan.
The first adventure required no advance sign up...the annual climb of the Sleeping Giant mountain. It is over 1000 feet elevation at the top, and the trail is around 3 miles.  You can see him laying down and sleeping here in this pic from the beach near the resort.  His head is on the left, and we call that sharp pointy part a little way down the chin.  The head and chin are the goal.  
We left at 8 am and there was a pretty large group of 22 climbers.  Everyone is clean and smiling now.  Nearly all were first timers.
It's a pretty good incline.  It's not all like this here, but you have to be careful.  No one wants to be carried down injured, and no one wants to carry someone who is injured down either.  As casualties with AgroLiquid.
 Up towards the top, Troy and Darrel yell at me for being slow.
Up on the chin.  Don't look down.  It's a shear 1000 foot drop.  (Well probably only 7 or 800 feet, but the result is probably the same.)  But most have to get up and pose.  I usually don't show pictures of myself in the blog, but's the Chin!  Plus I had on the new dri-fit AgroLiquid shirt.
The view is fantastic.  This is looking back towards Mt. Waialeale (say it just like it's spelled.)  It is reported to be the wettest place on earth.  There is a crater on the other side, and a rain gauge on top at 5150 feet.  It averages 452" of rain a year, with 683" in 1982.
 This is looking up the coast to the North.  Now I was here the previous week with family and climbed it then too.  But Galynn had to be the King of Climbers having climbed it four times during the week.  Overachiever.
Later that day there was a special event for the Platinum performers and Ring of Excellence Retail Partners. It was a tour of the Na Aina Kai botanical garden.  It was developed by a wealthy couple and is now managed by their foundation.  But there are acres of beautiful tropical plants and a large collection of metal statues of all sorts scattered around.  Like the one in the picture below.  We split into small tour groups to see the place.  Very impressive.
Galynn seems to have lost something at the top of this cool Rainbow Eucalyptus tree.  I usually don't show pictures of Galynn in the blog, but he looked needy.
 We got to see several albatross nests.  Well there isn't much to the nests, but they stand guard over the single egg.  Only one egg a year, but they live a long time so have opportunity for a number of offspring.
This is the view off the bluff near the albatross nests, still at the botanical garden.  (Insert own adjectives here.)
Well the week was just getting started, but this is a good place to break for now.