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?