The Local BuzzThe Local Buzz is the label under which Paradise Meadows Orchard and Bee Farm is selling their Ka’u grown coffee.
Megan Collins, owner of the single origin 100% Ka’u coffee farm, farms a total of 88 acres, 13 of which are planted in coffee trees at the 1,800 foot high elevations in rich volcanic soil above Pahala. The farm also owns acreage on South Point Road where more coffee trees as well as other fruit trees provide nectar for their bee hives. The farm also grows vegetables in an aquaponic greenhouse.
For the last seven years, Megan, with the help of family helpers Scott and Chris Buske, Lili Rodriguez and Erin Buchanan grow, harvest (with the help of hired pickers), process and dry their coffee beans to parchment and use dedicated processors to husk, sort and roast their coffee to their specifications. The label currently offers a medium and a dark roast and is experimenting at the moment with a light roast.
Although not classified organic, the farm uses only organic fertilizers and IMO (indigenous microorganisms) foliar spray and no chemical herbicides or pesticides. As Megan says, they incorporate generous amounts of sweat to keep the grass levels low and to make sure their coffee fields are nutrient rich.
The farm is receiving enough rain most of the time to maintain production but is planning of putting in an irrigation system in the near future.
No coffee berry borer beetle has been detected in any of their trees, but they are very diligent in making certain that any bags returning from the roaster is isolated and frozen for 24 hours upon return to eliminate any possible contamination. They also keep the fields clear of old berries to prevent the borer from wanting to move in.
The Local Buzz placed 3rd in the 2010 Hawaii Coffee Association cupping competition and 2nd in the Ka’u Region. The farm was selected as an Outstanding Coffee Farmer by the County of Hawaii, 2010 and elected as a Director of the Ka’u Farm Bureau and also elected as an Alternate Delegate to the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation.
When asked how she felt about being a coffee farmer, Megan replied “We love it. It’s wonderful having a product you can feel great about. And as growers we get to drink what we believe to be the best coffee in the world, roasted just the way we like it, every single day. What’s not to love?”