It’s a great day to be up in the hillside of Kaanapali Coffee Farm Estates where MauiGrown Coffee tends 500 acres of Arabica coffee trees. It’s also the location of private agricultural home lots and a special 5-acre island estate owned by the Amadon family.
From this perch you have uninterrupted views of the islands of Lanai and Molokai floating in the Pacifc Ocean beyond the rolling rows of coffee trees. Each home lot is part of the working farm.
Homeowners Roger and Joyce Amadon have invited the Maui Farm Tours folks into their home for lunch on the lanai as part of the second annual Kaanapali Fresh (#KFresh13) Kaanapali Coffee Tour. The home resembles a plantation manager estate from the early 1900s with an expansive lanai for shaded outdoor entertaining in Maui’s perfect weather.
Today’s group of 75 meets the family and learns about their garden that grows just about everything year round. Robust limes, Meyer lemons, oranges, tangerines, bananas, avocado and papaya were bursting on the trees.
MauiGrown Coffee co-owner/farmer and sixth generation Lahaina, Maui boy, Kimo Falker, has been in ag all his life. He started growing coffee in 2003 and now harvests 3 million pounds of cherry, or half million pounds of ground coffee beans each year. The four coffee varietals grown are Red Catuai, Yellow Caturra, Typica and the popular Maui Mokka.
The land the farm is on was formerly in sugar cane, so the rows were already established and the fields are fed with 100 percent drip irrigation from nearly century old ditches bringing water down through the valleys.
“Hawaii is the only state growing coffee in the U.S., and we’re the only farm on Maui producing commercial coffee,” said Faulkner. “You can grow anything in Hawaii. You just can’t grow anything economically in Hawaii.” MauiGrown Coffee’s use of mechanical pickers make it possible to keep the land in agriculture when manual harvest costs would price them right out of business.
From Farm to Cup then Chef
Master Chef Christian Jorgenson runs CJ’s Deli & Diner, his restaurant at the base of the hillside in Kaanapali Resort. He is from Denmark and tells the group that Scandinavians cook many dishes with coffee. He was sure to have a surprise for them.
Chef Christian’s own food philosophy is farm to table, so it was easy to see and taste the farm in the menu he served: Kamuela tomatoes stuffed with mozzarella balls, Kula greens, endive and drizzled with olive oil and a 50-year-old balsamic; an organic Molokai sweet potato and ginger bisque; and risotto with portabella mushrooms, brussel sprouts, zucchini, corn and green beans.
A beautiful cheese and fruit multi-board was highlighted on the buffet. Chef Christian handmade both goat cheese and mozzarella, forming the mozzarella and dipping it into Grand Marnier and walnuts, and topping it with sliced Maui mango. The cheeses were accompanied by Maui fruit including dragon fruit, mango, strawberries, bananas and pineapple.
The perfect ending to a meal in the middle of a coffee farm? Chef’s coffee cake of course.
There are perks to be had living so close to the source.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of coffee in Hawaii. First planted on Oahu by Don Francisco de Paula Marin in 1813, coffee has become an important part of island culture. It is currently cultivated on all the major islands; about 6300 acres are in production statewide. There are about 40 farms in Maui County that produce coffee.