As we approach the Winter Solstice signaling the end of another year and harvest season, I wanted to take a moment to review some of the harvest progress through the still lifes that capture our work here at Waialua Estate.
For us, the Coffee Harvest officially commences the beginning of October.
Although there are cherries ripening on the trees from as early as mid-August, we need to be patient and wait for a heavy flush as the Waialua operation uses a Korvan mechanical harvester, and our goal is to let the coffee both ripen and turn to raisin in order to minimize the unripe fruit from being taken.
However, this year, I wanted to try something a little different and work with the crew to improve our selective hand picking techniques as well as to do some dry natural process micro lots for a couple micro roasters looking for something special. So from mid to late September we harvested several hundred lbs of ripe red to purple cherry, carefully sundried these and have been resting the batch before milling. Likely, I will roast and cup these around Christmas to see what we have. Other micro lot preparations include a bit of pulp natural honey process, and a first time Kenya process at the suggestion of our friends at Rusty’s. Looking forward to cupping those too.
The main harvest has been going slow and steady with well developed fruit yielding large beans with some nice character. We did a cupping session with Fred and crew at Downtown Coffee, and another with Shawn and friends at his kitchen laboratory in Kaimuki. Both occasions had positive results with raised eyebrows of appreciation at the unexpected strawberry jammy character of the Natural Process and the pleasingly sweet citric acidity in the Washed Process. Signs of good things to come for the 2013 Harvest!
On the other side of farm, the Winter Cacao crop has also been productive showing that the Spring and Summer pruning and maintenance are making a difference. We have seen good yield and pod development, healthy leafy trees, strong flowering and a broad fruit set with positive signs for the Spring / Summer harvest. The keiki cacao trees are also coming along nicely and we have planted some 2500 new trees this year in both the Waialua and Helemano orchards. Give it 2-3 years and we will see the fruits of these labors in higher yields which means more chocolate!
It has been a productive year, the elements were in our favor with enough sunshine and rain to keep the trees healthy and happy and the workers safe . We are thankful for this and for the support of friends and family and all the people who believe in what we are doing at Waialua Estate. And so, in these final days of December, we take a moment to catch our breath for the final push, to reflect on our good fortune and wish you all Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Best wishes for the coming year. Aloha from Waialua