We were a little apprehensive about this farmstay because we'd had such an amazing time at Earth Matters and we'd been hearing that coffee and mac nut farms weren't exactly the most exciting places to work. But we really did want to learn anything we could about Kona coffee, and even if it wasn't exciting work we figured that at this point we could do just about anything for 24 days. Plus, this farm was really close to the best snorkeling spots on the island and we would have our own private space.
We were there during the off-season so unfortunately, the farm work was especially unexciting. (Hurrah!) Patrick actually spent most of his time helping with construction jobs. This work probably prepped us for the coming months of helping our parents with house repairs, so we really can't complain.
(Also? We were living for free in a beautiful flat with a gorgeous view, in Hawaii, in February/March while everyone else in the country got pummeled by snowmageddon. We really can't complain.)
I pitched in with the construction work when absolutely necessary but I was much more interested in being around the plants - no matter how tedious the farm work might be.
So I spent a few days pruning coffee trees. The process is surprisingly like pruning grape vines; given our prior vineyard experiences this made the work go quickly despite the rocky, uneven paths and the treacherous weaving and bobbing that was required in order to dodge the bazillion crab spider webs.
to be pruned in a few months -
have to determine the strongest spurts first
(see? just like grape vines!)
from barely showing...
... to "Kona snow" practically overnight
... and from flowers come coffee beans
(eventually - these were leftover from the last harvest)
(first bag free with 20-hour work commitment!)
Anyone else would've been bored to tears with this task but honestly, I really enjoyed my time with the trees and the songbirds and the iTunes and the occasional wandering chicken.
Patrick, Lila (the other HelpXer) and I also spent about three full days husking macadamia nuts.
step 1: hurl giant burlap sack of mac nuts onto husker
step 2: wait while machine does its thing
(the debris will also be coffee tree mulch)
But it was loud and tedious work and we were glad when we were done.
And now for the not-so-tedious fun stuff about our farmstay...
In addition to coffee and mac nuts, Larry's farm has an abundance of trees that produce ginormous fruit. We enjoyed all of this very much.
ginormous lemons and
ginormous piles of tangerines
ginormous cups of roasted cacao
(incidentally, this is what a cacao looks like inside)
(and incidentally, avocado and cacao make awesome pudding)
ginormous buckets of jaboticaba from Larry's friend
Larry also showed us how to make kombucha.
Patrick is now hooked...
Jen is still not sold
And we had three adorable farm kitties to keep us company during down time. They had real names but we could never remember them, so the super-friendly kitty was "Skinny," the mostly-friendly one was "Chubster," and the super-skittish one was "Mama."
(in that order)
(kitty not included)
We worked hard during our stay but we definitely enjoyed some play time too. Larry was great about driving us to local snorkeling spots and even lent us gear. More on that later...
In summary: definitely glad we had this opportunity; don't need to work on a coffee or macadamia nut farm ever again.
thanks, Larry! (and Lila!) -
the blur represents our combined level of fatigue that day
Next up: Big Island "vacation" and then the mainland... Gulp.