This past year has certainly been like no other. On the one hand, I feel extremely blessed, to be living in rural Kona with never-ending projects around the hame and farm. Toni and I have also maintained our weekly ritual of going down to Honaunau to take out our 2-man outrigger canoe, and I can maintain my feeling of independence by cycling down one day to take out my single canoe. Because of no tourists, the roads, beaches and the waters are reminiscent of the 1970s, when I first arrived in Kona. This is paradise. Each time I go out, I am awestruck by the beauty and how fortunate I am to be here.
On the other hand, there are challenges. My vision continues to fade, and I feel like I am farming by Braille! I will soon be turning 71. Although I am still healthy, I am just not sure I want to continue working the coffee business in the same way.
This last year we have had an inordinate amount of rain, with virtually no dry season last winter. The coffee failed to recognize the spring showers as a time they should all flower, and there was no flush of flowers, or “Kona snow.” So the harvest this year is, putting it mildly, terrible. Toni and our daughter Greta have pledged to try and pick everything that is there (with the pandemic, pickers are even more scarce than usual), but it is not going to be near enough, even for my faithful monthly customers. Also, since the ground has been so saturated the lateral roots on many trees have rotted, and these robust 40 year old trees just fall over. It is heartbreaking. This is not the way I wanted to retire.
As of November 1, this will unfortunately be my last monthly shipment. Right now we have NO available coffee (we have only picked about 4 bags of coffee cherry this year) and it has not finished drying or processing. Even we are not able to drink our own coffee, which is so sad! I really don’t mind calls, or an email asking about availability in the future. I will make sure that we announce it on our website also.
Right now I have a chance to buy a neighbor’s coffee, but not sure where that will lead. Again, if we have coffee available, we will post it on our website.
The price I can sell green coffee for is so high it isn’t worth the time and effort I put into roasting, bagging and shipping. This morning I asked two of my neighbors their prices for a pound and it was $32.00 and $35.00
Whatever I decide, Decembers coffee will not be happening. I do understand it’s a lot of money to spend on coffee. I continue to believe it is the best available. I cannot express strongly enough my gratitude for your continued support all these years.
I do believe everything is bound to be better next year. This last month has been much drier already than any period during the previous twelve months. So it might be a sign of better times ahead.
We hope this letter finds you safe and healthy, and coping with the challenges of 2020 as best as you can. Again, we truly appreciate your business and loyalty. Do keep in touch.
With aloha, Toni and Wil
Aloha from Lehualani Farm!
Pele has stopped erupting, and we have clear blue skies, no vog, and drop-dead gorgeous sunsets. We have also had plenty of rain, so the coffee trees are very happy. Last year with the epic eruption on the Puna side of the island, we had lots of vog and ash which caused a much smaller than usual coffee harvest, but this year is expected to make up for it. We’re in good health and even though Wil’s vision is worsening (he has been legally blind since birth), he is learning how to farm by braille!
We appreciate our long-time customers, and welcome new ones who find us, or hear about us through friends. The farm makes for a lovely tour with Wil’s green thumb and love of tropical flowers, so if you are on the island, give us a call and we’ll show you around.
Mahalo from Farmer Wil and his lovely wife, Toni
Thank you for visiting our website!
Aloha, Wil & Toni Friesen