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Thursday, May 12, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, May 12, 2022

Ka'alaiki Road is closed, cutting off the emergency evacuation route above Highway 11 and limiting access to Kaʻū Coffee
 farms, ranches and homes, due to a sinkhole about 1.5 miles above Pāhala. Photo by Julia Neal

THE CLOSURE OF KA'ALAIKI, THE OLD CANE HAUL ROAD, mauka of Hwy 11 between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu, is not only making it more difficult for Kaʻū Coffee farmers and ranchers to go between village and farm, it is blocking the public emergency evacuation route above Highway 11. The public is directed by the police department to use Ka'alaiki Road when there are brush fires and accidents along Highway 11. Ka'alaiki Road was closed by the county on Thursday, until repairs can be made, after a 2-ft wide, 4-ft. long, 8-ft. deep sinkhole was discovered about 1.5 miles above Pāhala
    Kaʻū Coffee farmer and rancher Phil Becker said he is in communication with Hawai'i County Public Works director Ikaika Rodenhurst who promises to help resolve the situation. One challenge is the ownership of Ka'alaiki Road. Becker said former Mayor Harry Kim told him and rancher Al Galimba years ago that Ka'alaiki is a "road in limbo," meaning that no one entity owns it. It is owned by property owners on both sides along its path between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu
Cones in the foreground are at the location of the sinkhole on Ka'alaiki Road.
Signage barricades block traffic from the Nāʻālehu side. Photo by Julia Neal
     Becker said that part of the larger ongoing discussion is the need to regularly fix potholes and pave sections of the road to make it safe. Becker wrote to the county last October to ask for maintenance and warning that the road is full of potholes, its sides overgrown and "dangerous to navigate. Drivers are dodging potholes... It's an accident waiting to happen." He stated that Ray Mizuno, in charge of maintaining county roads in Ka'u in the past, "did a fantastic job of refreshing the road and maintaining it in safe condition." However the maintenance has been lacking in recent years, said Becker. He noted that in December of 2015, he and Galimba put up $10,000, as did County Council member for Kaʻū, Maile David, with her county funding. The funding was used to fix potholes and cut overhanging trees and and grass, including ongoing maintenance until money ran out, said Becker.
     Becker followed up with another letter on April 7, before the sinkhole appeared, and again Wednesday and Thursday with phone calls to the county. He said the pot holes are worse and noted that agricultural land has been subdivided along Ka'alaiki Road and more people are likely to travel the road in the near future to their homes, ranches and farms.
With land being cleared for more farms and farmhouses along Ka'alaiki Road, road maintenance is a priority, say ranchers and farmers. The county does not own Ka'alaiki, a road in limbo, but shut it down on Thursday until repairs can be made to fill a sinkhole. Ka'alaiki also serves as the emergency evacuation route when Hwy 11 is closed between Pāhala and Nāʻālehu
Photo by Julia Neal
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at. www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

PROOF OF COFFEE ORIGIN TO REDUCE COUNTERFEITING IN THE INDUSTRY IS THE PLAN OF HAWAI'I COFFEE ASSOCIATION and its partner Oritain, according to a statement from Hawai'i Coffee Association Executive Director Chris Manfredi on Thursday. "Relying on the tenets of science, HCA has inked an agreement with product traceability company Oritain to build a statewide 'Origin Fingerprint' database to verify the origins of Hawai'i-grown coffee," says the HCA statement.
   Oritain will explain its technology for certifying  and other Hawaiian coffees at 12:45 p.m., Saturday, May 21 during the 2022 HCA conference at the Outrigger Kona Resort & Spa in Keauhou-Kona. Oritain will also display at the conference's trade show and is an event sponsor. Also during the conference, Kaʻū Coffee farmers will find out the winners in the statewide annual cupping contest.
      Oritain was founded in 2008 in New Zealand, and expanded to London, Switzerland, and Australia. On May 3, it announced its first U.S. office in Washington, D.C. Oritain markets itself as the global leader in scientifically proving the origin of products. Its verification underpins brands’ claims around product quality and sustainability, giving them the confidence to communicate these benefits to stakeholders and consumers. Clients include Alliance for Coffee Excellence, Kering, beef, lamb, pork, salmon, honey and apple enterprises, and fiber sources such as COTTON USA and Wools of New Zealand.
     Manfredi, who for many years has locally brokered Kaʻū Coffee and helped organize the Kaʻū Coffee Festival, said, "This partnership will allow us to sample green and roasted coffee to prove its origin. The effort will build Hawai'i coffee traceability and integrity. It is designed to thwart counterfeiting and build marketability. It's important to the industry and consumers to know where coffee is grown and in the case of counterfeiting, where it is not grown. Coffee counterfeiting is the bane of Hawaii-grown coffee. It represents unfair competition to Hawaii's growers. It undermines our pricing and the generations of growers who have contributed to the exceptional quality associated with Hawaii's brands." 
     Oritain uses scientific testing to measure a product's stable isotopes and trace elements to verify origin. The methodology originated in the criminal forensic field and has since been peer-reviewed in scientific journals over the last two decades, says the HCA statement.
    How it Works: A product's origin can be identified by measuring the chemical compositions of plants and animals that vary naturally in the environment. As something is grown, reared or made, it absorbs a unique ratio of elements and isotopes depending on the local temperature, altitude, precipitation, soil conditions, fertilizer and farm practices.
    Oritain runs this data through its statistical models to produce an Origin Fingerprint that it then uses to test subsequent samples as they move through the supply chain. Any samples that are inconsistent with the Origin Fingerprint, have likely been adulterated.
    "Our Hawai'i coffee industry is excited about this project and its possibilities for the future," adds Manfredi. "It will build product trust and boost marketability."
    Oritain CEO Grant Cochrane said, "Hawai'i-grown coffee has earned a world-renowned reputation for its specialty status, farming practices and flavor profile. It is coffee that is unrivaled from anywhere else in the world. However, with such a strong reputation, brings a temptation to cheat by substituting coffee from
other origins and labelling it as Hawaiian. This partnership marks a significant step in deterring this type of behavior by protecting the integrity and reputation of an important specialty crop."
Ka'u Coffee farmers will compete in a statewide cupping
 contest, the results revealed at next week's HCA conference.
    In addition to the Oritain presentation, the May 19-21 HCA conference offers educational opportunities, interactive workshops on cupping, roasting and field-grafting; plus talks on soil health, on-farm technology and updates on the latest industry research and legislative issues. 
    Register for the conference at https://hawaiicoffeeassoc.org/page-1771716 . Sponsorship and trade show exhibitor opportunities are available and silent auction donations are welcome.
    Major sponsors of the HCA Conference include state Department of Agriculture, Oritain, American AgCredit, FedEx, Honolulu Coffee Company, Kaua'i Coffee Company, Kona Hills, Monarch Coffee, Satake, Savor Brands, Sustainable Agro Solutions, TricorBraun Flex and UCC Hawai'i.
    The statement from the organization says, "The Hawai'i Coffee Association's mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawai'i coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA's primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawai'i-grown coffees. A major component of HCA's work is the continuing education of members and consumers."
    Learn more about the HCA at http://www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org/.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at. www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

Flyer for Kahuapono 2022 Student Enrichment Program.
Image from Three Mountain Alliance.
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE FOR KAHUAPONO STUDENT ENRICHMENT PROGRAM by Friday, May 13. This two-week program from June 27-July 8 is based in Keauhou, Kaʻū and will engage students in hands-on activities, service projects, and observation and reflection activities grounded in mālama ʻāina. Students must be in 6th-12th grade when applying. For an application, go to:

LANDSCAPING WITH NATIVE HAWAIIAN PLANTS on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus led by instructor Zach Mermel of Ola Design Group. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll interact first-hand with a variety of native plants found throughout Hawai’i and learn how to integrate these plant allies into your home ecosystem. Class fee is $35/$30 for VAC members. To register, call (808) 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org/events/.

KAHUKU COFFEE TALK: ʻUAʻU: THE ENDANGERED HAWAIIAN PETREL on Saturday, May 14 from 9:30 - 11 a.m. at Kahuku Unit Visitor Center. Coffee Talk at Kahuku is an opportunity to get to know your Park and your neighbors, and join an informal conversation on a wide variety of topics on the second Saturday of every month. Entrance located south of the 70.5 mile marker on the mauka side of Hwy 11.
Flyer for Coffee Talk at Kahuku: 'Ua'u, The Endangered
Hawaiian Petrel. Image from Kahuku Unit,
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

See The Ka'ū Calendar May edition at
www.kaucalendar.com, on newsstands and in the mail.\