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Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs June 5, 2024

Matt Baker and Vance Bjorn, of Silicon Valley Coffee, hear the history of R&G Coffee and the evolution of Kaʻū Coffee after sugar plantation days, as they visit with Bong Aquino, who farms 27 acres, mostly by himself. Photo by Julia Neal

KA'U COFFEE FARMS OPENED UP TO VISITORS ON WEDNESDAY, with growers sharing their stories of creating their successful enterprises and coming from many different backgrounds. Bong Aquino came out of agriculture in Kaʻū and remembered the days of the sugar plantation shutting down. He and
The Kudos on the former Bull Kailiawa
farm in Cloud Rest. Photo by Julia Neal
Gloria Camba created R&G Farms and Aquino takes care of their 27 acres, mostly by himself, hiring help for picking and some pruning. He told visitors that he has a good life working on the quiet farm in Pear Tree, with the extraordinary mountain and ocean views, among rows of Norfolk pines, banana and palm trees. 
    He said he has rejected offers to sell his Ka'u Coffee
 to Kona and wants to protect the Kaʻū Coffee brand.
     Kaʻū Coffee grower Ray Kudo talked about growing up in Pahala and leaving for a long time to build a career as an executive with ABC stores. He and his wife Norma both worked there, with Ray running the stores in Kona and the Island of Kaua'i. After their retirement, they couldn't keep still and decided to shift to an entire new way of life. They bought the former farm of the late Kaʻū Coffee grower Bull Kailiawa and built a small house on the property. Their acreage at Cloud Rest sits under the mountain peak. They said they love the peace and quiet and enjoy the steady work maintaining their farm.
    They also own a condo on Ali'i Drive in Kona but say that 90 percent of their time is spent in the quiet countryside where they grow not only coffee but a good deal of fresh vegetables for themselves and their friends. Ray Kudo's daughter recently graduated from Harvard University.

Pops from A Farm along the old sugar cane road between Pahala and  Na'alehu visits other Kaʻū Coffee farms to celebrate 
their success during Kaʻū Coffee Festival Week. Photo by Julia Neal

THE SOUTHWEST RIFT ZONE ERUPTION REMAINED PAUSED ON WEDNESDAY. On Tuesday, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists visited the area to take measurements of the previous day's lava flows. They examined part of the lava flow from fissure 2. Note that none of the lava flow is as tall as the geologist; similar to the December 1974 eruption from the same area on Kīlauea, the eruption of June 3 produced extremely thin Pāhoehoe flows. This contrasts with other recent eruptions like that at Pu‘u‘ō‘ō on Kīlauea's East Rift Zone between 1983 and 2018, where Pāhoehoe flows sometimes inflated to tens of meters in thickness. M. Zoeller of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory took this photo.

KA'U DESERT REMAINS CLOSED TO VISITORS FOLLOWING THIS WEEK'S VOLCANIC ERUPTION. Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park reported Wednesday that Kaʻaha has reopened and is accessible by Puna Coast Trail.
    Kaʻū Desert area remains temporarily closed due to volcanic gases from Kīlauea that are hazardous to everyone. Closures include Kaʻū Desert, Footprints, Hilina Pali Road, Kulanaokuaiki Campground, Pepeiao Cabin and Maunaiki Trail.
    Although the eruption that started Monday is over for now, the vent is still glowing and degassing. The eruption covered about 88 acres in this remote area, located 2.5 miles southwest of Kīlauea caldera. Steady plumes of gas were seen Wednesday morning, wafting upward and downwind of the fissures.
     According to USGS, unrest remains high. Tremor is still present, glow could still be seen from the fissures over Tuesday night, with active degassing of SO2 (sulfur dioxide) still occurring. Changes in the character and location of unrest can occur quickly, as can the potential for the eruption to restart at the same fissures or in a new area, reported Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

Plumes of volcanic gas are expelled from a vent and drift skyward and laterally along a ground fissure. Image taken
 from Uēkahuna overlook west. NPS Photo by S. Stucker