We followed a truck smelling of pungent coffee cherries* south on Highway 11 and into
on a busy day.
A half a dozen visitors—my husband and I included—trail Gina, tour guide, around the Kealakekua farm on Big Island like chicks behind a mother hen.
On the drying deck, two workers rake parchment** that maybe 24 hours before had been hanging plump on a tree.
One of the 800-some coffee farmers*** in the Kona coffee district pulls up in his truck and parks. He heaves one burlap bag of cherries—hand-picked, just like all coffee in the 21-mile-by-two-mile Kona coffee belt—onto the scales. The digital readout flashes 117.
The 39th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival officially kicked off last night with a lantern parade on Ali'i Drive in downtown Kailua-Kona. For the next 9 days, the event will celebrate all things coffee with samplings, farm tours, dinners, a cupping competition, a coffee picking contest, art exhibit, fun run, parades and more.
In anticipation, last week, I toured a couple Kona coffee farms on Big Island. The opening paragraphs above recount my tour of Greenwell Farms. To read the rest of the story, click here.