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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

About The Author

Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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Sunday
Oct242010

Short Hikes from Hale O Nanakai B&B: The Coffee Fields

Walk to the end of Nanakai Road and take a left on Waha. Continue to the end where you will see a soccer field on the left. Just in front of a "Neighborhood Watch" sign there is a path through the tall cane grass. On the other side of the grass you will step back into time and view Kauai as it once appeared in the plantation days.

Follow the dusty road toward the ocean past neat rows of coffee plants, noted by their glossy green leaves and fat yellow to red berries. Wildlife abounds -- watch for ring-necked pheasant in the underbrush. At the first intersection continue down along a row of Cook Island pines but take the second dirt road to the left. It will dead end into a beautiful pond where ducks, (specifically native Hawaiian "coot" ducks), bull frogs, and snowy egret, proliferate. Follow the dirt road to either the right or the left and you will come to the other side of the reservoir.

These fields, owned and farmed by Kauai Coffee, follow environmentally friendly agricultural practices, and is the largest drip irrigation coffee estate in the world with 2,500 miles of drip tubing. This efficient drip irrigation system applies water and fertilizers directly to the roots of the trees, so there is no spraying or dusting of fertilizer.

During the harvest period, water from the drip irrigation system is used to wet the plant, where it is used in processing. Because the water is used only once in processing, it can easily be cleaned using a filter system and reapplied to the coffee fields. The cherry pulp and the mulch from pruning are put back into the land as soil amendments. In addition to adding nutrients to the soil, this mulch also serves to reduce weeds in the fields.

The company plants contoured plantings, hedgerows and diversions to mitigate runoff and soil erosion. The native forests and plants in the estate’s valleys and ravines are protected. The coffee crop is not subject to disease and insect problems that other crops experience.  Herbicide use has been cut down by 75% through cultivation practices, and this 3,100 acres of coffee is GMO free.