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We're extremely excited to announce that we're committing several acres of our upper pasture to coffee farming. The coffee farming area will be incorporated into our Environmental Learning Center at the southern most part of the property. The remainder of the upper pasture will continue to be used for our horsemanship programs, and uses as related to Sunset Stables.
The upper pasture sits at about a 950 foot elevation. That, combined with an annual rainfall of approximately 60 inches per year, provides for a decent environment for coffee farming. The upper pasture is also somewhat protected from high wind conditions by the surrounding ironwood and eucalyptus trees. We've targeted the Arabica species of coffee for its richness in flavor, and will be growing the following two varieties:
1. Blue Mountain. The Blue Mountain variety is well known for originating in regions of Jamaica. That said, it has been growing in Hawaii for many, many decades. Technically, Blue Mountain is a mutation of Arabica Typica and is a tall growing tree. While the cherry yield isn't as great as some other varieties, it provides a superb richness in flavor and is often used in various blends; and
2. Red Catuai. The Red "Cat" is a hybrid of Mundo Novo and Caturra and originated in Brazil in the late 1940's. This variety is common in Hawaii and provides an extremely high yield. These trees do not grow as tall, but can be much fuller than other varieties. The Red Cats are also known for the richness in flavor.
Here is a picture of some year old coffee trees at Sunset Ranch!
While one could argue that the rainfall is sufficient to manage our small coffee farm; we have decided to install a drip line system throughout this dedicated area in order to best manage the dry summer months. The water system will be completed, and all remaining trees will planted, this summer. We'll keep you posted on their growth! We can't wait for our first harvest!
We're excited to announce that we just planted twelve new dwarf lychee trees around the perimeter of Sunset Meadow. This is one of our favorite fruit trees, and we're so excited to be adding this variety to our existing fruit tree collection at Sunset Ranch.
As many of you may be aware, lychee is a tropical and subtropical fruit native to China, and now successfully cultivated in many parts of the world. Lychee has a beautiful brightly colored pinkish / reddish hard shell with a delicate, white pulpy fruit interior. Due to the flavor often being lost in the canning process, lychee is most often eaten fresh from the shell. Lychees are used in a variety of dessert dishes, including ice cream - our favorite!
We continue to add more and more fruits trees around Sunset Ranch! Our most recent additions include adding to the clusters of trees along the perimeter of Sunset Meadow. We plan to continue to expand these areas throughout this region of the property. Here is what we're currently planting around Sunset Meadow:
1. Washington Naval Orange
The Washington Navel Orange was imported into the United States in 1870. The trees were propagated upon their arrival and then sent to regions of the country where it was thought they might flourish. More specifically, California and Florida. While the trees in Florida didn't do well, they thrived in California. They have been grown in Hawaii for several decades and we hope to have good success with them at Sunset Ranch. The fruit is seedless, easy to peel (which we love!) and fruits quickly. So far the trees are thriving at Sunset Ranch and we're excited to have them as a new addition.
A Clementine is a hybrid between a mandarin orange and a sweet orange. The fruit was brought to California in the early 1900's and grown commercially. Clementines have been grown in limited quantities throughout Hawaii for many years. Similar to our Washington Naval Oranges, they are easy to peel and seedless! We love this fruit for its sweet and juicy flavor. While we have to manage the bugs carefully; so far they're doing very well at Sunset Ranch.
3. Tahitian Lime
Also commonly referred to as a Persian lime (originating from the Far East), the Tahitian lime was introduced into the United States in the late 1800s. A seedless variety was developed in California around this time as well. And this is the variety we have at Sunset Ranch. We love NO seeds! This particular variety also has a uniquely fragrant and spicy aroma. They are also less acidic than key limes and not nearly as bitter tasting. These trees are thriving at the ranch, and bugs don't appear to be as big of a problem.
4. Meyer Lemon
The Meyer Lemon is a citrus fruit that is native to China, and likely a cross between a 'true' lemon and some variety of orange. This fruit was also introduced to the United States in the early 1900s by the agricultural explorer Frank Meyer. While considered more of an ornamental tree in China; it is now a popular food item in the Unites States. Meyer Lemons have been in Hawaii for quite some time too. The Meyer Lemon has a sweeter, less acidic taste as compared to the common lemon. While bugs seem to be especially attracted to these trees; we're watching them carefully!
We'll continue to keep you posted as we add more and more fruit trees at Sunset Ranch. We just received some new avocados and lychee that we hope to be planting soon! Feel free to contact us at any time for a site tour or for more information! Mahalo nui loa for your continued support!
This article was published in the January 22, 2014 issue of the North Shore News. While there is still quite a bit of work to do before this land is perpetually protected; we're excited about recent progress. Please contact us with any and all questions or concerns regarding this project, or if you'd like additional details. (808)638-8333 or [email protected] Mahalo nui loa for your continued support!(Please note that the mention of "hunters" and "mountain bikers" having access to the land donated by A Charitable Foundation Corp is an error. While the public will eventually have access to these lands; access will not be for these uses. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.)
Aloha! Please join us for a tour of Pupukea Ranch on May 3, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM to partake in a new series of educational hikes sponsored by the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT): "Talk Story on the Land". This is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions or concerns you may have regarding the protection and use of these lands. You will also have a chance to meet Bill Howes from Kolea Farms, and learn about his efforts to establish a permaculture farm on site. The hike is completely FREE! RSVP: Christine Aiu, Oahu Island Director, at (808)244-5263 or [email protected]. We're meeting at Pu'u O Mahuka at 10:00 AM sharp. We hope to see you there!