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Coffee Harvest

Pickers

Heavy bags Even though Hawaii doesn't have very dramatic seasons there is still definitely a harvest season.  We're at the peak of it right now so this week's post will be short.  There has been a crew of four to ten pickers here every day for the past week and a half.  They work every day, dawn to dusk.  They have just finished picking the back field and are currently working on the middle field.  They'll start the front field next.  By the time they finish with that, the coffee in the back field will be ready for another round of picking again.  The peak of the coffee season keeps everybody in the coffee industry quite busy.

Before the sun comes over the volcano in the mornings, I'm usually busy pulping coffee from the day before.  Some day, when I get the barn built, we'll be able to process all our coffee ourselves.  For now, we can only process about four bags a day.  The rest gets sold to the local coffee mill.  Processing those four bags takes me an hour or two.  Once pulped, the beans have to sit in a fermentation tank for about 12 hours before being spread out to dry.  We're currently drying all our coffee on homemade drying racks that we set out in our greenhouse.  It takes about a week for the coffee to dry, depending on how sunny or rainy it is.

Around 5:30 in the evening it's time to head out in the field with my truck to pick up that day's coffee bags.  Each bag holds about 100 pounds of coffee cherry.  Every day this week, my little pickup has been filled to capacity with coffee.  Once loaded, I'll put in first gear and slowly work my way down the mountain to the local mill.  It's usually just after dark by the time I get there.  At the mill they help me unload and weigh all the bags.  Then I hurry back home and clean up for dinner.  It's easy to fall asleep early when you're tired from a hard day's work.

14 bags Mill



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