Tuesday, January 24, 2012


This is a major tourist destination. We had been on Oahu and taken in most os the normal tourist trips like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center. This time we opted to go on a farm trip to a chocolate and coffee plantation.

Sugar cane and pineapples have all but disappeared on the Hawaiian Island due to rising labor costs. Several years ago Dole placed 2000 acres of their ground into experimental crops to see what could replace those big two. A couple of those were chocolate and coffee. Coffee is grown on most of the islands and is quite good, if you like rich, full bodied coffee. On the Dole plantation they are trying to harvest the coffee mechanically and eliminate the hand labor. The coffee varieties that were planted weren't the best for mechanical harvest, but they are doing the best they can with trimming.

The coffee trees above are only two years after being stumped at a 2 foot height.

The coffee beans at left show the different stages of beans that are harvested at once. The dark dried up fruit are called raisins and make the darker coffee. The red beans are called cherries and make the more normal coffee. When hand picking they don't let the beans go to raisins since the yield goes down.

Next we went to the cacao farm. Dole has 20 acres of cacao trees. They are growing way out of the normal zone. Most cacao trees grow within 10 degrees of the equator, Hawaii is at 21 degrees. As a result the yield is down, but the cocoa butter content and flavor is up.

The cacao pod above is almost ripe. it is about 10 inches long.

The cacao trees are to the right.

Of course the busiest place in Oahu is Waikiki, the priciest beach around. What most don't realize is that the beach is man-made. They have to haul the sand in to cover the lava rock.

Diamond Head

Our partial ocean view.

Waikiki Beach and Hotels
Next up Kauai!!

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