Sunday, May 5, 2019

Aikane Farm Tour

As part of the Ka'u Coffee festival, there was another farm tour. This time it was Aikane farm & ranch. I've never been to this farm although I've passed it dozens of times, so of course I signed up for it.

Aikane hosts both beef cattle and coffee. Not the biggest cattle ranch or coffee farm around, it is a very pretty place. And it probably has the friendliest beef cows I've seen on this island. Plus it grows a unique coffee. 

Let's explore that coffee. People around here refer to it as "Old Hawaiian". This particular coffee was brought Hawaii from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil back in the 1800s. Some of the descendent trees were planted in Ka'u. So it's not one of the common varieties the other coffee growers work with. If it has a varietal name, no one here knows it. It was simply planted as "coffee". Plain and simple.

The original planting by J.C. Searle are a few miles down the road from the present day Aikane Farm & Ranch. The family (his great granddaughter) retrieved coffee trees from the original farm and replanted them. And over the years the family has expanded the coffee plantings and now have a nice estate coffee farm going.

Looking down on one of the Aikane coffee orchards. 
Aikane offers farm tours, so if you happen to be visiting Big Island it might be worth your while to visit them. Just check out their website and give them a call before arriving.

Back to my day........ It was most enjoyable. The day was like an all day party. Live music. Hula. Horses and calves to pet. A hayride through one of the cow pastures where we mobbed by friendly cattle begging for handouts.

Heading out on the hayride. Yup, our seats are hay bales, which the cattle tried to eat right out from under us when the haycubes ran out. 
Armed with buckets of haycubes, we all delighted in feeding the eager giant beasts as Merle called out each cow by name. I was totally surprised to see a bull among them, a bull so gentle that he patiently begged for his haycubes alongside his girls.

A dozen cows begged for haycubes and we gladly fed them. 

Ranch hands out on a brief demo of ranch life by rounding up a small herd, bringing them down to a corral, separating out 4 calves to work on. These calves were due for ear tagging, vaccination, castration, and branding. For just about everyone in the watching crowd, this was a first. Very few people nowadays know what goes in when raising livestock, so this demo was both shocking and informative for most.

The herd being collected for the demo. 

A local band, the best I've heard to date, entertained the crowd from 10 to 4. And Sammy Fo provided lovely hula.
The lovely and famous Sammy Fo. 

After the morning activities, Merle & Phil hosted a fantastic BBQ for everyone. There was far more on the tables than the large crowd could consume, and it was really tasty. BBQ ribs, pork belly, teri-sliced beef, chicken something, and more. Plenty of Portuguese rice, plain rice, mashed sweet potatoes, green mixed salad, Hawaiian style mac salad, and about 15 more dishes I was far too full to sample. And the table still went on, displaying multiple desserts that yours truly had no room for, since by then I was stuffed to my gills. Lots of choices of beverage, with famous Aikane coffee included.
Buffet table. 

This year was my first year attending the Aikane tour, but I surely won't be my last. I'll certainly be back for another visit.
Merle, our wonderful hostess and Aikane owner. 

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