From Tobacco to Pineapple Then Coffee
Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative's century-old facility started
out as a tobacco business then a pineapple cannery. When the pineapple
business failed in 1910, the building was converted into a coffee
processing plant. In 1967 the coop purchased it for its members
use and it has been used as a coffee processing facility forgoing
over 100 years.
Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative began as
two separate entities: Pacific Coffee Cooperative and Sunset Coffee
Pacific Coffee Cooperative started in 1955 under the premise of
benefiting a group of coffee-producing individuals cultivating and
processing coffee in the Kona district. Mr. Y. Noguchi and 100 of
his fellow farmers established this group. The group wet-processed
their commodity and delivered dry product (known as coffee parchment)
to the Cooperative. The Cooperative then milled the parchment into
green bean, a wholesale product, and marketed it for the members.
In 1956 Sunset Coffee Cooperative was established and founded by
Mr. Takeshi Kudo and his father, a year after Pacific Coffee Cooperative.
In this era of processing coffee, Mr. Richard Tanaka served as president
for the Coop. With 800-odd Kona coffee farmers out there about 150
farmers established this Coop. The Sunset group produced their coffee
and brought it to the coop for wet milling. These farmers chose
to do this because of the nature and location of their farms; many
were under Captain Cook Coffee Company, subletting acreage, or were
allowed acreage under the condition of cultivating coffee to be
sold to Captain Cook.
With the knowledge of Mr. Kudo, Mr. Tanaka, & Sunset Co-op
they started to market Kona coffee as a gourmet product. Contracting
with Superior Coffee & Foods it gave them a break from the world
market, which resulted in premium pricing. By introducing Kona coffee
as a gourmet product they also introduced marketing campaigns, better
milling facilities, and most of all which we still face today, Quality
Control. Having established all this, the Coop was the catalyst
that had revived the weak and suffering Kona coffee industry. As
both entities developed, they found the need for restructuring to
increase service and efficiency for their members and customers.
Pacific Coffee Cooperative and Sunset Coffee Cooperative (later
known as Kona Farmers Cooperative) merged to become Kona Pacific
Farmers Cooperative in 1993. There are currently 100 members, both
coffee and nut producers. Most member farms are three to five acre
parcels along what is known as the Kona Coffee Belt.
The Kona Coffee Belt is an approximate 6,000-acre area running
from the 800 to 2,000 foot elevation level, straddling Mamalahoa
Highway along the 70 miles length of the North and South Kona districts.
Today, KPFC is 32 members strong and is still a major force in
production of world renowned Kona Coffee
Our Kona Coffee
In the late 1820's the enchanting coffee plant arrived on the gentle
volcanic slopes of Kona. It thrived
so thoroughly in the ideal growing conditions of its new home that
within 30 years it had become extremely important to the Big Island's
economy. Within another 30 years or so it was winning awards at
the 1890 World Exposition in Paris.
Over 100 years afterward, Kona coffee remains internationally renowned
for its high quality. The land on which it grows is still lush,
and the farmers' hands-on care contributes immeasurably to the increase
in excellence of each successive crop. Technological advances in
wet processing methods, enhanced by the use of deep-well drinking
water, have also made major contributions.
In drying we employ only solar and organic fuels (macadamia nut
shells) to protect the health of our consumers and safeguard the
environment we share with our neighbors. In growing we avoid fumigants,
fungicides, and insecticides. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture's
certification of our coffee at the green bean stage assures us and
our customers that we are maintaining our commitment to QUALITY.
The Kona Nightingale
Donkeys like the little fellow in the photo have played leading
roles in the development of coffee in the Kona district. For a long
time they served as beasts of burden that helped the farmers haul
their crops to the mills and stations. Some families still keep
them as beloved pets that remind them of the old days when the industry
was in its infancy. KPFC uses the donkey as one of our logos in
reference to the donkey's character of being hardworking and stubborn.
We here at KPFC are hardworking and very "Stubborn About Quality",
to ensure that our customers are getting the best products.
The Crack on Macadamia
The macadamia is indigenous to the Brisbane area on the eastern
shore of Australia, where it was found growing in the native forest.
Although Australian botanists discovered and named the nut tree
more than 125 years ago, the Australian farmers did not take advantage
of the tree until 1950, after the potential of macadamia nut was
indicated by the successful planting at Keaau, Hawaii.
Macadamia was introduced to Hawaii by W. H. Purvis in 1881, by
the Jordan brothers in 1892, and by the Territorial Board of Agriculture
between 1892 and 1895. The Hawaiians too were slow in exploiting
its commercial possibilities; however, Hawaii now is the single
largest producer in the world. The development and growth of the
industry have been based largely on the untiring efforts of the
agricultural scientists of the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) Federal Experiment Station and the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment
Station of the University of Hawaii. Early industrial pioneers than
took daring chances in order to establish a nut industry.
Macadamia Nuts are rich in vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin
and niacin. Minerals include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus,
and potassium. Dry roasted or eaten raw they have no cholesterol,
being 84% mono-unsaturated, 4% polyunsaturated and 12% saturated
Kona Pacific Farmers Co-op incorporates our nuts into our freshly
baked goods. The macadamia are also available roasted salted, unsalted,
chocolate covered, and in its natural dried form for your enjoyment.
It can be purchased at our retail store in Kona or from our web-site.
Visit or Take a Tour
Please come visit us and tour our facility and get acquainted. We
are the oldest and largest coffee processing Coop in the United
States. We are located about 3.5 miles down the scenic and historic
Napo'opo'o Road, on the way to the beautiful Kealakekua Bay, home
of Captain Cook's monument.
We feature the finest quality owner grown and processed Kona Coffee
and Macadamia Nuts on the Big Island. Free samples and a generous
inventory await you. Hope to see you soon!