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Pure coffee from Kona vies for big global prize

By Erika Engle

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 02:12 a.m. HST, Oct 15, 2010



The internationally known Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity has chosen 100 percent Kona coffee as a finalist for a Parmigiano-Reggiano award, in honor of the farmers who have labored to protect "its geography, its origin, the environment -- and its taste, too," said Cecelia Smith, spokeswoman for the Kona Coffee Farmers Association and co-owner of SmithFarms Coffee.

"It's a big deal to us," she said of the potential international recognition for 100 percent Kona.

It's like this: Real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not that which shakes or pours out of a tube from the supermarket, is tied to both the production of milk and the process that makes it into cheese in Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, part of Bologna and part of Mantua, in Italy.

Association Vice President Colehour Bondera and his wife, Melanie, owners of Kanalani Farm, have gone to Turin, Italy, for the award ceremony a week from tomorrow.

"Slow Food strengthens communities of small-scale producers, protects traditional foods, counteracts the disappearance of local food traditions and teaches people responsibility, as well as pleasure, in their food choices," Bondera said in a statement.

The ceremony will be part of at the Salone del Gusto event, held at the same time as the Terra Madre event. Both are described online as the only places in the world where artisan producers, academics, chefs, wine connoisseurs and food lovers meet in the interests of friendship and exchange. More than 150,000 people are expected.

Will Kona win? Stay tuned to this space.

 

Now's your chance to gamble on radio

Two vacant Hawaii FM radio frequencies will be auctioned by the Federal Communications Commission beginning March 29. The first such auction involving Hawaii frequencies since 2007 gives broadcasters and hope-to-be broadcasters the opportunity to spend a ton of money to get a piece of paper called a construction permit. The so-called CP enables them to spend another ton to get their station built and on the air before the CP expires three years hence.

One frequency on the block this time, KEEI-FM 94.3 in Hanapepe, Kauai, was won in 2004 by Christina Bourdeaux of Wyoming for a $305,500 bid. It was not timely built, and the permit was canceled by the FCC in 2008. Also up for grabs is 100.7 FM in Kihei.

Hawaii CPs have sold at auction for as little as $241,500 and as much as $2.2 million.

Most were won by broadcasters who actually got the stations on the air, while others were purchased by spectrum speculators who flipped the frequencies -- not always at a profit.

The FCC admonishes bidders to investigate and evaluate all technical and marketplace factors pertaining to the CPs they want. The agency warns that an FCC construction permit is not "a guarantee of business success."

Gone are the days when a broadcast permit was a license to print money.

Indiana-based Shirk-Mays LLC, whose partners Bill Poorman and Bill Mays have interests in Hawaii radio, is interested in the Kihei frequency. However, Poorman notes how the industry has changed, not just because of the recession.

He once sold a station for 23 times broadcast cash flow. "Now you're lucky to get eight," he said.

 

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Advertiser. Reach her by e-mail at erika@staradvertiser.com.






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