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Tuesday, September 30, 2014         

It's a ‘Green World' after all

By Serena Valdez

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True appreciation for coffee may have found its home on the 7.5-acre land just south of Dole Plantation. Green World Farms, which has been in operation for a year, is making its mark as a must-try pit stop for locals and visitors alike.

 
When owner Howard Green, 72, purchased the former pineapple farming land in December 2008, he knew he wanted to use the land for a good purpose while keeping it fun. His love for coffee became the inspiration to turn the land into not only a place for visitors to enjoy the tastes of Hawaiian coffee, but also a high-quality agricultural experience.
 
“Tourists want to experience things that are authentic,” he said. “That's why I think it's essential to keep the focus of the farm on coffee and make the experience better and better for people.”
 
The Wahiawa farm is situated on Kamehameha Highway where Kamananui and Kaukonahua roads intersect, a convenient location for those who may be venturing to or from the North Shore. Green World is a spacious, pet-friendly coffee oasis for those looking to unwind or have a relaxing start to their day.
 
Inside, the walls pay homage to coffee with vintage posters, modern artwork and framed coffee-related humor. In one corner is a small bookcase overflowing with books patrons can read while they sit at one of the several tables inside or on the grassy patio outside.
 
Mostly all the merchandise is about Green World or coffee, including mugs, bags and apparel. Other products include jams, jellies and soaps made within 10 miles of the property and all derivatives of agricultural products.
 
In addition to selling the coffee grown onsite, Green World also features coffee from Waialua, Kauai, Molokai, Maui and Kailua Kona plantations.
 
Along one counter is a coffee tasting station where visitors can taste different samples of coffee for free in order to determine what flavors they enjoy.
 
In the café, items on the menu are broken up into three different categories: hot, iced and frozen. Hot and iced selections include coffee, espresso, cappuccino, latte, mocha and teas; and the frozen selections include milkshakes, smoothies, and either a mocha, cappuccino or chai freeze. Patrons can also indulge in baked goods provided by different local bakeries.
 
Through the back door is a sign pointing the way to the coffee garden, where visitors can see and learn the process of how coffee goes from a cherry to what they ordered from the menu.
 
“Practically everyone in America drinks coffee,” Green said. “So part of the idea of having a coffee farm is making it really convenient for visitors to actually see the coffee growing on the trees and the plants.”
 
Several thousand coffee trees dot the property, with 1,000 new trees planted every year. The first 500 trees were planted by Green and Roastmaster John Alvarez in spring 2010, planting Kona Typica trees, a Guatemalan variety of arabica tree, and Red Catuai, a Brazilian semi-dwarf tree.
 
In addition to the thousands of coffee trees, there are also trees including koa, noni, avocado, pine and monkeypod trees that all serve as windbreaks to protect the coffee trees from the area's windy climate.
 
Alvarez, who's spent 25 years in the coffee business, provided the expertise that Green needed in order to develop a sturdy foundation for his coffee vision. Having spent 40 years as an attorney in Honolulu and who built, owns and operates North Shore Marketplace in Haleiwa, Green needed someone who knew the ins and outs of his new business venture.
 
Green's goal is for the farm to have 10,000 coffee trees, which will yield about 15,000 pounds of roasted coffee at every handpicked harvest.
 
Before a single tree could be planted, Green's first order of business was cultivating and transforming the soil into the best coffee growing conditions. Decades of pineapple farming on the land left Green with soil that was unfit for coffee growing.
 
“A pineapple will grow in a more acidic environment than most other plants, making soil more and more acidic,” Green said. “Coffee does not grow in acidic soil, and one of the effects of farming pineapples is the soil is robbed of almost all organic content and we have to mitigate acidity and manage soil so we can restore that organic, natural content to it.”
 
To make the trees grow better, Green imported several tons of recycled organic soil from Hawaiian Earth Products and mixed it with the natural soil on the farm, which gave the trees an initial boost during the first two years after the trees were planted.
 
Another man Green has to thank for helping the farm become what it is today is Greg Saito. Saito, who previously worked and lived at Poamoho Camp, a plantation village for the former Del Monte pineapple plantation workers, showed up at Green World one spring day in 2010 when Green was picking weeds. Saito asked if he had any jobs and Green hired him that day. Since then Saito has become the farm manager, where he manages and maintains the farm, including determining what trees are ready for picking.
 
A total of 19 employees work in the shop and on the farm, and they've all learned enough about the farm and its coffee to educate every visitor while also sharing their strong aloha spirit.
 
“We're like a big family here (at Green World) and it does come across with our clients,” said Sandy Dutro, a manager. “I'm very proud to say we have a lot of returning guests. Since we're fairly new, our visitors hear about us by word of mouth, which I love because it means we stand out.”
 
Many different groups of people use Green World as a place to meet up and pass the time, including three different mom groups, bible study and knitting groups, Dutro said. “There is even a group of men who come regularly to drink coffee and have cigars after work.”
 
Green said his hope for Green World's future is to continually provide a better place for the community to experience great coffee.
 
“What lends legitimacy to what we do is that we are a blessing to other people,” Green said. “We want the farm to be a blessing not only to our employees, but also to our visitors and also the community.”
 
GREEN WORLD FARMS
contact // 622-2326 
web // www.facebook.com/GreenWorldFarms