Aloha family & friends, First I would like to thank all of you that have been supportive in our endeavor. “Farming isn’t easy! This is Bebo's Kona Coffee Farm and this is our story.
Bebo’s Kona Coffee Farm was a 15 acre, traditional style authentic Kona coffee farm, located in the heart of the Kona Coffee Belt at an elevation of 1400 - 1600 feet. The previous owners of the farm worked the land for three generations and were very well respected in the Kona coffee belt. Our plan was to carry on their tradition. I was introduced to farming in 1968 by a childhood friends in Campbell, California and the Almaden Valley in nearby San Jose. The farms were owned by the Yamamoto, Aoki, and Mastice Families. Lance and Peter were good friends of mine. The land was rich and the topsoil was considered to be the second best in the world. Today the land is known as Silicon Valley and few farms remain. We would irrigate, pick, size, sort, box, crate, and load produce. Those days and years hold some of my fondest childhood memories, I was twelve years old. I remember picking tomatoes in the hot sun till my shoulders burnt, and my back and legs ached. I’ll never forget being asked to move the truck, which had to be done from time to time as the pickers moved along. I welcomed it since it gave me a break from bending over and picking. Besides, it was the first time I ever got to drive. It was an old 1930 something Ford flat-bed truck. I had never driven before let alone a stick shift. After stalling a few times and with a little instruction from Lance, I gave it some gas and popped the clutch. The truck lunged and jerked forward then settled down as I began to drive. I was so proud of myself that I did not here Lance screaming “SHIFT GEARS!” as I red-lined that old truck in first gear and nearly blew up the motor. That was the first and last time I was ever asked to move the truck.
Picking tomatos would turn your hands black as if you were wearing gloves, and no amount of Borax soap and scrubbing would clean them. Lance took me to a 50 gallon drum and pumped a lever which poured a little diesel fuel into my hands. It cut right through it and left my hands clean and soft as can be.
I admired the way Lance and Peter's family worked and played together. To this day, without doubt and by far, they were the happiest and closest families I have ever known. Each member of the family had a role to play. If another needed help or something came up that needed to be done, one or all would do it without complaint or debate. They not only taught me about farming, but about the true meaning of family and how the two go together like peaches and cream, or in this case “Kona coffee n cream”
My wife Karen used to tell me about how she had toured a Kona coffee farm many years ago. She said the coffee was so delicious, always smooth and never bitter. We made a tradition of ordering a few pounds for our holiday gatherings. That was when I shared my farm experiences and dream of someday owning my own farm. I have always visualized my wife and I in our senior years rocking on our front porch on a warm summer night as our children and grandchildren laughed and played. I turn to my wife and say “Look what we started.” "That’s a wonderful dream, but the only farm you’ll get me on is one in Hawaii." It became Hawaii or bust and we are living our dream. So now that we are semi-retired, we are rocking on our front porch of our mountain ranch home in the Hamakua Forest on the Big Island.