Anthuriums on the Big Island with Kona Rose Coffee
We like a little R&R just as much as the next guy, but we usually take it with a bit of adventure. So my son and I took a little jaunt through the woods to get some flowers for mama. Luckily for us we have a large chunk of virgin Hawaiian rainforest adjacent our farm. I think it may be the last bit of intact forest at this elevation on the Big Island. Most of the forest is higher up where the weather is cooler and wetter and thus less desirable to human inhabitants. So we are lucky to have this bit of forest right next door.
I don’t think people realize how important wild spaces are particularly for farming. Intact forests provides habitat for many beneficial species including lots of pollinators. That is becoming more and more important as our honey bees are struggling to survive. We lost all nine of our hives when the varroa mite and the small hive beetle took over the island. We weren’t ready for that and lost our hives before we could get tooled up to save them. We thought we were going to see a real drop in pollination of the mac nuts but that hasn’t been the case. We are getting lots of other pollinators picking up the slack and their home is the forest next door.
Another interesting thing about the forest is that it holds the moisture. There is no getting around it, farming dries things out! But a mature forest acts as a buffer and really helps the farm. When you walk across the farm you can notice the change in moisture from the forest-side to the neighbors which is mono-cropped coffee. Their farm is much drier than ours and it is just right next door. SO we are lucky to have the forest beside us as far as farming goes. But the perks continue as it is a wonderful place to explore.
My son and I went out with our machetes ( Asa is only 4 and a half but he can swing a machete with the best of them!) and hacked a trail through the forest to a secret little spot called the anthurium grotto. I think it was a lava tube that collapsed ( this island is honey-combed with lava tubes) and the jungle took over. Someone must have planted the anthuriums originally, but they have definitely naturalized and are quite at home there. We had a good time hiking and we pick a sackful to surprise Kollette when she got home!