Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Life Long Friends

It seems I am getting used to the weather patterns here in Kauai. In Colorado, when I was growing up, you just knew to be done with your hike around 4pm. That's when the rain would come in. Here in Kauai, specifically Kapa'a, it rains in the morning. There are big grey storm clouds outside the window to my left. The window to my right shows me big puffy white clouds and a blue, blue sky. Azure blue. There is a slight breeze and the birds are busily getting their day on. I have no idea if it's going to rain but I know by 10am it'll be hot. Up north, where I'm headed in about an hour, could be a whole different story. They get more rain as well as a lot of sunshine.

Twice  a year Kauai has a seed exchange. You come bearing seeds and seedlings or nothing at all. You leave with plants and seeds, the only conditions are take what you need, plant what you take. The afternoon was warm and we were all gathered under the big shade tree in front of the All Saints Gym, waiting for the blessing to start. The monks from the Hindu Monastery, just up the street mauka side, were to make the blessing and were running late. This gave us a chance to have Jillian and Gary check out the website to make sure we were on the right track. They really liked it and Jillian made some great creative suggestions.
Jillian, Dan and Gary. Azure is running around front there.

We all decided to get some drinks and as we headed to the jeep, our reusable grocery bag full of aloe vera, begonia, habenero chili pepper, cherry tomato and a curry leaf tree, we stopped to chat with Sun and his wife Lisa. They own One Song Farm and Dan buys produce from them once a week. He said I would really like Lisa, and this is the first time I have met her. Dan was right, I really like her. Calm, kind and confident she listens as I explain how fortunate we have been since we decided to move here. I tell her everything is lining up better than we could have imagined. I'm waiting for the ball to drop, not ready to embrace this luck yet. She tells me it's because we came here committed to make it work and with an attitude of service. The island has a lot of transient people because they come here and take. We are giving back through our work. She is tired after spending yesterday at the Hanalei Farmers Market. Sun, in another car parked next to her where him and Dan are talking, starts making noises that he wants to leave and Jillian is calling wondering where we are at. We break up and head over to the Oasis for drinks.

The Waipouli Resort, which houses The Oaisis, is only about 4 years old. Eileen and Gary remember when it was just a beach and they would camp there. They laugh, amazed at what it has become. I know the Oasis is for tourists and I'm a local now, but, I love it there. It's clean, beautiful and right next to the ocean.
Proud papa Gary with his son Azure.

We decide to get dinner at Chutney a new Indian restaurant here in Kapa'a. I'm loving the fact that this time the whole day is being spent in our neighborhood! We walk past Bill Kuetzmann (of Grateful Dead fame) and Eileen stops to say hello, she does his gardens. Dan walks slowly by, hoping to finally meet him, but no luck today. They don't have a liquor license so Jillian and I walk up to the ABC Store to get some beer while Gary orders tons of appetizers and Dan is on the phone placing an order with a farmer. We fill our bellies with great Indian food and I give our waitress my card (at Jillian's suggestion) and tell them we have a farm up north and would love to sell them produce.

Dan had to go in Monday morning, his day off, for an hour to set up an order with a new supplier on the mainland. While he did that I got started on my job. I love that I can work from home! The day ended with a phone call from Jillian. On Sunday I had mentioned to her that I was concerned about my catering gig that is swiftly approaching. I told Aqua Engineers that I would make kaula pork for 50 people!! I realized that if I made it in the oven it would be in there for hours heating up the whole place. I'm sure the clients wouldn't appreciate that! So, for the past several days I have been wondering how I could get around that. If it takes 3 hours in an oven at 400 degrees to make a 3 pound pork shoulder what would it be like for 15 pounds?!! Could I do it on a grill? If so, how long would that take? Would I wrap it in foil or it leave it uncovered?

Her happy voice rings through my phone, "Guess who just stopped by"? "Adam Sandler?" I say, he is staying across the street now. "No", she says. "Nicolai, my pork guy." He and his friends hunt wild boar and he gives her some for a veggie trade, he only eats salads!! Normally, he sells it for $5.00 a pound but Jillian is GIVING me 15 pounds for my catering gig! Not only that, it's going to be cooked! Her and Gary have an imu, a Hawaiian fire pit, on the property. Phil from Na Keiki O Ka Aina is coming over next weekend to do a whole pig for a luau he is doing. She says she will prep the pig for me and stick it in the ground with Phil's stuff. He is getting there at 4am and putting the pig in at 9am. It'll be done by 3 so Dan and I will come to help pull it out and shred it. She is going to keep it in her freezer for me since mine is so small. I can't believe it! What great fortune, those folks at Aqua Engineers are getting more than their monies worth on this one. Pork cooked in an imu is one of the greatest treats in the world. So succulent and delicious!

Again, I am amazed how everything is turning out, lining up so perfectly. Dan and I are as happy as when we first met, only better. I am so thankful that I listened to my intuition and signed up for those farm classes. I had no idea why I was doing it, just following an open door. Jillian is turning out to be our saving grace. She helped Dan get his job, hired me, and is so giving and supportive. We are going to be life long friends I am sure!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Incredible! This was moments ago, the sun was out, rain was falling and a beautiful rainbow appeared. No your computer screen isn't dirty, it's my windows!

Dan and I spent yesterday working on the website for the farm, hopefully we'll finish it up tomorrow. Well, hopefully Dan will. It's all in his hands now. My job is done, I was to write the text and get the pictures to him. Today though, we plan on having some fun. Maybe snorkel or Dan will surf and I will read. We took the dogs to the beach late in the afternoon yesterday. It was hot and we needed a break from the computers. Plus, the dogs needed to burn off some energy. There was a storm surge so the waves were pretty huge. They had a great time anyway and got nice and tuckered out. Lucy came home and went right to sleep, didn't even wake up for dinner! We didn't end up going to that concert. They changed it to a small indoor venue so we decided we didn't want to spend the money.

Dan is working away on the website, he got sick of his hair so after we got home from the beach, off it went!

Dinner last night; homemade whole wheat rosemary, olive oil and sea salt focaccia, beans cooked with celery, onions, carrots, garlic and bay topped with swiss cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Oh, and a glass (or 3) of red. YUM!! Those are Dan's feet in the background =)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Dan and I are easing into a routine. Our days are busy working and having fun doing it. We plan on having some real fun this weekend at the Taro Patch in Anahola. There are 3 bands playing at the outdoor venue and a lot of our farm friends are going, so we are really looking forward to it. Outside of Papaya's Dad will finishing up the website for Jillian's Seed to Table course. I need to do my final for the class, write the text for the Seed to Table home page, and make an ad for the CSA. Hopefully we'll make it to the ocean too!

George Clooney left the house across the street from the farm and Jennifer Aniston is staying there now. She is filming a new movie with Dave Matthews as her husband. Gary (Jillian's husband) saw him the other day in the street that runs along the farm and Dave flashed Gary a hang loose sign. Meanwhile Tara, owner of Kauai Fungi (on the same property as the farm) gave Jennifer Aniston a private yoga class. Tara came over to the farm and told us how her dog Hoku snuck in, luckily Jennifer likes dogs. Hoku gave Jennifer kisses and then while at the farm gave me kisses, lucky Hoku!

Here are some pictures from todays harvest and stuff.

Rainbow Swiss Chard 


The bounty

Lovely Tiana harvested Tat Soi

Teo harvested beans

Yesterday, Gary and Jillian has some concrete poured in to expand the wash station (shown here) and the shop

Matt and Gary get it ready for the concrete company


1st pour


Chris and Azure flash a hang loose

Chris and Gary admire their hard work

Finished wash station

These need to get planted. From left to right; avocado tree, taro plant (think poi), thyme, succulent oregano, thyme, Jamaican lilikoi, oregano

Our neighbors Phil and Simone lost their cat Nelly yesterday, she got hit by a car. Simone found her and carried her home and Phil buried her in the back yard. Nelly was a great cat, she reminded us of Pixel (our kitty that Rich adopted when we left Colorado). RIP Nelly.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Does it make me lazy when I play fetch from the top of the stairs?

It looks like editing has come back into our life through no effort of our own. Our meeting with Michael and Nick went really well. We are really excited about doing a video for them and getting shots all over the island in the process. Nick is co founder of Noniland a Hawaiian Agricultural Research Center and Bee Sanctuary. We will be getting shots at Noniland as well. It's really exciting and I can't tell you how fun it was to be involved in a creative process for the joy of creativity, no politics, no egos. We sat on the screened in deck (where the meditation classes and other meetings are held) and brainstormed. One idea embraced and built upon by another, building so much momentum the meeting went over by an hour. The video is going to be excellent. We were so inspired when we got home Dan started surfing the internet for edit systems. We will trudge through this first one on our laptops using Adobe Premiere but if all goes well and we are to do more, it looks like we'll get the 27 inch iMac and upgrade it to 2 TB of storage. We feel really good about it so who knows!
The meeting room


My first newsletter for the farm went out yesterday. Jillian is really happy with it, she says she loves me =) Dan and I start our work weeks today, he at Papaya's until Friday and me at the farm until Wednesday. The guys are pouring a concrete slab at the farm today by the wash station so we'll have more room during harvest. It's all going so very well!!

Jillian planted some Purple Peruvian Corn that Turtle had seeds for and some popcorn just to see how they would grow. Since they did well she plans to use the corn as seed

Purple Corn Sword

Jillian, Azure and I went to town for lunch.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Jeep Has a Home

Nellie, Phil and Simone's kitty relaxes in the early morning shade

At 8am it's a beautiful morning. Just back from walking Baxter the day promises to be hot and sultry. We have an appointment in Kilauea at 11. My meditation teacher Michael Mackintosh has this whole video enterprise thing going on and we are going to edit some of his videos. If you saw the movie The Secret then you are familiar with his topic. His website 2010 Best Year Ever, has his whole package, on sale. I got it in trade for editing some videos for him. I really like it because it makes you think about what you want out of life and how to make that happen. And after all, I am starting a new life, why not be crystal clear about what I want it to be. It's pretty involved and between that and the 10 week massage thing I am doing with Natalia it leaves me feeling like I am on a retreat of sorts. The meeting this morning is for Success Ultra Now. Michael and his business partner Nick Good have created Superhero retreats in Kauai and they want me (I'm including Dan) to edit a 10 minute video for them. I am trying to stay open to the process, I just casually mentioned to Michael one day that I used to be an editor. During his meditation he came up with the idea of having me edit some of his videos. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Saturday, while I was getting my massage Dan went to Costco to get a canopy for the jeep. If we don't get it under something the heat and rain will shred the soft top. He found a 20x10 and was struggling to get the huge, heavy box into the jeep. Out of nowhere he hears a familiar voice say "Let me help you with that" and his cart suddenly stopped squirreling around and became steady. He gets the thing in and turns around and is in shock. He says "Thanks.........John C. Reilly!" John, with a box of food tucked under his arm dressed in a t-shirt, shorts and a baseball cap making his curly hair into little poufs around the edge of his hat, smiles and says "You're Welcome!" and happily saunters off. We love John, his movie Walk Hard is one of our all time favorite movies. It was a really fun thing to have happen and Dan was delighted when he told me the story.
The "garage" from the door step

Garage and shed

The jeep loves it's new home!

The lychees in our yard are almost ripe

My first week working for Jillian went well. She was really happy with the Facebook page I created and the newsletter that will go out later today. Lucy is getting better, she's still sick. Her nose is still plugged but not as bad and her eye is still a little squinty. Dan took her to the vet for her follow up appointment and the vet decided she had a blocked tear duct and that caused the infection. So, we had to add eye drops 3x a day to the list of treatments!! Jeez, good thing we don't have kids!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Shot in the Arm

It seems Dan is a shot in the arm for Papayas. He was animatedly telling me about his day yesterday and how everyone seems to be responding to his creative energy. The owner, GM, staff and customers have told him that the produce section has never looked so good. In fact, they are running out of produce on the weekends. That has never happened. Jessica, the owner, was concerned because she thought Dan wasn't doing his job. After a short discussion she learned that he was doing his job so well they couldn't keep all that great produce in house! Previously, Papayas was about 40% local, Dan will be completing his 4th week today and he has brought it up to 65% to 70% local. Local spinach set out was gone in 20 minutes. The kales (3 varieties from 1), tat soi (3 varieties from 0), sweet potatoes (in 3 weeks Dan sold more than any previous 3 months combined), and 7 varieties of lettuce are also doing very well. He's brought in more variety including local fruits and flowers. Papayas had 60 varieties of produce and he has almost doubled that. He reclaimed some space that other departments were filling in so they didn't sit empty. With the additional space he is providing coconuts (with openers), longans, kombucha squash, red bananas, pineapples (he says "we weren't carrying f*ing pineapples!"), loads of herbs, local lemons, limes, and lilikoi (passion fruit). Plus, our farms produce is helping. The lettuces I brought from the farm (the very ones I am holding in yesterdays post) sold in 2 days while others that were there before our farms are still there. Our carrots and beets do very well also. He says it's all just display. Speaking of displays, Rita the grocery manager was inspired by Dan's revamping. She decided to enter a contest for some gluten free products they sell (it's gluten free month) and made a really creative display. She created a little shop on main street Hawaii. Under an awning she put fruits and flowers she borrowed from Dan's department. Phil (from Na Keiki O Ka Aina) was dressed in full Hawaiian regalia (he was on his way to work at a luau) and posed in front of the display eating some gluten free crackers. 20 year old Rory, one of Dan's employees has told me as well as Dan "you have really come in here and changed things up and it's awesome, I actually get excited about getting a case (of produce) and putting it out because it's so beautiful!" Jessica sent Dan to Ace Hardware to pick up some staples, a privilege Sam (Dan's other employee) says was only extended to Jason the frozen foods/night manager. Dan is having a great time and has found a totally different creative outlet that he would never have considered. He happily says, "Who thought you could have fun with fruit!" As I explained in a previous post, you don't have to put on a mask here. You don't have to be someone you are not in order to work with people in different ways, to be politically correct. You do have to be kind, respectful and considerate but other than that you just have to be yourself. We are having fun being ourselves and relearning what that is. Because  of that we are passionate. Our passion not only invigorates people around us but makes our hard work seem effortless.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


The Facebook fan page is now up and running. If you are on Facebook please search "kauai farmers coop" and click "like" (become a fan) and share with your friends, help to keep me here =) mahalo!

What is a CSA?

I knew Stew, our farm intern and my fellow classmate, would get your attention!! 

Lucy is doing much better, thank you all for your comments! $120.00 later, we learned she had some kind of bacterial infection. She has 3 prescriptions and a check up on Saturday.

My first week of employment since we have been on the island has been excellent! Jillian hired me on as the CSA Manager for the farm. CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture and before I write anything else I'd like to share what a CSA is.  Below is an excerpt from Grant Family Farms, the CSA we were members of in Colorado, detailing the business structure. Recently I learned that Grant Family Farms is the largest CSA in the country with 3000 members in 2009! Currently, we provide for 37 members and Papayas (which equals 6 boxes) every week. To find a CSA in your area click here.

Jillian, owner and her 3 year old son Azure

CSA is a partnership of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters that provides a direct link between the production and consumption of food. Supporters cover a farm's yearly operating budget by purchasing a share of the season's harvest. CSA members make a commitment to support the farm throughout the season, and assume the costs, risks and bounty of growing food along with the farmer or grower. Members help pay for seeds, fertilizer, water, equipment maintenance, labor, etc. In return, the farm provides, to the best of its ability, a healthy supply of seasonal fresh produce throughout the growing season. Becoming a member creates a responsible relationship between people and the food they eat, the land on which it is grown and those who grow it.

This mutually supportive relationship between local farmers, growers and community members helps create an economically stable farm operation in which members are assured the highest quality produce at a fair price. In return, farmers and growers are guaranteed a reliable market for a diverse selection of crops.
CSA reflects an innovative and resourceful strategy to connect local farmers with local consumers; develop a regional food supply and strong local economy; maintain a sense of community; encourage land stewardship; and honor the knowledge and experience of growers and producers working with small to medium farms. 

Eileen is our Field manager

Plus, by dealing with local farmers you are reducing your carbon footprint and supporting local business. This, for me, is work that matters. For those of you who know me well, this is my passion. Being in the right place at the right time created this opportunity. Jillian and her husband are creative visionaries building an empire on the north shore. Their farm is infused with passion, creativity, joy, camaraderie, education, love, goodwill and acceptance. I am thrilled to be working with them and in effect included in their family. My intention is to let everyone know what great services these folks have to offer. 

Me in the wash station cleaning and packing red lettuce for Papayas

My job as the CSA Manager is to insure current members receive timely communications in regard to their questions or concerns, be the harvest leader on harvest days and generate new members. I spent this week learning how Jillian runs this tight operation, answering member emails, working with Dan and Papayas, connecting with Pure Kauai to establish a business relationship providing our produce in vacation homes, and creating a newsletter. I have a lot to learn and a lot to do and I am revitalized. I love working from home or going to the farm; no time clock to punch, working with the kind folks of this beautiful island and growing a business. This week I am going to create a facebook page and I hope you'll like it. One of the intentions is to provide produce to folks who rent a condo or have a time share for a week or two and would like some fresh, organic, local produce to eat while they are here and save a lot of money in the process! 

Assembling the orders on harvest day

Jillian was totally stoked on the celery, a long term crop that had finally been harvested.

 A close up look inside one of the boxes. Mint, radish, carrots.

Your doctor would be happy to know that you are getting all your greens in. Shown here; book choy, red russian kale, curly kale and arugula

Hawaiian purple sweet potatoes, osaka (from the mustard family), beets and celery. The beets are in the front, the leaves with red veins.

Butter Lettuce

Tara fills the boxes (owner of Kauai Fungi) while Emma's kids "help".

Chris is the machine operator and irrigation specialist

Fellow classmate and massage therapist, Casey Holt found a huge kohlrabi.

At home I unpacked this weeks box of produce. One of the reasons I love being in a CSA is that I get to try all kinds of new things and receive an abundance of favorites. I got mild green peppers, carrots, bananas, papaya, celery, book choy, basil, butter lettuce, cilantro, curly kale, red russian kale, osaka and arugula. All organic and all for $28.00!

In other news, Dan is getting the swing of the produce thang, looking for more local farmers and learning a lot about supply and demand. He says "it's all goin well man!"

My meditation teacher asked me to edit some videos! Monday Dan and I are going to meet with him. We need to get his video into my computer. George Clooney's movie The Descendants has been wreaking havoc in Hanalei with the locals and will wrap up filming in a couple of weeks. The fourth Pirates of the Caribbean  will start shooting soon. Our friend Dan from Da Kine Wine is providing wine and spirits for the cast and crew while they are here. We have thought about submitting our resumes to the Kauai Film Commission thinking we might get some work editing dailies. If we did it would be excellent money but kill everything we've got going on!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lucy Lane

Lucy is sick =( not sure what is going on, her whole muzzle is swollen. Plus, just her right nose hole =) is clogged and her right eye is really red and squinty. Send her some love would ya?

Yesterday was excellent. Dan and I drove the 45 minutes to the south side where Aqua Engineers had some tasty samples of what I made. They loved it, so we are on! Roxanna (our friend who hired us for the job) drove us 20 minutes further south to the boat house so I could check out the kitchen.

Aqua Engineers in Koloa

The boat house kitchen we will be cooking in

Dan and Roxanna look out the window as I snap a shot of the working space behind the kitchen

The food will be served, buffet style, out here

The property backs to the ocean

A quick walk and you are at the beach

We were starving so we went into Po'ipu and had some lunch at Merrimans downstairs cafe. Me; north shore mushroom pizza (Dan "are the mushrooms from Kauai Fungi?" Me "Probablly.") and Dan had the Kalua pulled pork sammie, YUM!!
Merrimans is upstairs, we ate outside at the far end

We drove all the way home and got to the grocery store parking lot, when I discovered I left my purse at the restaurant, Doh!! After a quick call to see if they had it, we spent the next 90 minutes retrieving it!

Dan is getting ready to go to work and I am heading out to the farm. Another day in paradise!

Dan in his office at Papayas

Farm offerings

A salad that Eileen made for lunch that fed us as well as some volunteers who happened to be the keyboard player for Maroon 5 and Graham Nash's son.