A Note From the Founders, Greg and Susy Stille
In May 2009, we met with Willem Boot and Kelly Hartmann of Panama Finca Hartmann, and the Peterson family of Hacienda Las Esmeralda (both Panama Geisha Farms), to talk about the possibility of growing and curating Gesha coffee in Hawaii. We believed that this exotic coffee could grow well and produce an outstanding cherry, full of unique flavors and aromas.
We began researching the necessary protocols to bring seed to the state. After starting the necessary procedures, we purchased two kilos of seed from Hacienda Las Esmeralda which arrived in Maui on April 1, 2010. At that time we started the quarantine grow-out at the plant quarantine office in Kahului on April 13th. There were extensive guidelines that needed to be followed to ensure that no outside pests or contamination were brought into the islands along with the seed. The grow-out room assigned to us was surrounded by a water mote and had two airlock doors leading to our grow-out room, to ensure there would be no contamination. With a single light bulb in the ceiling, hose bib and nursery tables around the three walls, we had tray/tree cells for 400 trees. Adding mist irrigation, grow lights and a time lapse camera, we began the process of growing our new gesha. Initially the seeds needed to soak in malathion and fungicide for 24 hours, and the potting soil was later drenched with the same insecticide/fungicide. The seeds grew over the coming year and everything that entered the control room remained in the room throughout the controlled grow-out.