In Our Fields
Paradise Meadows is home to 35 bee hives and growing. In Hawaii, we have flowers blooming year round, and our bees produce honey in every season. Bees are opportunity feeders, which means they will range up to 1.5 miles from their hive, when necessary, to find a food source. When food (that is, nectar and pollen) is abundant, bees will tend to stay closer to the hive, selecting from among the array of flowers blooming.
In Hawaii we are coping with the introduction of two parasites (the Varroa mite in 2007 and the Small Hive Beetle in 2010) that, collectively, have had a devastating effect on the honey bee population here on the Big Island. Before those infestations, Paradise Meadows had app. 130 flourishing bee hives. We lost all but 3 of those hives before we were able to turn the corner and begin to successfully fight those parasites through a combination of hive re-design and intensive, hands-on hive maintenance. If you visit us here at the farm and are interested in the plight of the bees in Hawaii we would be happy "talk story" with you..
The folks at Paradise Meadows are all coffee lovers, and that love shows in the quality of the award-winning coffee we call Hawaii's Local Buzz. Our coffee is the result of taking 3 types of 100% Hawaiian Arabica beans (Arabica Typica, Red Caturra and Yellow Caturra) and blending them to produce an extraordinarily smooth yet complex coffee. 100% of our trees (and, therefore, 100% of our beans) are grown in the Ka'u district of the Big Island of Hawaii at elevations ranging from 1800' - 2200' above sea level, and our soil is unusually deep and rich relative to other parts of the island (including Kona).
Citrus & Avocados
Paradise Meadows is home to approximately 1400 lime trees (mostly thin-skinned Tahitian limes), 100 lemon trees, and 300 avocado trees (mostly Sharwil avocados). When we purchased the property in 2004, we had to rescue these trees from desmodium and morning glory vines that had totally encased them. Sadly, about a third of the lime trees and at least two-thirds of the lemon trees that had originally been planted here had died as a result of neglect, and we are still in the process of bringing these trees back to life.
We sell this fruit at our farm stand and to a few local grocery stores and restaurants. The lemons and limes make fantastic Mai Tai's (or lemon/limeade if you prefer a non-alcoholic drink), and our limes have graced many a bottle of Corona... or so we've been told.
Aquaponics is the fusion of two methods of farming - Aquaculture (fish farming) and Hydroponics (growing in water instead of soil). In hydroponics you typically fertilize your plants with man-made chemicals and must maintain a constant and careful balance at all times. Over time, a hydroponic system becomes so toxic it must be completely disassembled and sterilized.
In an Aquaponic system, the plants are fertilized naturally by the waste of the fish, which breaks down into a form of Nitrogen called Nitrates that the plants can use. In our Aquaponic system, we have a large catchment tank with 3 different varieities of Tilapia. Water from this tank flows by gravity down into the "rivers" or troughs in our greenhouse, where plants sit in floats with their roots in the water. Finally the water flows into a last tank and then is pumped back up to the fish tank. This system becomes a closed pond system and balances itself naturally without the need for chemicals. The only thing we add to the system is fish food. Using an Aquaponic system allows us to grow leafy greens like lettuce, chard, kale, and herbs, in about half the time it takes to grow them in the ground, using up almost no water at all.