Paradise Meadows is home to ~30 bee hives. 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.
The flavor of honey will reflect the flowers the bees have chosen to feed on, which is why our honey will vary in flavor from season to season.. Although Hawaii is paradise all year round, we still experience changes of season as different plants flower at different times of the year. When the bees collect nectar from the avocado, macadamia nut, coffee and eucalyptus trees, we get honey that has distinct, rich caramel flavor notes, which we call our Winter Blend Hawaiian Honey. In the springtime our citrus orchards are blooming, and magenta-colored Lehua blossoms break out on the native Hawaiian Ohia trees. That sweet, citrus-flavored and often creamy honey is our Spring Blend. And in the summertime, you can see a riot of color as a wide range of flowering plants begin to bloom. When the bees blend the nectar of all of those flowers we get our Summer Blend honey. Our Summer honey has a unique “finish” or aftertaste that comes from the Wilelaiki (or Christmas Berry) tree, and we think it is our most distinctive tasting honey. We also have a variety of specialty honeys – visit our website to learn more. Or visit the farm and enjoy a honey tasting (similar to a wine tasting) during which you can sample all of the varieties available at that time.
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 (except Chris, he’s weird), 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).
We hand-pick and hand-process all of our coffee from cherry to roasted beans. Our coffee is available in 3 roasts (Light, Medium and Dark) and is always small-batch roasted so that we can be certain that we’re bringing you the very freshest coffee possible. We also have Peaberry and Extra Fancy coffee and green coffee for home roasting available for sale at the farm and on our website.
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 varieties 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.