Sunday October 22, 2017
It's MULCHING time on the farm
Look at the new stockpile of chips for our Noni trees! Where do we get the chips from? We have chippers on the Farm to create some of our own mulch, but due to the volume of our orchard - literally thousands of noni trees – we require chips from local tree trimmers. And we're so happy the new shipment has arrived!
Twice a year, we spread new mulch throughout the orchards to each and every noni tree – 6 to 12 inches thick.
So the question arises: Why do we mulch every 6 months? The mulch has not evaporated into the air (thank goodness), but every tree maintains its own worm hotel.
You see, the mulch creates the perfect environment (cool, dark and moist) for worms to thrive. The billions (yes we said billions) of earth worms that live on our noni farm process all the mulch we spread creating wonderful worm castings that feed the noni trees.
This is how we mimic what Nature has done for millenia on the forest floor: Leaves fall to the ground creating perfect conditions for earth worms to thrive and enrich the soil through their worm castings.
Mulching your gardens or fruit trees is beneficial as it creates the perfect environment for worms to enrich your soil and feed your plants. Try it! They (your plants) will thank you!
Albatross New Record: 29 Nests this Year!
Wow, what an increase in the Albatross population this year! We originally started with only 3 breeding pairs.
Each breeding pair produces one egg per year. It takes 6 months for the chicks to grow into a juvenile. Around July of each year, the juvenile Albatross flies from the breeding grounds to the cool Alaskan water filled with squid (their main food). The juveniles remain there for 4 years. After that time, the juvenile returns to the hillside where it was born to socialize with other young adults. When they turn 7 years old, they pick a mate for life and the cycle of life starts all over again.
Did you know? Albatross nest on the ground for 6 months with no protection.
Early on, dogs would find the breeding area and kill most of the birds. Eight years ago, we fenced the 5 acre breeding area that's connected to our farm protecting the Albatross. Once we fenced the breeding area, the population grew from a mere 3 breeding pair to a whopping 22 breeding pair last season.
This year’s current count in the breeding area is 29 nests!
Everyone here is really pleased and the Albatross seem very happy.
It is always very exciting when the first returning Albatross is sighted out on the bluff. Lola was checking every day for the first returnee and last weekend she found the first male bird standing under the ironwood trees waiting for others to return but most importantly his mate. This male is an old timer that has been breeding here since the beginning. Last year, he and his mate “took the year off” from breeding. Generally, a male and female albatross mate for live with 1 chick per year. They will breed for 3-4 years and then take a year off with no chick. The breeding and raising the chick is very demanding on their bodies as the demands of feeding the new chick for 5 months wares on their physical strength.
The breeding pairs first sing and dance for an hour upon returning for the year. Then they mate, the female “builds” or mounds a nest of pine needles on the ground for the egg. She lays the egg and starts the incubation process without leaving the egg for months. The male jumps of the cliff, flaps his wings once, locks his wings and glides for 3 days back to Alaskan cold water to eat squid, their primary food. It is too warm in the Hawaiian waters for the squid to be in abundance. The male gorgeous himself on squid, takes off, flaps his wings once and glides 2000 miles of open ocean to our hillside!! (Amazing GPS)
He lands on our bluff and regurgitates the squid to feed his mate who is sitting on the egg – in 10-15 minutes. He take off and flies back to Alaska for more squid and another return trip. He does this amazing feat – back and forth- for 5-6 months to feed his mate and the chick once it is born. Dedication!! Once the chick is born and able to sit in the nest on the ground, the female begins the same journey of back and forth with squid from Alaska to feed the new chick.
Simply an incredible adventure every year to raise a new chick. Enjoy the current photos and watch for the new chick photos in February when they will be hatching. Remember Ruffles from last year? Last year’s winner of the Name that Chick contest, will not return back to our bluff until 4 years old to socialize with other “juvenile” adults and begin breeding here when about 7 years old.
You may always follow the birds during the breeding season as Lola is always posting new photos on Facebook and Instagram.
The abundance of Noni fruit produced by every tree in our orchards is extremely impressive. Most Noni trees in full sun light will produce fruit for 5 months, rest for one month and then produce for another 5 months. On our certified organic family farm, we began applying 1 to 2 cups of worm castings from our worm “hotels” to each Noni tree about twelve years ago.
To our amazement, the Noni trees respond with fruit production 12 months out of the year for twelve years now. They never stop producing new Noni fruit!!!
Every 5th day, we will pick 1600 pounds in about two hours – that’s with only 2 people picking. As you will notice in the photos, we select pick only the mature totally white fruit that is hard as a potato. At this stage, the Noni fruit has all the 165 beneficial compounds in the raw pulp.
In many parts of the world, Noni is called “cheesy fruit” as when it ripens and becomes soft like a ripe tomato – the pulp smells and taste like a strong blue cheese. Raw Food Vegan Restaurants use pieces of our Noni Fruit Leather in salads as a cheese substitute for vegans!
Say Hi to Dexter, our new Shama bird chick that is very friendly. Dexter has been told about the Albatross that are expected back from Alaska in mid-November.
Our Dragon Fruit cactus are in full production with amazing large yellow flowers that bloom at night.
At first light the flowers close very quickly, so Lola had to be “on it” to catch these photos.
The flowers get pollinated at night by moths and turn into a very delightful pink fruit. We have one plant that has grown very large along a fence line with passion fruit vines. They seem to like each other!!
We are always spreading finished compost and mulch to the many Noni trees in the various orchards on our certified organic farm. For weeks, I have been waiting and begging the local tree trimmers to bring more mulch (wood and leaf chips).
We do not spread our compost unless we have mulch to apply on top of the compost after spreading – to protect the finished, very potent compost from the direct sunlight.
For me, the organisms in the compost are not at the beach in the direct sunlight but live in the soil out of direct sunlight. Therefore, we always apply new mulch over our compost to help maintain the healthy organisms and potency.
We finally received 8 truckloads of new mulch which makes me very, very happy. Now we can begin feeding our trees the new compost and mulch in tandem. The worms love the compost and mulch!!
Duke and Daisy had babies!
Everyone on the Farm Tour loves the part of the tour when Dylan interacts with the Shama bird family. He worked with the Dad (Duke) and the Mom (Daisy) for 6 months getting the wild birds from the forest to trust him as their friend. As you will see in the video captured on the Farm Tour, the whole family take turns landing on his arm, running down to his hand to eat. The new born chicks are Dylila and Dexter. That’s right– we have Dylan, Duke, Daisy, Dylila and Dexter. Enjoy the video as it is pretty amazing!!
All the new chicks grew into young juvenile adults and have “flown the coop”. It has been a great year here on the Farm with the Albatross soaring overhead, singing and dancing, mating and producing new chicks. The new chicks all start as little gray, fluffy chicks the size of a basketball and over the next 6 months grow into a large young Albatross standing 3 feet tall with a 6-7 foot wing span. Over the months, we watched as the gray, fluffy feathers molt away into beautiful white feathers for flying and soaring. All the chicks have gone to Alaska to feed on their predominant food, Squid, in the cold waters. In four years, they will return to our hillside that they were born on to socialize, sing and dance, but most importantly – watch the breeding adults to learn what they will do when they turn 7 years old on our hillside.
To Ruffles, have a good flight and hope to see you in 4 years!!
For 10 years, I have had the pleasure of being interviewed about Noni on the DOCTOR HEALTH RADIO SHOW every 3 months. Host David Snow, produces a very valuable and knowledgeable Talk Radio show for the listeners in Hawaii every Saturday morning for 2 hours on 690 AM. His show is re-broadcast at 9 PM on Saturday night on doctorhealthradio.com – good listening.
I fly to Honolulu to do the shows live in studio and it is a lot of fun.
The first 10 minutes of the show is usually dedicated to the true traditional use of Noni, research and some of my personal experiences with Noni.
The most recent Radio Show on June 3 was a very comprehensive discussion on Noni and how it might help you with specific health conditions and improve your general over all well being using our organic Noni products.
We have an exciting new feature to our noni farm tour!
Dylan and Duke, the Shama Bird
Those who have taken the tour will remember Dylan, the young man that helps me with the tours. He has an amazing ability with animals, like Dr.Dolittle. Five months ago, Dylan began working with a wild White-rumped Shama bird that lives in our valley. Dylan has named the bird, Duke. Shama’s are very friendly and inquisitive. He began whistling and talking to Duke, Over the months, Duke began taking food from Dylan. Now on the Farm Tour, Duke flies out of a Noni tree, lands on Dylan’s out stretched arm, runs down his arm to eat out of his hand!! Everyone loves it. Last Friday on the Tour, Duke’s mate – Daisy landed on his arm and ran down it to eat for the first time!
Happy Earth Day!
May this day bring peace and reflection for all that Mother Nature does for us (and the animals too!). I thought this was an excellent
opportunity to talk about the history of Earth Day and what can we do in our community to stay green and sustain our planet. It's the only home we have!
One way we at Hawaiian Organic Noni celebrate Earth Day everyday is by vermicomposting. Research has shown that one 5 gallon bucket of worm castings will bring back a whole acre of depleted land — imagine what it can do for your backyard garden and indoor plants! Worms are incredibly efficient at breaking down organic waste into nutrients, so they do it quickly and with very little smell. Worms are also very forgiving, and there are easy ways to get started. Click here for more!
Spring has sprung on the family noni farm. This time of year we begin our rotation system for pruning blocks of our orchards. Noni trees will grow to 30 feet or more but respond very well to pruning and for picking purposes, we maintain the noni orchards at about 8-10 feet tall trees. Check out the photo of the guys pruning the noni trees. All the trimmings are chipped up for organic mulch and re-applied to the noni trees to create our natural worm hotels under each tree. Before spreading the mulch chips back around the trees, we will be applying organic compost and more worm castings. Healthy noni trees make abundant healthy noni fruit.
It is a beautiful time of the year in Hawaii with the “winter weather”. Most people think the weather is always the same in Hawaii but actually there are several noticeable differences between “winter months” and the “summer months”. The “summer months” are generally drier and warmer to hot – 70’s at night and high 80’s during the day. But the “winter months” bring cooler air from the winter storms passing by to the north and we get the one "blanket" nights with socks. The “winter months” are cooler and crisp – 60’s at night and high 70’s during the day. Great working weather for the Farm!!
After years of saying we are going to plant more coconuts, we finally did it. We cleared a little valley of 20 foot tall brush & trees, chipped it all up for organic mulch for the new coconut trees, trenched a new irrigation line, drilled the planting holes with the tracker and finally planted 50 more coconut trees. We had been cultivating our favorite coconuts, some for great water and some for great coconut meat, for years in pots. It was very rewarding to finally get them in the ground , mulched and irrigated. In about 2 years, we should be harvesting our first coconuts from these trees as they are all a low-bearing variety. Lots of good coconut water coming soon!!
Please remember, if you are ever visiting Kauai, to come visit our organic family noni farm during our free educational noni farm tour. We have a beautiful 37 acre organic noni farm and we love to share how we grow things organically on a very large scale, but you may apply the same principles in you gardens at home for bigger, healthier fruits and vegetables!
My, how the time flies! It seems like we just were ushering in 2016 and now here is 2017! Last year was a great year here on our organic Noni farm. We were blessed with several new pieces of equipment to help in our processing facility, the expansion of our Organic Noni Farm & Wellness Tours with the help of the article in Hana Hou magazine on Hawaiian Airlines about our noni farm and our unique low heat drying process, and all around gorgeous weather! Lucky we live Hawaii as it is never too hot and never too cold, but just right! I personally have never seen so many shades of green as in Hawaii.
Thinking back to 1982 when my wife and I moved to Kauai and bought our raw land with no roads, water or electricity – most people thought we were crazy. But all you had to do was to look around and feel and see the beauty. Over the years we built our home, drilled water wells, put up windmills and had 3 great children that all still live here. Noni fruit was growing everywhere on our property, but it took several years to understand the true traditional use and its many benefits. The hardest part for us was developing a process to preserve the potency of the raw pulp and not let fermentation destroy its goodness. Our Noni Fruit Leather was the culmination of years of trial and error and perseverance!
Lola will be taking pictures several times per week so watch for the posts to Facebook and Instagram.
Every year about this time, we also have very large Humpback whales return to the waters right off the front of our Noni Farm. We get to see them breaching, blowing water and going through their mating ritual to pick a mate for this year. The males are very active trying to ”show off their stuff “ to impress the females. Once the mating is accomplished and the calves are born (several months from now)– then the mother whales are teaching the newborns the art of breaching, etc. We have to be on our toes, watching out to sea to catch a glimpse of all the activity – especially the breaching high into the air. Pretty special!
We're actively trying to get photographs of the whales to share with you! Stay tuned and wish us luck!
Lastly, we're clearing space on the farm to plant about 200 coconut trees, and we've also finished putting up a 1000ft. long fencing line to keep wild pigs out of the farm! They keep breaking our water lines!!
The picture above is Ben & Steffen after finishing the fence!