Hawaii

Exploring the Possibility of Florida-Grown Coffee

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ripe grapefruit

Researchers are exploring the potential of coffee growth in areas currently suitable for citrus growth.

For centuries, coffee has been grown between two somewhat arbitrary lines above and below the equator. The stretch between roughly the 23.43°S and 23.43°N parallels — also known as tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, respectively — is also often referred to as the “coffee belt.”

Countries with large swaths of land within this boundary — Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Vietnam, and dozens more — have historically dominated the production of coffee that then travels to points farther north or south for consumption.

Yet what happens when we consider the artificial nature of these boundaries? Is it possible to grow coffee outside of these latitudinal restraints?

The short answer is yes. With reasonable conditions, a coffee plant could grow inside a home anywhere in the world. In one extreme example of how coffee growth in controlled conditions is feasible, South Korea’s Paldang Coffee Farm has maintained some 800 coffee plants for more than a decade within greenhouses at roughly the 37°N parallel.

Yet commercial coffee production continues to take place almost exclusively within the coffee belt, where consistently better conditions for temperature, light and rainfall promote proper development of fruitful coffee plants.

coffee plants

Coffee growing in Brazil. Photo by Jonas Ferraresso.

Thus, it may not be advisable to grow coffee in the potato fields of England. But what if we step outside these lines just a little bit? An increasing number of groups have been exploring this question — particularly with an eye on commercial cultivation — and some answers are to beginning to emerge.

Coffee Fields in the United States

Growing coffee in the U.S. is not new. Hawaii has been harvesting berries for more than a century at roughly the 19°N parallel within the coffee belt, finding broad commercial success along the way.

A more recent example of coffee cultivation has been taking place in California over the past decade, where the private group Frinj Coffee has been leading a network network of farmers and finding encouraging results regarding quantity.

This has taken place in the hills near Santa Barbara at roughly the 34°N parallel, where there is about 17.7 inches (450 millimeters) of annual rain and periods of low temperatures from November to April. Such conditions and associated costs are likely to challenge cultivation on a large scale.

One more interesting coffee cultivation destination has recently emerged from the continental United States, at a point that’s even closer to the coffee belt at about the 28°N parallel: Florida.

Understanding the Needs of the Coffee Tree

Worldwide, the two main coffee species cultivated for commercial consumption are Coffea canephora (robusta) and Coffea arabica (arabica). With robusta preferring hot and wet climates and arabica favoring milder climates, arabica tends to be the focus when cultivation is considered outside the coffee belt — i.e. farther away from the equator.

Originating in the mountains and forests of Ethiopia, the arabica species is cultivated in dozens of countries. Over the years, hundreds of varieties of this plant have emerged through the hands of breeders, farmers or by nature itself.

Each variety has some unique characteristics such as size, productivity, resistance to drought, nutritional needs, resistance to pests and diseases, resistance to low temperatures, quality, and more. Some of the best-known varieties are Caturra, Bourbon, Gesha, etc.

Here I’d like to explore some basic components of arabica cultivation and how it might look in or alongside the citrus groves. Keep in mind, variability is to be expected here, especially given the unique conditions of the Sunshine State:

ripe oranges

ripe oranges

Sunlight: Arabica coffee grows well in shade conditions, although it likes to receive at least 6 hours of light per day, and up to 11-14 for maximum production. That would be feasible in most of Florida, where there is roughly 9 hours of sunshine in December and 15 hours in June. Technologies such as intercropping could filter light and assist farming if the sun is too intense.

Temperature: An adult coffee tree grows well at temperatures between 62.6°F (17°C) and 73.4°F (23°C); however, it can tolerate minimum temperatures of 50°F (10°C) and maximum of 93.2°F (34°C) without major damage to the plant. For short periods some varieties of arabica can tolerate 35.6°F (2°C) without major problems. In the central region of Florida where oranges are grown, the temperature range is between 48.2°F (9°C) and 91.4°F (33°C), which might be suitable for coffee growing. Microjet systems already used in Florida citrus could be adapted to provide temperature control for young coffee trees.

Rain: In places like Polk City, an important producer of citrus fruits, the rainfall average is above 47 inches (1200 millimeters), and distributed throughout the year. The coffee tree develops and produces well with annual rainfall between 1,200 millimeters and 1,800 millimeters, but with volumes of only 800 millimeters, good results can still be achieved. Irrigation could be a solution in the event of drought.

Altitude: Coffee is well known for being produced in high-altitude conditions, to which Florida cannot lay much claim. However, plant growth can succeed if other critical conditions are met, and flatter terrain could potentially facilitate the use of machinery to reduce labor costs.

Soil: This would be one of the biggest challenges, as the Florida citrus region is characterized by sandy soils, mostly Spodsols and Entisols of marine origin. These soils have good water drainage and low nutrient retention. To meet the needs of coffee plants in their different stages throughout the year — growth, flowering, granulation, maturation, etc. — new models for well-structured and fertilization and soil management systems might need to be devised.

coffee

Photo by Jonas Ferraresso.

Could the Coffee Taste Good?

This is one of the most complicated topics in modern coffee cultivation, since coffee quality is the result of a huge number of interrelated variables. Some field variations are fertilizers, management, genetics, temperature, rain, sunlight, etc. After that, variables affecting quality include post-harvest technologies such as drying method, drying speed, type of processing, type of fermentation.

The final stage in quality assessment will come through roasting and brewing, where all those previous factors will come to bear on the finished cup. We don’t yet have an idea of what Florida coffee might “taste” like, but the prospect is intriguing.

Researchers at the University of Florida/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra are already carrying out the first tests to study the feasibility of coffee cultivation in Florida’s citrus-growing region. These may be the first steps towards making “Florida-grown coffee” a reality.

Source: Roast Magazine

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Cannabis Congress: Tulsi Gabbard is a Great Friend of Legalization

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MARIJUANA POLITICS – The News Source For an Informed Citizenry Post by Don Fitch

Tulsi Gabbard legislates for Hawaii’s 2nd District in the House of Representatives. In Congress, she has proven to be an outspoken supporter of cannabis rights on all fronts and introduced a current proposal to completely deschedule marijuana. She will be speaking at the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference in Kauai, December 2017.

Earlier in 2017 Tulsi introduced house bill HR 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, with cosponsor Congressman Tom Garret, R-Virginia.

Tutsi has written thoughtfully on the issue. Her November 2017 statement, Tulsi Gabbard on Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition, should be required reading by all politicians. She makes great sense, mentioning the Schedule I stifling of research, dangerous cash practices with current banking restrictions, and the disastrous War on Drugs damages to the lives of tens of millions of Americans. She states,

Whether an individual chooses to use marijuana or not should be treated the same as whether they choose to use alcohol or tobacco.

The higher the elected office Tulsi attains, the better off America will be. She is an attractive candidate with her progressive views and veteran’s perspective. She served honorably in the Army National Guard, including a tour of duty in Iraq. She has strong and thoughtful opinions and actions to many of the country’s and planet’s key problems. Many of us would like to see her as President.

Hear Representative Tulsi Gabbard in Kauai December 1-3 at the ICBC conference. Support her political career at this link.

The post Cannabis Congress: Tulsi Gabbard is a Great Friend of Legalization appeared first on MARIJUANA POLITICS.

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Oregon volleyball rallies from early deficit to beat Illinois State in five

Oregon volleyball remains undefeated on the season, winning their final game of the Oregon Invitational against Illinois State 3-2 within the friendly confines of Mathew Knight Arena Saturday afternoon.

In a series that went down to the wire, Oregon (3-0) was able to claim the victory in the fifth set despite stumbling early.

Oregon found itself with some ground to make up after they lost a hard-fought first set 25-23. They had trouble slowing the Redbirds, who were able to find their way around the block to score. It was the first time this season that Oregon has trailed in a game.

Rather than roll over, the Ducks used the adversity as a wakeup call. They played with more energy in the second set, dominating Illinois State 25-10. Improved efficiency was also key, with the Ducks hitting .706 in the second.

Oregon continued to swing momentum their way in the third, winning yet another lopsided affair 25-12.

The Redbirds completed a rally of their own in the fourth, winning the set to keep their hopes alive. However, Oregon was able to finally clamp down in the final set to win the series.

The Ducks had several players standout in the game. Senior outside hitter Liz Brenner unsurprisingly led the team in kills with 17 while adding 17 digs. This continues Brenner’s strong run of play to open the season. Joining in her success was a pair of talented freshman, Taylor Agost and Maggie Scott. Both made impressive plays both offensively and defensively, contributing to the victory.

The win gave the Ducks the unofficial championship for the Oregon Invitational, as both teams were undefeated heading into the contest. Oregon had previously defeated Ohio State on Friday and Central Arkansas early morning Saturday.

The Ducks will now look ahead on the schedule as they prepare to travel to Honolulu, Hawaii to participate in the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The first game will be against St. Johns on Thursday.

Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur

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