Kahi Ola Mau Farm and Honokaa Chocolate

Hello again my chocolate loving friends!

While I was visiting Hawai'i I visited Kahi Ola Mau Farm, home of Honokaa Chocolate Co.

Meet Mike Pollard, engineer, farmer and chocolate maker, standing in the entrance to his open air chocolate tasting room on Kahi Ola Mau Farm.

Not everyone can live the dream of retiring to buy a farm on Hawaii, but that's what Mike and Rhonda Pollard did.

Kahi Ola Mau Farm was the original farm where the sugar plantation doctor lived years ago.  When Mike and Rhonda bought it, the farm was overgrown with invasive trees and plants.  They are living in the original house (now expanded).  They are connecting to the history of the farm by keeping the original plantation colors of green with white trim topped with a red roof for the home and buildings. They have truly made it into a picturesque location with a slightly sloped open landscape of crops surrounded by lush forests. 

Mike has been making chocolate for just over three years from Hawaiian cacao as well as cacao from other origins. Their farm is now growing cacao.  Currently they have about 350 cacao trees with the goal of having 1000 trees. In a few years he will be making chocolate from his own trees.

I always say that the personality of the chocolate maker is somehow presented in the chocolate. In this case it shows up in the cacao farm too.  Prior to "retiring" to be a farmer in Hawai'i, Mike was an engineer and it shows in the beautifully straight rows and well organized farm with a huge variety of specialty fruits.  He has banana trees spaced exactly as needed so that the midges can reach all of the cacao trees for pollination, and rotates his crops of white pineapple to make sure that the soil is getting everything it needs.

Beautiful straight rows of white pineapple.

He also has installed protective sleeves on the young cacao trees to stop the Chinese Rose Beetle  damage.  In just one night the beetle can eat through cacao leaves making them look like lace.

Chinese Rose Beetle damage from just one night

Protective sleeves on young cacao plants.

Mike gives tours of the farm then ends the tour with a chocolate tasting, and chocolate tea tasting.  If his white pineapple is in season you might just get to taste a refreshing "phrostie" made from nothing but blended white pineapple too.

Tasting Chocolate

Of course I was carrying chocolate when I arrived.  We tasted some of the chocolate I brought and Mike offered tastes of their chocolate.

The most interesting part was Mike's chocolate made from cacao grown on the same Hawaiian farm but harvested at different times of the year.  One harvest in June, the other in December.  Both bars were 70%.  The bar from the June harvest had much more pronounced floral notes as well as some notes of nuts, a finish reminiscent of fudge and overall tasted sweeter.  The December harvest had the same fudgy and floral notes but definite honey notes as well.  It is so interesting how a different harvest can impact the subtle flavors in chocolate.

Just in case you happen to find yourself in the Honokaa area and want to check the farm or the chocolate here is the contact info.

Site: http://hichocolatefarm.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kahiolamaufarm/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kahiolamau/

Keep tasting chocolate.  Keep traveling.



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