Last year, representatives of the Hawaii Coffee Association kindly guided Roast magazine staffers on a tour of four commercial coffee farms in Kona, Hawaii’s most heralded coffee-growing region. Now one of those farms, 10-year-old Kona Earth, is being put on the market, with a listing starting at $875,000.
Former electronics programmer turned coffee farmer Gary Strawn and his family have been tending to the farm for the past decade, developing it into a viable commercial operation while building the Kona Earth brand through direct-to-consumer sales. The farm occupies some 13 acres at about 2,000 feet of elevation in North Kona, supporting some 4,000+ Kona typica trees, along with other crops such as macadamia nut, pineapple and avocado.
Strawn, a past president of the Kona Coffee Council, recently told Daily Coffee News that it was a difficult decision to decide to sell the farm in favor of more leisurely pursuits, but he hopes a sale will result in continuous operation of the farm as a commercial enterprise. Coffee-related facilities on the property include a three-story, 3,000-square-foot barn, workers’ quarters with a bath and kitchenette, a 1,300-square-foot drying deck with parchment chute, a climate controlled storage room and numerous pieces of ancillary equipment such as pulpers and fermentation tanks.
The main living quarters on site includes 1,492 square feet of living area plus a 786-square-foot covered deck with two bedrooms and two baths. Strawn said the listing has immediately attracted buyers who may be casually interested in the lifestyle of farming in Hawaii, but he says he’s hoping to attract buyers more interested in handling day-to-day farming and business development operations.
“It is an established business with a proven income stream,” Strawn said. “Most Kona farms, when examined closely, are either small part-time hobby farms or large corporate-owned operations. Finding a productive, profitable, single-family farm is more difficult than it seems.”
Strawn is also one of the founding members of Daylight Mind, a boutique roastery, restaurant and coffee education business in Kona. While Strawn is no longer part of the day-to-day operations of Daylight Mind, he is making his shares of the business optionally available as part of a potential Kona Earth deal. Additionally, the Kona Earth business and brand are also optionally available.
Strawn describes Kona Earth’s crop health as in great shape after years of careful development, saying the current inventory is producing approximately 15,000 pounds per acre, an exceptionally high number relative to most farms of Kona Earth’s size, if accurate.
Asked whether he’d be willing to provide any assistance to potential new owners regarding agronomy and farm management, Strawn said, “The farm is our baby so we want to see it grow and flourish. We want to find a buyer capable of taking the farm and business to the next level.”