By Bruce Milletto
On their continuing world coffee tour for the
upcoming film A Passionate Harvest, video producer Bruce Milletto,
writer Kenneth Davids and the Bellissimo film crew found themselves
in Kona, Hawaii, documenting the harvest of the only coffee grown
on American soil.
Davids, the films scriptwriter, arrived in Hawaii a week before
the rest of the crew and developed an itinerary that included visits
to noteworthy and scenic coffee sites and interviews with growers
and other coffee personalities. His early arrival and planning made
our Hawaii stop the easiest and least problematic of all our film
shoots this year.
The crew arrived during the final days of the
two-week Kona Coffee and Cultural Festival, which gave us the opportunity
to film some cupping sessions and a very colorful and down-home parade.
The highlight of our shoot was filming the historic
Japanese Uchida Farm. The farm operates much the way it did 100 years
ago, and we were fortunate to document the way farmers lived, grew
and harvested coffee a century before. Two wonderful Japanese women
exhibited life on the farm for us, and we followed them as they picked
fresh vegetables that grew among the rows of coffee, lit a wood fire
in the kitchen and prepared the crew a traditional early-century meal.
Another day found us high in the hills visiting
the counter-culture farm of Terry Fitzgibbons. Terry stopped in Kona
over 20 years ago on his way to Australia for a job as a physicist
and never left. He was one of the original "young hollee"
farmers, taking over an abandoned coffee farm and turning it into
a producing property. Living off the land in what might be best described
as a tree house, Terry won the Kona Fests award for best coffee
a few years ago.
Much work is being done in Hawaii in the field
of coffee genetics, and the crew flew to Oahu to visit these government
and university labs. One of the many projects scientists in these
labs are working on is to genetically engineer a coffee plant that
will produce beans without caffeine. These plants could be available
to growers as early as 2002.
are many people to thank for making our trip to Hawaii possible. For
the duration of our film shoot, the staff of Current Events (the same
agency that puts on the Iron Man Competition) arranged for us to stay
in luxurious suites. Kudos also go to Captain Cook Coffee in Kona,
whose financial assistance was generous and defrayed many of our expenses.
Special thanks to Sheree Chase, director of the Uchida Farm, for her
bright intellect and gracious hospitality that helped make our trip
a truly memorable experience.
The final days of our trip were spent relaxing
with the Ss: scuba, snorkeling, sun, sand, shots of various
well, use your imagination! As we relaxed on
the beach, we prepared ourselves mentally for our final shoot in Ethiopiaonly
Bruce Milletto is president of Bellissimo
Coffee InfoGroup, a company dedicated to providing high quality
educational materials, personalized business consulting and custom
media production for the Specialty Coffee Industry.
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