My Farm

LavaRock Farm is located in the South Kona region of the Big Island of Hawaii; an area rich in history for its coffee

When I bought the farm, there were over 500 macadamia nut trees and some neglected coffee trees. The farm was overgrown and I soon transformed it into a coffee and fruit estate with 1600 new coffee trees and 200 fruit trees!

I am building pulping facilities, a drying deck and storage areas.

I sell only 100% pure Kona Coffee by way of the ItsKona.Com website and also supply condos with coffee and honey products.

I have always been fascinated with Hawaii. Here is how the farm came to be.

Many years ago, while living in Atlanta, I would listen to the Clark Howard Show, Clark being a local consumer advisor and ex travel agent. On the Friday after Thanksgiving, an airline offered great deals to encourage travel. I missed the first year this happened, however was ready if it happened again. The deal the next year was Atlanta to Hawaii, round trip for $199! I was able to book it and get $182 by using a voucher I had.

Over the years I had not spent much time with my younger Sister and decided to take her along with me.

The dreaded lava rock!First, let me say that I am NOT superstitious! There is always a scientific explanation for every occurrence (even if we don’t see the link). I believe in gravity, magnetism, and many other phenomena which I cannot see. I don’t believe in magic (unless you are talking about sleight of hand), nor do I believe in “luck” in and of itself. Luck is just catching a run of similar occurrences.With that out of the way, now I must tell you the following story which started on the island of Kauai…Driving southward on Kauai from Wailua, I passed the Russian Fort and arrived in the quaint town of Waimea. Just over the bridge is a left turn into the Lucy Wright Beach Park. Captain Cook landed here in 1778. The beach is somewhat dark as there appears to be ground lava in the sand. Also common on the beach are small lava rocks.
The actual lava rock in its natural setting I decided to make a souvenir of one of the rocks which just fit in my hand and had a nice texture. It was to sit on top on my computer at the office for a year.The Hawaiian post offices receive many packages of lava rocks which people have returned. There is a reason why.I had heard stories of bad luck following people who take things from the islands. “Ha!” I thought. Let me tell you just SOME of the things that happened to me after taking this rock.In just a 10 day period the following happened to me:

  • March 7th – The lawnmower broke
  • March 11th – My new PC arrived “dead on arrival”
  • March 13th – My washing machine fan belt caught fire
  • March 16th – The garage door opener bit the dust
  • March 17th – My tire blew out and I had to change it in the pouring rain
  • March 18th – I came home from work to find that the toilet mechanism had broken and 8 hours worth of water had been shooting all over the bathroom

Throughout the rest of the year many other things happened to me. Some may have been “rock related” and some may not. They included such things as my windshield breaking, cancer in the family, numerous missed opportunities, termites and so on. Any one of these problems could be easily explained, but taken together, I knew there was something else at work here. This was the worst year of any I have had so far.

There are many stories about lava rocks and bad luck. One explanation is that a tour bus operator on the Big Island was so tired of cleaning up lava dust, that he made up a story about lava being bad luck, so people would not bring them on the bus.

Others think that Pele (the goddess) brings the bad luck. Certainly those people who have found their houses and selves in the path of flowing lava will attest to bad luck.

Co-workers also began asking me to get rid of “the rock”.

I decided that on my next trip (and not a minute too soon) I would take the rock back.

I carried the rock in an anti-static bag (can’t be too careful) and arrived safely back on the same beach. I took a few pictures of the lava because I really liked the rock. I put it on the sign at the park and snapped a shot, then headed down to where I first found it.

Tom and Lampy Lowy (my Bed and Breakfast hosts) suggested that I place a small offering with the rock, or that I wrap the rock in ti leaves before putting it on the beach. Ti leaves are supposed to bring good luck (let’s not go off on that tangent right now). In order to get ti leaves I would have had to “take them” from the side of the road. I opted for the small “offering” instead. Tom suggested a quarter. Anything more than a quarter and he wanted to know where I was putting the money. He is making jokes while I’m trying to get rid of “the rock”.

Anyway, to make a long story even longer, I was there at the beach and ready to put the rock down. Near me is a truck and a local fisherman. Over to my left is the Russian Fort and a number of tourists standing looking at me and the beach. I waited until the fisherman left and took a final close-up shot of the rock in my hand.

Here is where it gets pretty weird, and that is assuming that you don’t think this is weird already…

I had been standing on the beach for maybe 4 minutes for the fisherman to leave. I leaned down, placed the rock (with a quarter underneath it) on the sand and stood up. I put the camera to my eye and as I started to click the picture, I felt water at my feet. I snapped the picture, lowered the camera and looked down. The rock was gone! I swear I’m not making this up, the lava rock was gone! No other waves had come recently nor later, but as the picture shows, there is water there in this shot.

I have no idea what the tourists saw, but when I jumped, I heard laughter from some of them.

It was probably just a coincidence that the wave came along just as I put the rock on the beach, right? Anyway, the rock is back where I found it and I have had only minor problems since then.

When it comes right down to it, I’m not sure whether I had bad luck or coincidental problems. In any event, I did come to realize that if tourists like me take things from the islands, the islands and their people suffer. Imagine what Mount Rushmore would look like if every visitor took just a little chuck of it home with them. Imagine what the forest would look like if every visitor cut just one tree.

I think the island needed the lava rock more than I did, and I returned it. It just wasn’t worth the trouble!


Since my first trip, I began to follow a path to move there. Friends will attest that I became driven to get there. Almost everything I did would bring the decision “will this get me any closer to moving to Hawaii?”

I began to travel two weeks at a time, twice a year and visited almost every one of the neighbor islands. Each iland had pros and cons and had money not been an issue, could have lived on many of the islands. However, I decided that the Big Island (the one with the active volcano) would be my home. The Kona side best suited my desire for sunlight, rainfall and leisure. However, to actually have a reasonable plot of land, I needed to buy a leasehold farm. This allowed me room to myself, yet also have the opportunity to create some income.

Soon, my computer company decided to offer early retirement packages and I was eligible. I ended up with an 8+ acre farm with a house and 500 macadamia nut trees. Although the farm needed a lot of work, it also had many possibilities.

I decided to remove the macadamia trees and plant coffee trees. After the addition of 1600 coffee trees on the upper part of the property, I decided to diversify and plant the lower half in a wide variety of fruit trees. I added 80,000 gallons of rainwater catchment tanks and associated drip lines for irrigation.

The farm continues to be a work in progress.

The Big Island has most of the worlds climate zones. Here is the type of weather I have at my farm.


Subcategory of Humid Tropical Climates (A)

A 70-mile sliver of Hawai‘i Island southwest coastline and uplands, home to snorkelers’ haven Kealakekua Bay and the famed Kona coffee farm belt, is the only place in the entire Hawaiian archipelago with an extensive area of this climate. Here, the prevailing tradewinds that cool the Islands are cut off by the immense peak elevations of 13,678-foot Mauna Loa and 8,271-foot Hualālai volcanoes, and warm sea breezes provide much of the air circulation. Afternoon rainfall is common in this zone due to higher land-surface temperatures strengthened by sea breezes and convective instability and mornings are cool—a plus for coffee growers. Winters are typically dry in this zone and rainfall is heaviest in the summer.