A few weeks ago we received a message on the Coolibar Facebook page from an enthused Coolibar customer. “I’ve done my share of shopping for your wonderful clothing this year. I wear your long sleeve blouses almost every day. I have a coffee farm in Kona, Hawaii.” This comment from Marian sparked our interested as it’s not everyday you meet a Hawaiian coffee farmer who shares the same passion for sun protection as we do! We decided to contact her and find out more about her Kona coffee farm, Hualalai Mauka, and how sun protection plays a role in her life as a farmer.
Our farm is 4 acres in the northern end of the Kona district on the Big Island of Hawaii. We live in a little farming and artsy village of Holualoa. We only sell 100% pure Kona coffee. We have customers all over the world including Latvia, England, Australia, Poland, Sweden, France and Finland.
In addition to coffee, we grow pineapples, bananas, papayas, avocados, citrus, sugar cane, macadamia nuts and some other tropical fruit. All of our crops are labor intensive. My husband and I do most of the work ourselves. Neither my husband nor [I] had any prior experience in farming.
We live at 2000 foot elevation. We typically have sunny mornings and cloudy afternoons in this area. Most of the time there is rain for a while in the afternoon. The temperature is in the mid-70s.
We go into Kona for coffee and a walk in the morning. Kona is the hottest area in the state of Hawaii. It is mostly sunny all of the time. I wear long sleeves and pants when I go into town.
I am in and out of the house all day. Whenever I think that I will have a nice shady afternoon in the office, I find myself working outside. I need to be covered up in anticipation of all of the last minute calls to attention for out crops or to show visitors around the property. Even though it is cloudy in the afternoon, I try to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants.
I was diagnosed with a mild case of Lupus several years ago. I burn easily. I have an ongoing battle with sun problems on my face and arms.
I use Coolibar items almost every day. I mostly wear the shirts. I also use the zip up swimming shirt and long swim pants whenever I go in the water. I wear the long sleeve pull over t-shirts. I [particularly] like the bamboo one (ZnO Long-sleeve T-Shirt). I also like the styling of the Coolibar clothes and the fabric because it looks neat still after washing. The shirts are also nice and cool.
People I see think I am a bit strange for wearing long sleeve shirts when it is 90o in downtown Kona or at the beach especially when they are wearing very few clothes. I do a lot of talking about how good the Coolibar clothes are and the need for sun protection.