Cultural Observations of Macadamia in Hawaii

Cultural Observations of Macadamia in Hawaii


Wells W. Miller*

Reprint From CMS Yearbook 1969


I recall that Elwood Trask told me that when he visited Kauai last fall he was very well treated by Mr. Francis Takahashi, a recently retired County Agent (Farm Advisor here), whom he found was very cordial, highly knowledgeable, and much interested in Macadamias. So shortly after arriving here in October this year (1969), I phoned Mr. Takahashi for an appointment and a visit to Macadamia planting on the Island of Kauai.


The first stop was a 12-acre mature Macadamia orchard of Mr. Stanley Momahara. He has a husking machine and drying facilities. The drying is done in wire mesh boxes about one foot deep, 4 feet by 6 feet. This permits enough air circulation to prevent mold and does a certain amount of drying. Mr. Momahara sells his crop to Royal Hawaiian in Hilo and is well pleased with the arrangement. A bonus is allowed for shipments of one or more at a time and this pays for transportation from Kauai to the Royal Hawaiian plant near Hilo, Hawaii. The price last year was 20 cents per pound.


The orchard is clean of grass and weeds. The fact that there are fairly steep contours does not appear to cause erosion. They have a standard practice of eliminating leaves by burning them in place in little pile 6’ high and 3’ in diameter, closely watched. I saw no foliage damage.


Mr. Takahashi then took us through his orchard, which also is quite hilly. He has the weeds and grass fairly well under control using a rotary mower but he is planning to kill off the vegetation with chemicals. He also harvests by hand. He makes considerable use of 4-H youths, paying them 1½ cents per pound.


A matter of interest is that the Soil Conservation Dept. through their A.C.P. pays $10 per acre per year for turning husks back to the soil.


My general observation of Macadamia trees here is that they do not look as flourishing as our best orchards. There is not much Macadamia production on Kauai. I would say that 90 per cent of the Hawaiian Macadamia crop is grown on the big island, Hawaii.


*President and a principal founder of the California Macadamia Society.