Hawaii '05
Journal notes  #7

Baron Sasaki is a farmer.
The farm is located in the Kainaliu section on the oceanside of Rt 11. His father began farming this area in 1948. Now, Baron and his brother own the 13 1/2 acres that looks out over the Keauhou golf course to the mighty Pacific. Baron's brother is a wholesaler of produce and Baron produces much of it.

I meet Baron and ride backwards in the backhoe seat of his beloved Kubota 245
(just like mine in Maine)
as we tour the land. Avocados predominate the land. He reports that there are 13 varieties here . One is the size and spherical shape of our candlepin bowling ball - It's called "Cashline". A more traditional shaped variety is called "Pinkerton" that Baron brought the rights to it when he was farming in California, before his return here 23 years ago.

Many of the huge Avocado trees had started from seed and were branched. Farmer Sasaki cuts them off about two feet above the ground and inserts scions from one of the "named trees"
(like apples avocados don't come true from seed and must be changed to a recognized type by grafting some wood or a bud from the parent tree.) Baron reports "
I don't show anyone how I graft." After the new wood has been installed with his secret process, this sensitive creation must be shaded from the tropical sun, and Byron constructs a cardboard roof for the metal frame he has welded in his shop.

His brother practices a type of plant reproduction called "
air layering". A cut is made in the branch and a small wooden wedge inserted in the cut. Moist sphagnum moss is wrapped around the wound and the whole is wrapped in a waterproof wrap - He uses foil. After a while roots form in the moss and the branch is then cut from it's mother, below the new  roots and planted. Baron thinks much less of this method because the started roots are much weaker. But treelets by this method can be sold or moved.

Most of the older trees have ancient rubber tires around them. His father used this method to identify the ones he had planted vs. those that came from seed. Also among these relics are old broken bottles - some have become "cemetery glass" a term to indicate the purple cast that old glass takes from being exposed to sunlight for decades. Here is a fragment with a "sunken bottom" .

Baron has a rare banana that produces only double bunches (hands) of fruit. It is also a very short variety - rare indeed !

An oriental squash is also one of the Sasaki's specialties. If it has the usual bumps and spots it is sold as is. But if it is blemish free and well colored, Baron carefully wraps it in a tissue paper sewing pattern and it sells for a premium.

Baron's wife Katherine works as a masseuse at one of the grand hotels. Their farm is a fascinating collection of history and assorted processes that speaks well of these creative people who love the land. They are a energetic and engaging couple. Their warmth and generosity is well know in this community.


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