Still don't know what will replace the 450 acres of trees at Guava Kai, yet the fate of this landmark Kauai visitor center and 46 surrounding acres is in good hands with my buddy, Chris Jaeb (via the garden island).
When Kilauea Agronomics decided to shut down its guava processing plant and stop harvesting the tropical fruit on Kauai's North Shore a few months back, Jaeb purchased the hub of the Guava Kai Plantation to prevent the center from shutting down permanently.
Jaeb also founded Malama Kaua‘i to promote sustainable living, and says "we want Guava Kai to become known as a sustainable resource center."
While that could extend to water, waste, housing and energy issues, Jaeb's current focus is on agriculture. Guava Kai will be growing organic vegetables and fruit on-island to be bought and consumed on-island.
Local folks will get their first look at these plans at a "Guava Kai Goes Green" land blessing next Friday.
Jaeb is in the beginning planning stages for a full-on sustainable ag education program.
The first step was to cease pesticide use on the property. "It’s not a sustainable way to farm, says Jaeb. “Modern agriculture emphasizes maximum production at the expense of the soil. Organic and sustainable methods use crop rotation and soil management techniques to ensure the health of the land and the crops it yields."
The core land purchased by Jaeb includes the visitor center, a gift shop, snack bar, administration and processing centers, 6 acres of guava trees and 15 acres of open space.
For the long term, Jaeb’s ideas include a farmers market, resource center, general store stocked with local organic foods, museum and recycling center.
For now, some folks are freaked that the guava trees are disappearing, and, sadly, Jaeb has no say in what happens to the former guava orchard.
Meanwhile, Jaeb has re-hired Guave Kai employees who faced job loss after the change of ownership, and hired Mark Selz as operations manager. Selz says they can produce enough guava on the land they do have to satisfy the tourist demand for jams, jellies and juices.