Tasting Hawaii

Meet the entrepreneurs behind the Aloha State's budding industry, agritourism, and bring an appetite!

Cacao pods
Tours weren't part of the original plan, but after seeing other farms' success with agritourism, the couple began offering visits by appointment for $10 a person from Wednesday through Friday at 9:30 A.M. Pam started us out with a taste of the finished chocolate. I'm a dark-chocolate fan, and the Coopers' has a less bitter, sweeter, more fruity taste than most. Next Bob walked us out to the backyard, where our chocolate began. Three wild turkeys gobble and strut around mounds of cacao beans drying in the sun. "There's a peacock somewhere around here too," Bob casually mentions.

Ducking under the canopy of the Coopers' 1,350 cacao trees reveals a quiet carnival of colors. Ridged, oval-shaped red, yellow and green cacao pods hang down from the branches and range in length from the tip of my pinky to some nine inches long and six inches wide.

Bob used a cleaver to open each cacao pod and extract its 30 to 40 beans. As he sliced, lime-green geckos scurried across the wooden table to feast on the detritus. The beans will ferment for a week before drying in the sun. The Coopers will age the beans for two years to allow the flavor to fully develop before the chocolate-making process begins.

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Coffee, tea and - geckos The author tours Hawaii's farms, and sees some surprising sights. (more)
Raising 5 kids, 300 pounds of vanilla The Reddekopps are growing a big family and a profitable vanilla business in Hawaii. (more)
Getting buzzed in Hawaii Tasting different types of java on a coffee mill tour. (more)

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.