April Showers Bring May Flowers...and June Honey!
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A Grove Farm Story . . . Chris Kauwe
“More flowers, more honey.” That was one of many lessons learned while touring beehives at Pu’u Honi crater, which rests on Grove Farm lands in Koloa.
Meet Chris Kauwe, eighteen-year beekeeper and owner of Honi Honi Honey. Naming his business after its location, honi means to kiss; but honi-honi, means to give more than a kiss, which is exactly what you receive when indulging in this local, award-winning honey – 1st Prize at the Kauai County Farm Bureau Fair.
To say that Chris knows a lot about bees is an understatement on his level of expertise but he will be the first to tell you he’s not an expert. Rather, Chris believes an expert is one who’s made every mistake.
The knowledge of farmers and “experts-in-training” is often passed down within families, generation to generation. Much of Chris’ knowledge, however, came from a stranger from Washington State. Early in Chris’ beekeeping career, Hubertus Kohn was vacationing on Kauai. By sheer coincidence, Kohn discovered Chris’ connection to beekeeping while receiving surf lessons from Chris – his second job. Hubertus, currently eighty-three, had been beekeeping since the age of sixteen! Out of kindness and his love of the trade, he offered to share his knowledge, experiences, and mistakes with Chris. To this day, they remain friends.
As Hubertus did with him, Chris began sharing his knowledge with us. We were taught about bees, honey, harvest schedules, market demands, life cycles, seasonality, impacts of environment and weather, new-bee mistakes, and most importantly, avoiding stings. As we got to know Chris, we came away with a greater understanding and deeper appreciation for honey.
Chris still gives surfing lessons at Koa Kea Resort in Poipu, which happens to be one of the three locations to buy his honey – the other two are at Living Foods Market in The Shops at Kukui’ula (Poipu), and the Farmers Market at Kauai Community College (Puhi).
Chris has no plans for expansion or online sales. He enjoys meeting customers face-to-face and believes the local, boutique-feel, keeps customers coming back and asking for Honi Honi Honey by name.