Categorized | Agriculture

HCA bids fond aloha to Virginia Easton Smith

Special to Hawaii 24/7 by Hawaii Coffee Association board member Sharon Wood, Ph.D., Arianna Farms Ono Kona Coffee, LLC

Last December, the HCA bid aloha to Virginia Easton Smith, from the Cooperative Extension Service, UH Manoa. The HCA wants to acknowledge Virginia’s many contributions which can be felt throughout the Hawaiian coffee industry.

Whether consulting in the field, interpreting the latest coffee research one-on-one or in an article, or showing how to use a moisture meter, Virginia’s work spanned the range of topics for producing the highest quality coffee.

Virginia Easton Smith

Virginia and her husband Allan moved to Hawaii in 1981, so she could pursue her degree in horticulture and to get away from the harsh Illinois winters. They planned to stay for three years, but they fell in love with Hawaii and ‘temporary’ turned into 19 years!

After receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees in horticulture, she held several jobs including working for a landscape contractor and as a University of Hawaii field technician. In 1992, came the move to the Kona area to start her position as Agriculture Extension Agent, Cooperative Extension, Service, UH Manoa.

In addition to numerous farm-based educational seminars, she made countless walks of farms, pointing out nutritional needs of various sections, educating about pest control, and more. She also wrote a newspaper column on agriculture for 16 years for the West Hawaii Today and the Hawaii Tribute Herald.

Virginia says that in response to the incredible number of brand new farmers moving into the Kona districts and developing farms, she began a twice monthly, and later once monthly, workshop called Coffee Talk.

She was a regular invited speaker at many professional coffee associations, and at the annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, attendees always looked forward to her workshops and participation with the Picking Contest.

Throughout the years, one thing that coffee people say they especially appreciate has been Virginia’s ability to combine knowledge from the field with the academic science of coffee research. Her kindness and integrity have made her a true friend throughout the coffee community.

At the HCA 14th Annual Conference and Trade Show in July 2009, President Jim Wayman presented the special President’s Award to Virginia Easton Smith for her continual contributions to the Hawaiian Coffee industry.

Virginia continues to share her horticultural expertise with a new community on the Gulf Coast, in her new position as an Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Mahalo, Virginia. We will miss you, and we wish you and your family the very best in your new adventure! Aloha!!!

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