Judd’s Latest South Pacific Adventure
With the demand for kava increasing in recent years, the current available supply of mature kava has dwindled. Some of our favorite Bula Kava House suppliers have increased their prices, while also cutting back on the amount of kava they have available. Once a grower exhausts their kava supplies, a quick phone call or trip to the store will not help to replenish the inventory. Kava takes years to fully mature once planted. Unfortunately, the promise of future kava – and let us just say that what’s recently been planted in response to the current shortage has the potential to be truly phenomenal in a few years – won’t fill the current demand of our Portland kava bar patrons or those who buy kava online from our store.
With some of our current suppliers replanting kava for the future, this made an excellent opportunity for Bula owner Judd Rench to visit the South Pacific to talk with farmers, exporters, kava enthusiasts and experts to discover previously unexplored kava farms, and diversify the types of kava we can offer our customers. Judd spent six weeks traveling to Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. And while Judd found much of what he expected – supplies at an all-time low in many of the primary kava growing regions – he also found a few new plantations growing truly amazing kava.
Introducing Taveuni Waka Kava Powder
In Fiji, Judd was encouraged to visit Taveuni Island, which is known as the “Garden Island” due to its fertile soil and excellent growing conditions. On the island, Judd visited a large family farm that has been growing kava for generations. The tour of the kava farm was incredibly impressive, and left an immensely positive impression.
The farmers are dedicated to sustainable growing practices by planting kava among native vegetation and other cash crops, a long-standing practice among many older kava producers. Not only does this type of growing practice help kava plants thrive by providing the optimal combination of shade and soil rich nutrients, it also allows farmers to diversify what crops they can sell.
We’re excited to say that the kava produced at the farm is of exceptional quality. The kava is certified noble, grown organically, is a minimum of 3 ½ years old prior to harvest, and – best of all – it’s the most potent kava grown anywhere in Fiji.
The family that owns the farm also possesses an exceptional commitment to ensuring the success of their community. Over many generations, the growers of Taveuni Waka have worked to improve the lives of their friends and neighbors by providing:
- Scholarships for education.
- Job training for women within the community.
- Homes, training and jobs for at-risk youth.
- Vocational education for young men interested in learning farming techniques.
- Financial support in the wake of Cyclone Winston, which destroyed 98 percent of the homes on Taveuni Island and 95 percent of crops.
We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work with people so committed to not only practicing sustainable kava farming practices, but who also share a true commitment to improving the lives of the Taveuni Island community.
Taveuni Waka is now currently available for sale through Bula Kava House’s online store. We’re sure that once you experience the smooth flavor and potent “heady” euphoria Taveuni Waka provides, this uncovered Fiji gem will quickly become a new favorite varietal.
Coming Soon – ‘Ava Fagaloa Kava Powder
If finding one incredible new supplier of some of the world’s best kava wasn’t enough, we’re also pleased to announce the addition of ‘Ava Fagaloa kava powder to Bula’s inventory.
While in Samoa, Judd was connected to a community of family farmers by a Fagaloan High Chief. The farmers are located in a region of Samoa that had been a major kava producer prior to the European ban on kava imports. Unlike most Samoan farmers who stopped growing kava entirely after the ban, this community decided to band together to grow enough kava that export wasn’t out of the question. Located on the island of Fagaloa – long believed to be the best kava growing region in Samoa – these farm still produce enough kava to still be able to export after meeting local demands.
Following a few days of negotiation, it was agreed that Bula Kava House would receive imports of some of the best kava Samoa has to offer. Not only are we happy to play a role in helping to restore kava as a cash crop in Samoa, we’re also thrilled to be not only one of a small handful of companies importing Samoan kava in the world, but the only importer of ‘Ava Fagaloa kava. Finding great Samoan kava is a rarity, and we’re eager to introduce ‘Ava Fagaloa to the U.S. and Portland kava communities in the near future.
More to Come in the New Year
While we can’t go into further details at the moment, let’s briefly say that we also have some exciting new kava coming from Tonga and Vanuatu in 2017 as well. Stayed tuned to the Bula Kava House blog to find out more about these varietals closer to when they become available.
The current global kava shortage has caused increased prices and the decreased availability of many of your favorite kava varieties. At Bula Kava House, we greatly appreciate your understanding and willingness to adapt during this historic low point in kava production. However, after looking to diversify our available products, we were able to find two exciting new kava powders that may have gone unnoticed had we not met the wonderful farmers on Taveuni Island and Fagaloa. We hope that you’re as excited to try Taveuni Waka and ‘Ava Fagaloa kava as we are to bring these unique and wonderfully enjoyable kavas to the Bula Kava House community. Enjoy.