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Kona Coffee Legend Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

June 27, 2022, 10:30 AM HST
* Updated June 27, 10:16 AM
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Tom Greenwell recently earned a U.S. House of Representatives Lifetime Achievement Recognition. PC: Greenwell Farms

A South Kona coffee legend earned high honors recently for his work putting Hawai‘i’s staple crop on the map.

Congressman Kai Kahele presented Tom Greenwell with a U.S. House of Representatives Lifetime Achievement Recognition for his trailblazing efforts in the Hawai‘i coffee industry during the recent Hawaii Coffee Association’s annual conference.

On behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kahele extended his mahalo for Greenwell’s lifelong pursuit and commitment to the state’s coffee industry, noting in his accolades in a press release on Monday, June 27 that Greenwell’s leadership has been instrumental in setting up Hawai‘i coffee for success.

“I am humbled by this recognition,” Tom Greenwell, Greenwell Farms president, said in the release.  “Our family farm’s legacy has grown into five generations reflecting back onto our tradition of hard work and quality in all we do.”

Tom Greenwell, great-grandson of Henry Nicholas Greenwell, was born in Kona and raised in Waimea at Kukaiau Ranch. Tom returned home to Kona more than 40 years ago where he took the job of mechanic for W.H. Greenwell Ranch in 1980. After his father’s passing in 1992, Tom took the reins of Greenwell Farms and today, the fifth-generation farm is a leader in Kona’s coffee industry. Tom is a founding member and former president of the Hawai‘i Coffee Association as well as a winner of several farm awards and responsible for growing the success of Greenwell Farms.

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Greenwell Farms Legacy

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Greenwell Farms began in 1850 when Henry Nicholas Greenwell left England and first set foot on the fertile soil of rural Kona. Henry spent the next 40 years farming, ranching and perfecting his Kona coffee, soon exporting it to Europe and the Americas. In 1873, the president of the Kaiser’s Exposition in Vienna, Austria awarded the Greenwell’s a “Recognition Diploma” for their Kona coffee at the World’s Fair.

The family tradition continues today, nearly 175 years later, with fourth-generation farmers Tom and Jennifer Greenwell. Their team now includes son Ben, the farm’s fifth generation, who work to maintain the tradition of high quality Kona coffee at Greenwell Farms.

Free tours of its coffee farm and processing facilities highlighting the century old arabica coffee trees and the various tasks involved in hand-picking and processing of the coffee cherry are available every day from 8:30am to 4:30 pm. Tours culminate at the Greenwell Farms Store where visitors can sample various roasts and Kona coffee products are available.

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Among the farm’s accolades and awards are:

• Selected as one of the 10 Best Food Factory Tours in the nation according to readers of USA Today.

• Featured on Wheel of Fortune Hawai‘i: PBS “Coffee, The Drink that Changed America”

• Named As One Of World’s Greatest Coffee Experiences in Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour Book

• Hawai‘i Coffee Association’s Top State of Hawai‘i Award in the Creative Division for its Signature Series Elizabeth J, a Pacamara varietal.

• Named Best Agriculture Tourism Destination by Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism

• Hawaii Coffee Association’s State of Hawai‘i Top Overall Score

• Hawai‘i Magazine Reader’s Choice Award

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