Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Farmer's Market Hawaiian Style

Saturday is Farmer's Market Day around the world.

Today we are venturing out to find the local market just up the road from us @ Waianae.   This one's new to us, and we like the closer proximity than driving clear to the base of Diamond Head for the big-gy there.

When we take the grandbabies to market with us, I make a game for them of finding 5 (or 10) items that they find here on the island that they would NOT see at their local Farmer's Market in Portland (which they frequent).   It's a fun game for all of us.

However, I have the same mindset as we travel ~ visiting local Farmer's Markets is one of our favorite things to do ~ and I'm constantly seeking out what's new or different than back home, be it in Thailand, in Prague, in Australia, or in Japan.  Or in Hawaii.

Even today I discover some things I haven't seen before.

Like these multi-colored eggs.  They are not dyed, the free-range chickens just lay them like this, in all shades of white and brown and pink and green.  Awesome!  L & A, I told you Noni would send pictures!  

The fresh produce is wonderful.  We take home tender little baby carrots and radishes, super sweet Daikon radishes, 
and some baby fennel bulbs.

Just look at the size (and color) of this Swiss chard!

And check out this huge Curly Kale!

We see several varieties of local squash, 
and Maui's sweet onions.

I found it interesting that they label the source, 
so you know what's local and what's not.  

These ingredients will be the base of our 'Eating Smart' dishes for the coming few evenings, as well as a tray of fresh veggies (with a little humus for dipping) for snacking by the pool in the afternoon.  So much better than chips, but you still get to crunch something!

These little ones are enjoying the shave ice (also very native Hawaiian).  
I see three straws, and only one shave ice, 
so I believe they are supposed to be sharing.  
I'm not sure how all that worked out in the end.

And some have gathered for a private picnic of their own.  

I got the impression that the one wearing the princess crown 
is fully in charge.

We liked the smaller venue, where the locals are selling what they grew themselves.   The vendors had time to chat and interact, where sometimes the press of the crowd at the larger events prevents that.  

Orchids are the star here ~

And a local musician has this corner.

We found an organic cafe' represented here, which has an upcoming 'Farm-to-Table' program, which includes dinner and a trip to the farm.  I'm excited about that prospect!

We find a family of fresh-baked bread bakers; he gives us his gma'a recipe for Hawaiian sweet bread and eggs.  I will share it once we try it!

The Hawaiian culture is not best-known for healthy eating.  Their normal diet includes lots of starch, lots of fatty foods, topped off with more starch.  We like to come early and have breakfast at market ~ but it was tough to find much that fit our lifestyle.  

These fresh spiral potato chips were  fascinating, especially 'cause we got to watch them being made.   This is just one giant (Costco-sized) potato, and is cooked in one long spiral.

It's hard to make it out, but he's using a power drill 
to turn the potato cutter.

When deep fried and sprinkled with sea salt, I think they look delicious.  But it's breakfast time, remember, so we pass on sampling it.   

Then I take a closer look, and I see that they are loading up this deep fried chip;  they pile on cheese and jalapenos and goodness knows what else ~ including a hot dog ~ to make a humongous nacho-type dish.  And they were sellin' like hot cakes.  Even though it's just 9:30 am, there's a long line waiting for their own Twisted Tater.  
I think I might have gained an entire pound 
just by standing too close.

We pass on this, too.  Feels too much like breakfast in Japan ~ 
 ~ all 30 of them.  I think I've fulfilled my lifetime quota.

We end up here, at Manny's sausage company, where we meet Manny and his wife and family.  He's a character, telling me it's OK if I take pictures for my blog as long as I don't show his face.  'Cause he's got a warrant out.  I nearly believed him.

They make all their own sausages; and he is the author of some kind of famous soup.  All served up in ample portions over rice.  

He talks to me about how different the islands are now.  That in the past (his father's generation, even), they were less dependent on everything being imported.  'There were mostly farms here', he tells me sadly.  'We raised cattle and pigs and chickens.  I still raise quail and rabbits, but the bigger farms are all gone now.  It's sad, because we are producing less for ourselves, and becoming more dependent on imports as time goes by'.

They were lovely people, and he insisted that I try a sample of his special recipe soup, which is a sort of Hawaiian chicken & dumplings.  The dumplings he makes himself, using shredded green banana.  I know, right?!?  Really Hawaiian!  I've not had anything quite like it before.

They were wonderful people, so nice to make their acquaintance.  And we look forward to seeing them again and again during our time on the island.

One of my most exciting finds of the day was this shredded green papaya.   While @ cooking class in Chiang Mai, we made a green papaya salad, a very popular Thai dish that is found on the menu in most restaurants. It's unique and delicious, but  I have not been able  to recreate it back home ~ because truly green papayas are difficult to find!   So I was delighted to find this pre-shredded, it will become a base for one of those big salad + small protein dinners I've been talking about.

All in all, it was a really fun outing. I appreciate having a direct connection to my food.  It must come from back in the farm days!  I can remember summers in the out-of-doors, where we rarely went back to the house for lunch.  We simple headed to the garden.  We pulled up radishes & carrots, picked fresh tomatoes & cucumbers, washed 'em all off with the garden hose, and indulged until our little tummy's were full.   

And when we harvested those gardens in the fall, there would be hours of picking and prepping, and then Mama' would spend days and days and days canning and stocking the pantry and freezer with food to supplement the chickens that we raised and the side of beef and the pig that we also 'put up' for the season.   And that was our winter supply of food. Daily milk from the cows, thick cream for butter, and eggs from the chickens filled out the menu.  I'm sure we went to the grocery store for other items, but I simply do not remember doing so.

I was very little back then, pre-school / kindergarten age; but everybody participated, everybody had their part to play.  Even us little ones had chores that matched our age. 

So perhaps that explains it  ~  my desire to be (to stay) connected to my food source.  Farmer's markets are a great place to do that; they're an education in the food culture of that region; and are a wonderful way to connect to the farmers and the neighbors who live there ~ some wonderful 'salt-of-the-earth' people, all across the world.

And the drive home wasn't so bad, either......


  1. I will show the grandkids what Noni found at the market...

  2. Thanks my dear ~ they were blown away with the idea of actual 'green eggs'. No ham.

  3. I want to go there! I really loved the one you took us to at the base of Diamond Head too! But, what a fun one this looks like!
    The radishes!!! Wow, those look great – sort of like those French radishes I get at Whole Foods. To wander through the market listening to ukulele music and smelling all the food cooking! Therapeutic to the soul! I noticed a basket in the photo with the guy playing music – is that one of those they weave there?
    The ocean shot you posted on the way home is great!!

    1. We'll do this next time you come. It's a whole different vibe, being so small. We liked it allot. The radishes were so tender, quite a nice find. We like to take a tray of veggies to the pool in the afternoon, they were delicious dipped in hummus. And yes, the basket is woven from palm fronds. I bought one years ago in Maui, and it is my bread basket for the dinner table back home. And the ocean view .........well, that's the drive from here to there. Life is good!

  4. A fun trip to the market. We also enjoy our local markets & learning new ways to eat the produce. It was at one of these markets where we learned that raw sweet corn, yep raw, is really deliciously sweet, right off the cob.

    1. I've seen it that done (served raw) on cooking shows ~ can't say I've tried it, though it sounds delicious. Several times in other countries I've seen roasted corn on the cob served on a stick ~ and we never ever pass that up!


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