Continuing in my Hawaii posts…
If you’re planning a trip to Oahu and want to see what good island produce looks like as well as get an insight into the local culture, head to the Kapiolani Community College’s Saturday Farmer’s Market which is sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation and the Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Kapiolani Community College (where my friend Adriana teaches). Where is it? Well, if you’re staying in Waikiki and head towards Diamond Head, you’ll see the large crowd of cars parked in a big parking lot near the entrance to the landmark. This also has to be one of the prettiest community college’s around and all with an ocean view from most points on campus! After you eat your way through the market, it would be a great idea to hike up the mountain and take in the sights.
This farmer’s market is great for local residents who have so long relied on so much of their food being shipped in from the mainland. Many supermarkets I have been to in Hawaii have very sad looking produce departments – tired old carrots, wrinkly apples, moldy oranges and onions – mostly because (depending on the item) from the time it is picked in a field in California (or insert any other state), it’s probably sometimes a MONTH before it hits shelves in Hawaii. This is truly sad. With gorgeous volcanic soils on the islands and great year-round weather, I am glad that some people are foregoing the urge to be greedy (by selling land to real estate developers) and have decided to get back to the soil by farming in small plots – locally and most times pesticide-free or organically. With gas prices sky-rocketing all over the world, it is also good to buy locally to save on the shipping costs (and help the environment by reducing emissions) and the produce is sooo much fresher! What’s great is that many local chefs have gone on the local produce band wagon and have been promoting it a lot more now.
I was also so happy to see that North Shore Farms are growing juicy, sweet, multi-colored heirloom tomatoes. It wasn’t that long ago when the only tomatoes that you could find in Hawaii were these hard red bullets and/or shipped from California. They also sell their extremely popular tomato, mozzarella and macadamia basil pesto pizza every week.
You’ll also find locally produced honey, herbs, greens, eggs, hormone-free beef, sausages, organic drinks, pastries, bread and even sea asparagus! A must to quench your thirst is a fresh ginger ale from Pacifikool made with locally grown ginger root. They serve two varieties – Hawaiian and Thai variety ginger syrups with vary slightly. I personally like the Hawaiian one because it has more spice. The lines are very long but it’s definitely worth the wait! Don’t forget to try the great sausages at Kukui Sausage Company. I really liked the Kim Chee and Pastele sausages – yum! The woman in the booth was looking at me very suspiciously when I started taking photos and wasn’t particularly friendly – did she think I was going to steal her idea? Little did she know that I liked her sausages and wanted to write about them. Regardless of the not-too-friendly service I got, I still think their sausages are unique and tasty. Pomai of Tasty Island has great posts on local island cuisine and on these particular sausages.
I noticed that a few other food bloggers out in blogland have written extensive posts of this farmer’s market so I won’t go on about what I ate or what I did. I’d rather leave you with some gorgeous photos that I took that day. I have loved farmer’s markets since I was a kid and whenever I travel, I definitely seek out the local market and always come away with having learned or discovered something new and I hope you do too.