Kauai fresh: from farmers market to auntie’s backyard

Eat Local Challenge - KauaiThursday 3:00 pm, behind the fire station at Hanapepe Park. A whistle blows and suddenly the field is in motion. It’s market time!

A visit to the farmer’s Sunshine Market (info) is a must on the list of things-to-do-on-Kauai. From dragon fruit to Meyer’s lemons, plantains to papayas, there’s no better way to experience homegrown flavor in all colors of a hawaiian rainbow. In the above photo, eager purchases from a recent trip painted delicious meals in my head: fiddlehead salad, chunky guacamole, purple sweet potato haupia pie, simmered japanese pumpkin (kabocha no nimono), and who-knows-what with Auricularia auricula-judae or Wood Ear mushroom.

Jabong and avocadosNow the only thing better than these public markets is getting produce for free, and in the islands this is all too common if you have friends or family with enough yard space to plant a garden. In this photo: 1. avocado surplus from an aunt who probably couldn’t care less if she never saw another one again. The large citrus is called jabong by locals – pomelo to everyone else. The taste is on the sweet and tangy side, with a vague hint of grapefruit. Below, tropical fruit and veggies – all for $5. I love the little old ladies who make up a large part of the vendors, their aluminum folding tables filled to the brim with an organized assortment of fresh bounty. Some of the more aggressive ones will call out in singsong voices, “1 dollah! Fresh beans 1 dollah! Bananas 2 dollah!”

Each visit I try to seize on something new but I’m at a complete loss when it comes to one item in particular – a large banana flower (and it’s not meant to be used as a floral display). More photos will be added to my Flickr account titled Kauai Sunshine Markets.

Kekaha Sunshine Market


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