One of my private, unspoken resolutions for this 2010 is to buy local and just holoholo as a way to "stop and smell the roses." Holoholo is just to go gallavanting around. Sometimes living in Hawaii is hard just because we have to work so much to survive. I don't live on a bluff overlooking the ocean (like My Hawaiian Home), in fact the only view I have is the view of the highway outside my backyard, but still, I live in Hawaii. I never forget to be thankful for that even if I don't have my view of the ocean or even my view of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. My kitchen window looks out at my neighbor's garage, but that kitchen window also lets in the tradewinds in the afternoon, so big whoops.
To start my resolution off right, meaning I'm starting before the end of January, we decided to start closest to our house by visiting the Kino'ole Farmer's Market on 1990 Kinoole Street, Hilo Hawaii. They are open from 7 am - noon on Saturdays. We had a leisurely morning then waited to drop off one of the kids at practice so we didn't get there until 11. That's too late. For the maximum experience, go early.
One thing that makes them a little different is that they always have some kind of class or activity at their farmer's market. One of my friends goes to pick up his weekly fix of Blue Kalo chips ('uala - sweet potato, kalo - taro and ulu - breadfruit chips sliced thin and fried like potato chips) At $10 it's a once in a while treat for us, but well worth the price.
One of the vendors had a tank of small, live catfish, but the other things there seem pretty typical of farmer's markets around here: apple bananas, local fruits (this time of the year it's citrus like tangerines), kale, tomatoes, lettuce, orchids, ethnic foods and herb starters. The downside to this particular market is that it's so small that the variety is not here. Perhaps the best strategy is to go early and with an open mind, and let the vendors decide what you need.
What we bought for $10
The hubby and I had a conversation about CSA, community supported agriculture, and when I found a farm that was pretty close to us, they charge $30/week/share for a box of veggies. Hubby didn't think that was a very good deal, so when we go holoholo to different farmer's markets, we'll see what we can buy for $10. I would spend $30 but I am not very good at using all my produce, so I don't want to waste money. $9.50 bought us some apple bananas ($1.25), a bag of zucchini ($2), a bag of Okinawan sweet potatoes ($2), green onions ($1.50) and a box of Hamakua springs tomatoes ($3.75). The tomatoes were our high ticket item, but it's Hamakua Springs, so we bought local, but these are high end farmers who are sought out by many of the Hawaii cuisine chefs, so these are not off grade.
Have a farmer's market near you? Tell us about it, or go out and holoholo this weekend.