Buying Fresh From The Farmers
Wednesday - August 27, 2008
It was my birthday last Saturday, so I prerecorded my radio show and took the morning off to visit the farmers’ market at KCC.
Wandering through the open-air market with its intoxicating smells and vibrant colors, and stopping to chat with farmers, bakers and growers is my idea of a perfect morning.
There’s great value in eating food grown on local soil, and something even more special about buying it straight from the farmers. The first thing that caught my eye was a mouthwatering slice of pizza.
Recognizing the sun-dried heirloom tomatoes piled on top, I headed straight to find Jeanne Vana of North Shore Farms. She was sweating over two charcoal grills trying to keep up with the demand for her unbelievably good tomato, mozzarella and pesto pizza. There’s a crunchy foccacia-type crust with a multicolored sun-dried tomato top, mozzarella cheese in the middle and Jeanne’s excellent pesto sauce on bottom - the combination is intoxicating. My husband, Bobby, and I had a slice each and had to exercise restraint in not heading back for more.
As I write this, I feel I owe an apology to all the people who regularly line up at Jeanne’s booth for this heavenly slice of pie, but I’m sorry, guys, something this good is really impossible to keep secret. If Jeanne ever manages to commercially market this, foodies will go wild.
Chris Miura has a range of his excellent breads at the Saturday market, too, many of them not commercially available. “We make this rye bread just for the farmers’ market,” says the doctor-turned-baker of his wonderful nutty, dense rye loaf. You can find Chris’s breads under the Mauna Kea Baking Company label at most Foodland stores.
Wandering farther through the market, I stopped to say hi to Ryan Lum of North Shore Cattle Company. He’s so busy on Saturday mornings that he can hardly look up from the cash register, and his wife can barely take a breath between flipping the city’s juiciest burgers. Made from home-grown, forage-raised beef, the North Shore burgers, along with sausages and steaks, are one of the biggest hits of every farmer’s market. “It does get a little crazy,” says Ryan.
You can shop a little more leisurely at the ranch’s website, http://www.beefhawaii.com, where orders of more than $100 come with free delivery.
My last stop of the morning was at Ed Miyashita and Linda Kato’s herb stand, Growing Creations. Based in Waimanalo, Ed and Linda have built a strong business concentrating on healthy, fragrant herbs. Our small herb garden at home is filled with plants from their nursery, and Growing Creations has garnered a reputation for selling reliably good plants - the kind that take root when you get them home and continue to thrive even if you forget to water them once in a while.
Later that night at home, we had crisp rye bruschetta drizzled with olive oil and garlic, topped with heirloom tomatoes and home-grown basil, followed by a Caprese salad of yellow, red and purple tomatoes that was as beautiful to look at as it was to eat.
My idea of the perfect birthday dinner. Happy eating!
Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market
Saturday from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. www.hfbf.org
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