Foraging A Few Farmers’ Markets

Susan Sunderland
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Wednesday - June 03, 2005

Kanoe Burgess of Ma‘o Organic Farms shows
Dawn Staszkow and Rebecca Woodland
the farm’s mescalun salad mix at the Farmers’
Market at Kapiolani Community College

Gourmet magazine puts it well: “An adventurous traveler hungry for local flavor and passionate about authentic tastes would never limit his eating to upscale restaurants. When you want to eat like the locals you have to hit the streets.”

Street food is my beat. Da Zigzag Guide explores roadside eateries, food stalls and hole-in-the-wall nooks in neighborhoods. It’s an adventure I wouldn’t trade for all the champagne and caviar in Kahala.

This week, we visit three farmers markets where locals mingle and shop for homemade goodies and Island delicacies. Ingredients are fresh from a farm or straight out of someone’s kitchen, where the personal touch is a key ingredient.

These food bazaars are presented weekly by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. It is a true gathering of farmers who truck in fresh produce from all over the island, including specialty items not normally found in supermarkets. So get your market sacks, and let’s go grazing.

Christine Yano, Richard Law, Shannon Funatsu
and Rick Wong try some fried green tomatoes
at the KCC farmers’ market

Farmers’ Market at Kapiolani Community College

Saturdays, 7:30 to 11 a.m. 4303 Diamond Head Road

Neighbors meet neighbors at this Saturday morning “happening” in the shadow of Diamond Head Crater. The event, co-sponsored by KCC’s Culinary Institute, brings farmers, chefs and foodies together in a casual, park atmosphere. Parents arrive with kids in strollers. Pet owners bring their dogs. Gourmands are on a safari for exclusive food items.

It’s a great time to “talk story” with farmers, such as Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms, and David Chinen, who grows Kahuku papayas. Or, you might confer with Rhea McWilliams of the Hawaii Beekeepers Association about freshly harvested honey. Ed Miyashita of Growing Creations can tell you about potting herbs.

Get a “Tip Sheet” that lists vendors at the event, or from the Internet at More than two dozen vendors display and sell products each week.

Select from a wide variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, flowers, beef, aquacultured seafood, fresh baked breads, homemade pastas, tropical jams and jellies, unique snack foods, honey, specialty seasonings and more.

Breakfast is a special treat here. Guest chefs from Hawaii’s finest restaurants are up at the crack of dawn to feed you. Fred DeAngelo of Olino Events was there last week, and Will Henry of Aqua Café cooked the week before. Chef Henry wowed the crowd with haupia-stuffed French toast.

While music from a guitarist or flautist fills the air, one wanders from stall to stall, finding tasty gems along the way. There’s mochi shortbread from Keith’s Cookies, teriyaki ahi from Ohana Seafoods, Kapolei sweet honeydew melon and Thai watermelon from Aloun Farms, and Italian breads and homemade sauces from C&C Pasta.

Specialty produce from the Neighbor Islands is found there too. Wailea Agricultural offers durian, pulusan and other tropical fruits from the Big Island. Hydroponic tomatoes from Kawamata Farms are always popular, as are Kula strawberries.

Bring your appetite to Saturday’s Farmer Market. But leave your credit cards at home. All purchases are cashonly.

Business is brisk at the Mililani Farmers’ Market
for Johnny and Kristie Sanidad of Green Corp.
first in line is JoAnn Takahashi

Mililani Farmers’ Market

Saturdays, 2-4 p.m. Mililani High School parking lot.

For Central Oahu residents, this is an afternoon delight. Presented by the Farm Bureau and Mililani High School, the Mililani Farmers’ Market is a popular gathering place for Central and Leeward Oahu residents.

North Shore and neighboring businesses bring their wares to market, and the event takes on a regional flavor. North Shore Cattle Co., for instance, grills burgers and sausages on site. It also sells frozen cuts of hormone-free, grass-fed beef.

Souk Hoang from Souane Farms arranges
pineapples and melons at the Kailua Farmers’

Country Comfort Catering offers Hawaii Island goat cheese, lumpia and beignets. Hawaii’s Homemade Taste brings sweet delights, such as cranberry macadamia nut cookies. Then, there’s broke-da-mouth Hawaiian Style Chili. Or, combine Hauula tomatoes with Dean’s Greens from Nalo Farms for a great salad. Mililani High School

Future Farmers of America sells fresh produce from its campus farm.

Dayne Rego of
Hawaiian Style Chili Co.
fries up some garlic
shrimp at the Mililani
Farmers’ Market

Kailua Farmers’ Market

Thursdays, 5 to 7:30 p.m. 609 Kailua Road, behind Longs.

Windward residents stop by the Kailua Farmers’ Market on Thursday to pick up dinner. Tasty treats are sure to be on the menu when guest chefs do the cooking.

Recently, it was Ryan Lum of the North Shore Cattle Co., who grilled teriyaki steak. Or it could be Southern-style barbecue ribs from Deb’s Ribs & Soul Food. C&C Pasta always has a line of patrons, waiting for fresh pasta with choice of sauces. Pastry chef Joslyn Benn of The Sweet Stop tops off a meal with haupia cream puffs and Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate petit fours.

Kimberly Clark and Gabrielle Welford
get their Just Add Water stand ready for
business at the Kailua Farmers’ Market

At the Xian booth, you find spicy salsa, Da Boy’s butter mochi, flourless oatmeal and pina colada cookies, as well as sugar ’n’ spice pecans. Rainbow Farm has creamy Kona avocado, sweet Sunrise and Rainbow papayas, Manoa lettuce, and Waialua red potatoes. Maunawili Greens sells hydroponically grown red leaf and butter lettuce.

Other made-in-Hawaii products are available, including potted plants, preserves and even doggie biscuits. Bring the family for a fun outing and informal dining on the street. There’s something about dining in an open-air atmosphere, amid the chatter and clatter of hawking vendors and people encountering one another.

Island life is truly ono.

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