31 July, 2007

Sunshine Markets: The Accidental Foodie in Kauai

A restaurant review in last week's NYT food section mentioned Okinawan purple yams on the menu. According to the article the chef has "A fascination with Asian flavors," huh. I got some pictures of that. Ask my mom what are her favorite things in Kauai, usually at the top of the list are the "Purple sweet potato," and the farmer's market at Kapaa. the Okinawan yam is not as sweet and a little more starchy than regular yams, and heck any vegetable that's purple has got to be good for you. Bake em up a little butter et voilà.

As for the farmer's markets the Sunshine Markets have been around for at least twenty years. I don't remember them from way back but my mom says they are pretty much the same. There are also private farmers markets. The first market we went to was in Hanalei:

I was very impressed with the market in Hanalei, wide selection of produce and the goat dairy which makes some very tasty cheese. We loaded up. But my mom said "Yeah it's good but we need to go to Kapaa."

We rolled to Kapaa Wednesday 3PM (15:00 for the continentals, 9:00 in Ethiopia) for the market.

With Kapaa, I suddenly realized, contrary to what guide books will tell you, up in Hanalei I wasn't "giddin down wid da locals." In fact, if I may digress a little, Hanalei has exploded in the last twenty years, from sleepy hippie hide away to packed mall for the Khaki short and white sock set. Don't get me wrong, whenever I wanted to go somewhere, I invariably ended up in Hanalei,

outside the Big Save in Hanalei. photo credit Ekarhu

but don't be disappointed if you don't see anyone that looks like they have been on the island for more than two weeks. (Notable exception: Tahiti Nui. I don't know about the food, but karaoke night was a hoot.)

Back to the show.

The first thing you notice about the open markets here is that there aren't any big produce trucks. everyone is selling their stuff out of the backs of pick-ups or station wagons. The prices were very reasonable, especially compared to the supermarkets where most of the vegetables come from California. And the Kapaa Market was CHEAPER than the Hanalei Market. Our litmus product was the ice cold coconut freshly hacked for consumption:

Hanalei, five bucks.

Kapaa two bucks.

'Nuff said. At this point, Gentle reader you may be thinking: But wait, Saucisson, didn't say in the previous post that you were staying on a farm, what you need a market for? Oh yeah, let's go pick some fruit.

Hands on Makai Farms. photo credit Ekarhu

On the property we had limes, grapefruit, lychee, tangerines, bananas, and avocados. SO now we had some cooking to do. With cheap basil from the Hanalei market, Bonne Femme made pesto, okay not totally local, but Hawaiian style:

Makai Macadamia Pesto

2 Cloves of garlic
4 c fresh chopped basil
¾ cup macadamia nuts
2 t Hawaiian pure cane sugar
½ c grated Parmesan
½ c olive oil
Juice of lime from yard

Combine in food processor blend until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

And what did mom make? Makai lime pie of course.



mac said...

Jeanlouise (who is unable to connect to the blog from her location) sent in this comment: "I would only add that my favorite part about these wonderful purple potatoes is the fact that when lemon juice is applied, they turn bright pink! Now I'm hungry, sausssison!"

E said...

Purple potatoes make me queezy. It just ain't natural