There’s no place equal to farmers markets when it comes to trying the best and most unusual of Hawaii’s tropical produce and flowers. And at the top of my list in Hawaii is the Hilo Farmers Market.
U.S.D.A. has proclaimed August 1-7, 2010 as National Farmers Market Week. To celebrate, I headed to Hilo yesterday and their market on Hawaii’s Big Island
Prior to going I downloaded a coupon for two dollars off their official t-shirt. To redeem just head to the manager’s office around the corner from the market. The t-shirts run small so keep that in mind when purchasing.
Jeff is Beat of Hawaii’s food critic/chef. Here’s what he liked at yesterday’s market.
Mangoes. Hayden and other varieties were plentiful and cheap. I purchased four large mangoes for $5.
Avocados. Again many varieties. I ended up with a two pound Sharwell for $1.
Papayas. Big Island has great papayas, and I picked just the ripeness and size I wanted. Price averaged 50 cents a pound or less.
Vegetables. Superior quality, tremendous variety and a number of organic choices.
Flowers. Big Island excels in flower growing (and export). At the Hilo Market, you can come back to your hotel/condo with a large bouquet of anthuriums for as little as $2. They last so long that you’ll be able to take them home on the plane with you. Tip: After a visual inspection, anthuriums can be brought back to the mainland.
And the unusual. A vendor gave me a large breadfruit, which has an unusual texture and mild sweet taste that makes for excellent curry. How about Jaboticaba? These are tree grapes which originated in Brazil. Concord grape-like in a way, fabulous.
Two-hundred vendors translates to an abundance in terms of variety and competition with very reasonable prices. Wednesdays and Saturday have the most vendors from 6am to 4pm. Other days with fewer vendors from 7am to 4pm.
The number of farmers markets nationwide has tripled since 1994 to over 5,000. Over the past few years, farmers markets seem to have become incredibly popular, including throughout the islands.
There’s even a new mystery book series set in a farmers market. If you’re an enthusiast of books and food I suggest reading Farm Fresh Murder by Paige Shelton (which Jeff is holding in the picture).
If you have a favorite farmers market in Hawaii, be sure to leave a comment.
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