Last week I was in Kauai, one of the prettiest islands with the richest soil. Even though people told me not to expect much from the food, I couldn’t help but think about all of the tropical delicacies. I am obsessed with mangoes and papayas. Sadly, they are rather fragrant-less and tasteless by the time they get onto my local grocery store shelf. Alas, it’s still winter in Kauai, so mango season has yet to begin. Anyway, I didn’t do any research about farmer’s markets before going and just wanted to be on vacation. Though, I just couldn’t help myself…the first place we stopped at after landing was in a town called Kilauea. We heard a quite a lot about the Fish Market and we were starving, having resisted airport/airplane food. After our delicious meal, we decided to take a stroll around the town. Then I spotted it- a cotton bag full of fresh leafy greens and brightly colored food. My radar was on (it’s always on) and a few feet a head of us was a sign about a farmer’s market every Thursday at 4:30PM. We looked at our watch and it was close to 6PM. I briskly walked towards the gym parking lot full of trucks and produce. I started casually observing the food and snapping pictures. I noticed that most of the vendors had already sold their goods and were packing up. A little bewildered since it was only less than two hours into the the farmer’s market, I asked a friendly farmer (Josh). He told me that when he started that day he had a high stack of everything and that we need to get to the market early to get the best stuff. People line up. I was in disbelief and thought about how our farmer’s markets go on for 4-5 hours long, and sometimes, the farmers have to pack up what they unpacked.
Waipa (Hanalei) Market
After a lazy lunch of deli, vegetarian sandwiches on the beach, we started driving back to our hotel. Then I spotted a sign and started tapping on the window out of excitement, asking Satish to stop. There was a farmer’s market about to start! So we were directed by a coordinator into an organized parking lot and I just saw hordes of people walking towards an imaginary rope. This rope kept them from the farmers. It was about 20 minutes before the market officially started and there had to have been at least 100 people waiting. There was even a tented waiting area (it was really hot and sunny). I was so blown away. It was just amazing. Before the market opened, the market manager gave a small speech on the market’s purpose. As soon as the market opened, people rushed to their favorite vendors making quick transactions and moving onto the next. I had the pleasure of just enjoying the market. I didn’t bother to talk to any of the farmers; they were too busy. Though the frenzy died down after 20 minutes and half of the shoppers left. I did see Josh and chatted with him for a couple of minutes. He had an amazing selection of fresh peanuts and jeweled-colored carrots.
We walked out with a slice of macadamia nut-coconut pie, large mango, tender coconut, and a chocolate bar. I am waiting to share the chocolate with my two, chocolate-loving girlfriends.
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