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Hawaii Farmers' Markets


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#1 caroline

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 09:42 AM

Hi Sun-Ki, Replying to your report on the Hawaii food pages. What is your take on this farmers' market plan? It's wonderful that Hawaii sees the possibility of marketing its extraordinary variety of food resources.

But are the new markets going to include all the wonderful things in the current farmers' markets and Chinatown? Or are we going to see a repeat of the two-tier system of HRC and plate lunch places, this time with the new farmers' market (strawberries and lettuce) for tourists and the well heeled and the and the old ones (kamias and ong choy) for the rest?

Rachel
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#2 The Little Blue House

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 10:21 AM

Are you talking about the new one at KCC? Based on a couple visits about a month ago, there honestly wasn't that much more variety than at the North Shore Farmer's Market. Jeanne Vanna of North Shore Farm has even more of her wonderful and award winning tomatoes, and is selling fried green tomatoes on the spot--always a good thing. North Shore Cattle Company has a stall, and runs out of beef by mid-morning. And then, there are the usual lots more tomtatoes, some eggplant, honey, soaps, jams. C & C Pasta has a stall, which is nice and a bit different, I guess. It's lively, and wonderful that such a resource is closer to town, but it is still a little disappointing. Hopefully, it will get bigger, more diverse, as time goes on.

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#3 caroline

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 05:49 PM

Hi, those of you at Little Blue House. Sounds like the bread you make is great.

But it sounds as if the KCC facility is a new-style farmers' market catering to haole tastes. The older ones in the center of Honolulu mainly catered to Filipinos, Southeast Asians, and some Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Indians etc. I think they're still going, right? They have a mind blowing selection of vegetables and pretty good fruits but not in the Western tradition,

Rachel
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#4 skchai

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Posted 19 October 2003 - 02:12 PM

Rachel - thanks for starting this thread!

The big recent news: The Hawai`i state government is keen on the idea of building a large farmer's market called "The Gathering Place" on the Kaka`ako waterfront (between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu). The market is supposed to be "similar in scope to Pike Place Market in Seattle", and to serve as an environment-friendly tourist attraction, an outlet for local agricultural products, and a part of the redevelop Kaka`ako. It is planned to be on a much larger scale than existing Honolulu farmers' markets - on 4-5 acres of waterfront land near the existing waterfront park and proposed science museum / UH medical school complex, with proposed construction costs in the $25-30 million range. Here are some articles:

Lingle touts farmers market, by Sean Hao

Tours to offer taste of Hawai'i, by Beverly Creamer

Hopefully the topic is something that can lead to some "cross-pollination" between the Hawai`i and Pacific NW posters. The articles repeatedly quote officials as drawing comparisons between the proposed Gathering Place and Seattle's Pike Place. Is this a useful comparison? There is the small issue that Pike Place has nearly 100 years of history behind it. Can government initiative substitute for that kind of tradition? Just how important has Pike Place been in sustaining artisan-quality agriculture and aquaculture in Washington? More generally, what is the role that the state government can / should play in developing local farmers' markets?

Farmer's markets are truly burgeoning across the island, as indicated in this story:

Oahu sprouts new farmers’ markets By Betty Shimabukuro

The KCC Saturday Farmers' Market is perhaps the biggest and most successul of these, and the state Dept. of Ag seems have to be inspired by the apparent great initial demand at the KCC market in developing the idea for the Gathering Place.

Emily, you're right in that the variety of produce on offer seems to be no greater than that found on the North Shore, and that the key factor to its success seems to be the in-town location. Another factor seems to be the tie-in with well-known local restaurants (different restauranters rotate each week to provide "plate lunch" breakfast specials).

Rachel, I don't really have a sense of the demographics of the KCC market vs. those you could find in Chinatown. I actually haven't been to the KCC market yet, but the website lists some of their major vendors, who do seem oriented towards the HRC angle - Nalo Farms salad greens, Ceatech prawns, and as Emily mentioned, North Shore Farms tomatoes. Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms was one of the founders of the KCC market. I have no doubt that the proposed Gathering Place is designed to sell the same kinds of goods - there is an obvious tourist-oriented angle to the model being proposed, though this is not to say that tourists wouldn't be interested in ong choy or kamias!

Some of the smaller farmer's markets around town have interesting combinations of the "old" and "new" styles. The one in Manoa Marketplace sells ong choy, bok choy, and lychees, as well as Nalo-style mixed salad greens and vine-ripened tomatoes. The Friday farmer's market next to the University of Hawai`i Campus Center has a similar mix of goods. Would that be a preferable model for the gathering place - from a culinary and / or business point of view?

Sun-Ki Chai
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#5 caroline

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Posted 22 October 2003 - 04:28 PM

Sun-Ki, I'm no expert on the economics of farmers' markets as tourist destinations. But I'd have thought that tourists would want something a little more exotic than simply the stuff they can get on the west coast. But would it be worthwhile for a Filipino farmer with a handkerchief sized lot to invest in a stall at a big farmers' market.

As you say this touches national issues. When is it worth someone selling at a farmers' market? Anyone know anything about this?

Rachel
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#6 skchai

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Posted 23 October 2003 - 02:35 PM

I'm no expert by any means either. However, it would seem that very small producers could form co-ops of source to justify occupying a stall. Another possible source of complementary might between food producers and other small artisan producers of candles, jewelry, etc. including those are soon to be displaced from their stalls at the Waikiki International Market place. I don't think there's any point in restricting the "gathering place" (incredibly bland name) to food products alone.

The key question may be the Kaka`ako location. Other than those who frequent the nearby Ward complex, tourists may hesitate that far from Waikiki to attend a farmer's market. Hence it's success may depend in large part on the state and city's success in building a multi-faceted attraction destination including the Ocean Science museum run by Bishop Museum, as well perhaps expanding the Children's Discovery Center children's museum.

In summary, I have no clue, really.

I wish more of the Seattle people on this forum would contribute, particularly with regards to the Pike Place Market experience and precedent. . .

Sun-Ki

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#7 Ono Loa

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Posted 15 April 2006 - 01:31 PM

I have not had the chance to visit any Oahu farmers markets i would love to know how they compare to the Hilo sunday/wednesday market. this morning when i was down there i saw the biggest avacados i have ever seen in my life ...some nearly 8 inches in diameter. The Hilo market does not have much non produce stuff...only a few people selling rice and breads. one woman had these fabulous little stuffed coconut balls i had to buy 6 of them they were so good... and one man was selling a HUGE jack fruit....would feed a family of 16. LOL!

i dont know how many of them are farmers vs just sellers....does anyone know?

anyway..... i was just wondering about the Oahu markets in comparison with Hilo market .....can anyone comment? mahalo

#8 LB Howes

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Posted 23 April 2006 - 03:13 PM

In response to Ono Loa wanting to know about Honolulu farmer's markets? I shop at two of them when I come home to see my mother.

The market at the Old Stadium Park and the market at the Manoa Shopping Center. The market at the Old Stadium Park is larger, has fresh fish and more vendors. The one at the Shopping Center is much smaller and has orchids for sale. Don't know how they may compare to what's in Hilo, but they both have great produce and attract a good crowd of local folks.

All the earlier posts mentioned the Pike Place Market in Seattle and wanted to hear from someone from Seattle and I hope it's not too late to chime in on that topic.

First off, I don't recall hearing much recently about plans for this Kaka'ako market. Has anything concrete come of these talks back in 2003?

But, back to the Pike Place Market - I don't live right in Seattle, but about 2O miles north of Seattle. I've been to the Pike Place Market many times. I've brought out-of-town visitors there, and when I worked in downtown Seattle and it was convenient to shop there on my lunch hour. There was always a sprinkling of locals along with tourists, but I've got to say that the majority of folks were tourists. Where do a lot of Seattle area locals go shopping for local produce and locally made food-stuffs? At their more conveniently located neighborhood farmer's markets. There are also markets in the surrounding towns and cities.

So, based on what I've seen in Honolulu and what I've seen in Honolulu, if a new farmer's market were built in Kaka'ako I don't expect many local folks were to shop there with any regularity. Honolulu already has the Chinatown markets and plenty of neighborhood farmer's markets where the locals can shop and which support local farmers.

#9 tooearly

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 07:16 PM

In Short, Hilo ROCKS and Honolulu is 5 years away from its quality!
I was really blown away by the changes in Hilo since I had been back there 2 years ago. The range price and quality of organics is getting very good. Hope we can catch up

I have not had the chance to visit any Oahu farmers markets i would love to know how they compare to the Hilo sunday/wednesday market.  this morning when i was down there i saw the biggest avacados i have ever seen in my life ...some nearly 8 inches in diameter.  The Hilo market does not have much non produce stuff...only a few people selling rice and breads.  one woman had these fabulous little stuffed coconut balls i had to buy 6 of them they were so good... and one man was selling a HUGE jack fruit....would feed a family of 16. LOL!

i dont know how many of them are farmers vs just sellers....does anyone know?

anyway..... i was just wondering about the  Oahu markets in comparison with Hilo market .....can anyone comment?        mahalo

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#10 glossyp

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 01:31 PM

In Short, Hilo ROCKS and Honolulu is 5 years away from its quality!
I was really blown away by the changes in Hilo since I had been back there 2 years ago. The range price and quality of organics is getting very good. Hope we can catch up.


It's worth noting that the quality, variety and quantity of produce available at the farmers' markets on Oahu has been severely limited by the recent devastating rains. The Big Island was not nearly as affected by the unremitting rain as Oahu.
"Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without." TMJ Jr. R.I.P.

#11 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:35 AM

I will be in Oahu for 5 days at the end of October, staying at a rental house near Kailua. I plan on bringing my cooking kit with me (including a couple of good knives and cookbooks by Jean-Marie Josselin and Alan Wong for inspiration) and cooking with the beautiful local ingredients. I've done this a couple of years ago on the Big Island and absolutely loved it (I still remember the local abalone, making ahi poke, etc)

The Saturday KCC market is already on my list. If there are specific vendors that you recommend please let me know! I arrive on a Thursday so I will probably go to the Kailua market that first evening. Anything that I should not miss?

#12 EatNopales

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 01:04 PM

I will be in Oahu for 5 days at the end of October, staying at a rental house near Kailua. I plan on bringing my cooking kit with me (including a couple of good knives and cookbooks by Jean-Marie Josselin and Alan Wong for inspiration) and cooking with the beautiful local ingredients. I've done this a couple of years ago on the Big Island and absolutely loved it (I still remember the local abalone, making ahi poke, etc)

The Saturday KCC market is already on my list. If there are specific vendors that you recommend please let me know! I arrive on a Thursday so I will probably go to the Kailua market that first evening. Anything that I should not miss?



Hello we actually just moved back from Kailua this summer where we lived almost 3 years. Not a lot of real farmers are at the farmer's markets on Oahu it is really produce wholesalers with some exceptions. The Kailua market is very small.. the big draw are actually the prepared foods with the fried green tomato lady being the most popular. Some of the things I enjoyed cooking with:

Salicornias
Young Jicamas (grown on the North Shore)
Various Japanese greens particularly wing beans
Kamuela Tomatoes
Manoa Lettuce

Neighboring Kailua on one side is Waimanalu where there are some interesting farms.. a visit to Nalo farms or Waimanalo Country Farms would be advisable.

Going the other direction there are some worthwhile road side stands on the way to Northshore at the junction of Kamehameha & Kahekili highways:

http://maps.google.c...&sz=18&t=h&z=18


Restaurants in Kailua generally suck... avoid most local recommendations they will send you to craptitudinal places like Formaggio's, Kapalawai Market, Baci Bistro, Buzz's Steakhouse etc.,


If you are planning a trip to Alan Wong's please allow me to convince you to go to Chef Mavro instead. Wong's I think is mostly popular on fumes now, but the dining room sucks the food is meh & the service is downright incompetent... its only advantage is that it is cheaper than Mavro.

But Mavro is no French Laundry either... if you have one splurge meal, I would point you to the island's "Sushi Nazi" at Sushi Sasabune where you will be instructed on how to eat each particular fish & type of sushi. For $100 a person you will have a Sushi experience for which Manhattanites & Angelenos pay $500 to parallel.



Back to ingredients... I would highly advise a visit to Tamashiro's Fish Market.... and for the island's best deal on raw fish, get down to Ahi & Vegetable.. a weekday only corporate crowd lunch joint... the owner, a highly touted angler, is the only bargain sushi restaurateur who shows up to the Fish Market to buy whole fish & break them down himself. For $10 you can anjoy a Spicy Ahi Salad with Ahi Sashimi & Salmon Roe that has fish that puts most highly touted Sushi houses in California to utter shame.

#13 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 03:54 PM

Thank you for your recommendations, EatNopales. I did not realize that you had lived in Kailua!

It's really too bad that there aren't more "real" farmers at the farmers' markets on Oahu.

Since we arrive on a Thursday, we will go to the Kailua market and buy whatever local produce we can find, and eat there as well. Then the following day we will most likely go to one of the local farms that you mentioned in your post (Nalo or Waimanalo Country), or to the big Saturday farmers' market at KCC, if we are in that area. Thank you for the information about the road side stands too.

I am excited about the salicornias. I have not had them since I lived in France, and they were pickled I believe. Anyway, it's something I would love to experience again. How do you use them when they are fresh?
Young jicamas sound good too; they would be great in a salad.
I am familiar with the tomatoes from Kamuela, we had them on the Big Island.
I will look for Manoa lettuce (I assume that this is the name of the variety?).

Tamashiro's Fish Market sounds wonderful. And we will make sure to go to Ahi & Vegetable for lunch if we are in the area.

Regarding restaurants, we were planning to avoid Kailua. Since we are renting a house, our plan was to dine in most of the time anyway. I will look into Mavro, however the prices seem quite high ($100 per person without wine, according to Zagat, so I would expect close to $200 per person...). It's too bad to hear that Alan Wong has gone downhill. I had many memorable meals there.

#14 EatNopales

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:26 PM

Thank you for your recommendations, EatNopales. I did not realize that you had lived in Kailua!

It's really too bad that there aren't more "real" farmers at the farmers' markets on Oahu.

Since we arrive on a Thursday, we will go to the Kailua market and buy whatever local produce we can find, and eat there as well. Then the following day we will most likely go to one of the local farms that you mentioned in your post (Nalo or Waimanalo Country), or to the big Saturday farmers' market at KCC, if we are in that area. Thank you for the information about the road side stands too.

I am excited about the salicornias. I have not had them since I lived in France, and they were pickled I believe. Anyway, it's something I would love to experience again. How do you use them when they are fresh?
Young jicamas sound good too; they would be great in a salad.
I am familiar with the tomatoes from Kamuela, we had them on the Big Island.
I will look for Manoa lettuce (I assume that this is the name of the variety?).

Tamashiro's Fish Market sounds wonderful. And we will make sure to go to Ahi & Vegetable for lunch if we are in the area.

Regarding restaurants, we were planning to avoid Kailua. Since we are renting a house, our plan was to dine in most of the time anyway. I will look into Mavro, however the prices seem quite high ($100 per person without wine, according to Zagat, so I would expect close to $200 per person...). It's too bad to hear that Alan Wong has gone downhill. I had many memorable meals there.



With regards to Salicornia, I used them as my local substitute for Nopales... toss them with some white onion (or Maui Onion) macerated in lime juice, cilantro, tomato & fresh chiles etc. (no salt of course).


Salicornias are also popular in Contemporary Baja cuisine... so I tried using them with local seafood to replicate dishes created by Benito Molina, Javier Plascencia, Jair Tellez & gang etc,

I am a big supporter of Salicornias because they could become an important vegetable in a water scarce, warmer planet (just like Nopales etc.,)

#15 EatNopales

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:35 PM

Thank you for your recommendations, EatNopales. I did not realize that you had lived in Kailua!

It's really too bad that there aren't more "real" farmers at the farmers' markets on Oahu.

Since we arrive on a Thursday, we will go to the Kailua market and buy whatever local produce we can find, and eat there as well. Then the following day we will most likely go to one of the local farms that you mentioned in your post (Nalo or Waimanalo Country), or to the big Saturday farmers' market at KCC, if we are in that area. Thank you for the information about the road side stands too.

I am excited about the salicornias. I have not had them since I lived in France, and they were pickled I believe. Anyway, it's something I would love to experience again. How do you use them when they are fresh?
Young jicamas sound good too; they would be great in a salad.
I am familiar with the tomatoes from Kamuela, we had them on the Big Island.
I will look for Manoa lettuce (I assume that this is the name of the variety?).

Tamashiro's Fish Market sounds wonderful. And we will make sure to go to Ahi & Vegetable for lunch if we are in the area.

Regarding restaurants, we were planning to avoid Kailua. Since we are renting a house, our plan was to dine in most of the time anyway. I will look into Mavro, however the prices seem quite high ($100 per person without wine, according to Zagat, so I would expect close to $200 per person...). It's too bad to hear that Alan Wong has gone downhill. I had many memorable meals there.



Yes Manoa Lettuce is a strain of Green Mignonette developed by University of Hawaii that is well adapted to the tropical climate.