Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Our Diet - Farmers Markets and Local Food

We go to the farmer's market in Hilo twice a week:  on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Typically we spend $20-30 per visit.  We purchase several hands of bananas (typically apple, lady finger, and williams) at $1 a pound, one or two pineapples at $3.50 each, and papayas (currently five for $2).  Because it's winter and mangoes are out of season, they are pricey when they are for sale.  We will occasionally buy a couple as they are such a treat.  Rambutan are in season now, but I prefer lychee and pulasan, which are somewhat similar fruit, where you peel the exterior and eat the flesh that is around the seed.  During our last trip to the farmers market, one seller had rambutan that was so fresh we bought two pounds.  Often rambutan looks limp or slightly wilted, particularly if they are bagged.  These were still firm and boy were they tasty. $3 a pound (about a dozen fruit). Star fruit are also in season, but I've never been a fan.  They are waxy and don't taste like much to me (your mileage may differ).  

Often for lunch, I will have a second bowl of fruit.  I just never seem to tire of it.       

Eating fresh local food is such a treat.  We eat fish about three times a week and it is locally caught.  Grass fed beef is also readily available.  I purchase locally raised and butchered beef at KTA, our local supermarket, for $5.99 a pound.  KTA has many Big Island grown products and they are easy to identify because KTA packages them under the Mountain Apple brand.  

When it's not too rainy, local eggs can be found at the farmer's market.  Going rate is $6 a dozen.  If it's been raining too much, the chickens go on strike and we have to buy mainland eggs at the store.  They are somehow treated to last longer.  I think maybe they are pasteurized.  We can get them on sale for $7 for two dozen but of course, they never taste as good.

We also buy our coffee and macadamia nuts at the farmers market, although we have to shop around for the best prices.  There's one guy who drives up from Ka'u who sells coffee for $18 a pound.  Now that Starbucks has discovered Ka'u coffee, that's a good price as often it sells for $30 a pound or more.  We haven't seen him at the market the last several visits and we will need to buy non-local beans.

We found one lady that sells macadamia nuts for $22 for three pounds.  They are roasted, unsalted, and vacuum packed.  They yield about three pints of macadamia nut butter, which is delicious but usually expensive.  Eight ounces costs about $11 at the store.

We generally go just to the Hilo farmers market, but sometimes on Sundays we will go out to the Makuu market near Pahoa.  This market has lots of cooked food and often feels a little more like a flea market with plants and used items for sale.  If you are visiting, I would recommend you take a drive out there on a Sunday morning and plan to eat breakfast.  It's no more than 20 minutes from downtown Hilo.

Have a great day!

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