Monday, January 7, 2008

Kinoole Farmers Market Goodies

Luana Beck and her husband Tom are helping the Farm Bureau coordinate the Kinoole Farmers Market, held every Saturday from 7 am to noon. While it is still in its infancy, the market holds much promise as the only farmers market in town that features produce and goods actually produced locally. Not many people know this, but the popular downtown Hilo Farmers Market isn’t truly representative of produce grown locally. Many vendors there are selling produce they bought from Suisan – what they sell might be from the continental US, even China.

So, if you’re interested in supporting local growers and merchants and you want a unique experience, check out the Kinoole Farmers Market, located up the street from Puainako at the old Pay and Save building, where you’ll also find local favorite hangouts Hilo Rice Noodle and the Kawate Seed Shop, Though the market is small, on any given week the selection varies and you can be sure it all has been produced on the Big Island. The atmosphere is relaxed, there usually are some interesting demonstrations related to food, farming or home gardening, and if you stick around long enough you’re bound to run into one of your friends or neighbors.

Here’s a sampling of some interesting things I found on a recent trip.

Coqui Condos. Coqui frogs check in but they don’t check out. Tom Beck fashioned these clever and decorative coqui frog traps, a prettier version of the white pvc tubing traps described here.

Desert Rose Seedlings. A local nurseryman specializing in growing desert rose (Adenium obtusum) offered them in many brilliant colors. He even had affordable seedlings, which is something you don’t see that often. While it does take a while for it to grow that characteristic lumpy trunk, desert rose makes a easy-care, less-thirsty container plant to keep on the lanai. Here in Hilo it needs to stay out of the rain, though.

Umm, Undagi. Fresh picked from the undagi tree. Seriously, Okinawan doughnuts are usually something one has to wait for each year to get at the dragon boat races. But here they are available every Saturday, in their crunchy, chewy golden splendor with just that yummy touch of grease the doctor warned you about. Grab a cup of Kona coffee, and that’s your Big Island breakfast at the Kinoole Farmer’s Market.

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