Kapaa Farmers’ Market: How Much Did We Spend?

It was cool and drizzly yesterday, so crowds were larger than usual. If the weather's good there are fewer tourists.
It was cool and drizzly yesterday, so market crowds were larger than usual. If the weather’s good there are fewer tourists – they head to the beach!

Every Wednesday afternoon Brett and I get ourselves down to the Kapaa Farmers’ Market, located in the parking lot near the New Town Park. The market begins at 3:00 sharp with the blowing of a whistle (with no buying or selling allowed before the whistle), but we always like to be there a little bit early so we can scope out what’s available and how much it we can afford. We always go with a list, but are open to buying other things if we see something we like and can eat in the coming week, and if the price is right.

The last few weeks at the market have been frankly amazing. We’ve been going to the market for over three years now, and I can’t remember seeing such an abundance of fruits and vegetables, all of them freshly picked that morning. There really is something for everyone.

Here is just a fraction of what was available yesterday:

Giant heads of broccoli
Giant heads of broccoli
Even bigger heads of cauliflower
Even bigger heads of cauliflower
Ripe papayas
Ripe papayas
Beautiful breadfruit (ulu) - so many tasty ways to prepare this
Beautiful breadfruit (ulu) – so many tasty ways to prepare this
Giant beets
Giant beets
Local honey
An assortment of local honey
Sweet, tasty jackfruit - these babies are bigger than soccer balls
Sweet, tasty jackfruit – these babies are bigger than basketballs
Hawaiian ginger bouquets
Hawaiian ginger bouquets

Our favorite produce stall is Dang’s Anahola Fresh Farm – we head there first every week, and buy most of our produce from them because of their great selection and prices. Although many farmers sell to restaurants and stores on the island, this family makes a good living selling at just three island markets during the week. Otherwise, they’re working on their farm.

Hanging Dang's sign before the market starts - the Dangs are from Thailand.
Hanging their farm sign before the market starts. The Dangs are from Thailand.
Some of Dang's beautiful produce, including lettuces, zucchini blossoms, fresh mint and daikon radishes.
Some of Dang’s beautiful produce, including lettuces, zucchini blossoms, peppers, beans, fresh mint and daikon radishes.

Finally, here’s what we bought yesterday. Can you guess how much we paid for all of this beautiful produce?

Our fruit purchases
Our fruit purchases
  • 1o navel oranges
  • 3 tangelos
  • 2 papaya
  • 1 bunch of bananas (7)
Our vegetable purchases
Our vegetable purchases
  • 1 giant head of broccoli
  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • bag of ripe, medium tomatoes (9)
  • 1 large bunch Swiss chard
  • 1 large bunch bok choy
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 small jar honey with comb as a treat for Brett

Prices will be revealed on Sunday!

This Week’s Menu: Not Much of a Baker Anymore

Yellow butter cake with vanilla buttercream
Yellow butter cake with vanilla buttercream

I used to love to bake, but these days, not so much. The main reason is that it’s hot here, and running the oven only heats things up when we’re trying to stay cool. Frosting melts in the heat, and baked goods spoil quickly Besides, there’s no  longer a houseful of people to eat what I bake, even more so now that I cannot have starches and carbs are limited.

Orange bundt cake with orange glaze
Orange bundt cake with orange glaze

I still bake things from time to time though, depending on the weather. We’ve been having cooler weather for the past couple of months, so I’ve been dragging out my mixer more than usual lately. Mostly I’ve been baking cakes, but I’ve also made some fruit crisps, cobblers and brownies. For many of the cakes, I’ve been using a box of cake mix as a base, and then adding to it to make something special. When I can find cake mixes on sale for $1 or $1.25 each (a great price for here; they’re usually $2 – $3) I’ll buy a few to keep on hand. A devil’s food mix becomes a triple chocolate bundt cake, a yellow mix turns into a butter cake or an orange bundt cake with orange glaze. My frostings are always made from scratch – a fresh buttercream is a snap to make.

Triple chocolate bundt cake
Triple chocolate bundt cake

And, I don’t get any of it! Sad!

Here’s what we’re having this week:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Slow cooker pulled pork sandwiches; coleslaw (no sandwich roll for me)
  • Wednesday: Tofu and broccoli with spicy peanut sauce; steamed rice (no rice for me)
  • Thursday: Grilled chicken & apple sausages; couscous; sautéed greens; grilled zucchini
  • Friday: Slow cooker chicken adobo with bok choy; steamed rice (no rice for me)
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Chinese stir-fried tomatoes and eggs; steamed rice; fruit
  • Monday: Lumpia (Filipino-style spring rolls); sautéed bok choy; steamed rice (no rice for me)
Beautiful cauliflower at last week's farmers' market
Beautiful cauliflower at last week’s farmers’ market

Lots of rice this week – YaYu will be very happy! I love that our rice cooker can do as little as a cup of rice. That’s enough for Brett and YaYu, and leaves some leftover for her lunch the next day.

We’ll be picking up lots of bok choy tomorrow at the farmers’ market, as well as greens, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, papaya and bananas. If cauliflower is available again this week, I’ll get some more of that and will fit it in some where.

If anyone would like the recipe for any of the cakes, let me know and I’ll put it in the comments.

This Week’s Menu: No Turkeys Here

King Ranch Casserole
King Ranch Casserole

In years past this week’s menu would have been crowded with dishes celebrating all things turkey: roast turkey with all the sides, turkey divan casserole, turkey pot pie, hot turkey sandwiches, turkey soup and so forth. Just the thought of many of them makes my mouth water – I love turkey, and doubt I would have passed it up on Thursday.

But turkey on the menu will have to wait. There’ll be none of it for us this week other than Brett’s turkey dinner at the Hukilau Lanai. It will appear though when all the girls are here next month; in fact, I’m planning to make a full turkey dinner the day our last little bird, WenYu, arrives home. Meiling has been calling every week to ask what I’m going to fix when she’s home, and she has asked specifically for turkey and all the traditional leftover meals.

By the way, I haven’t roasted a turkey since we’ve been here on Kaua’i. It’s been too warm/hot, and the oven has to stay on for too long. These days I cheat by buying a roasted turkey breast from Costco. They’re delicious, and one provides us with at least five meals.

Turkey or not, once again we’ll be continuing to work on getting the freezer emptied, and using up what we have.

This week we’ll be having:

  • Tuesday (this evening): Pasta with pesto; grilled Italian sausages (vegan meatballs for me); grilled zucchini; garlic bread
  • Wednesday: Vegetable fried rice
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving dinner at the Hukilau Lanai
  • Friday: King Ranch casserole; salad (There are a zillion variations of the King Ranch casserole, but this one is pretty close to how I make it). I’m not sure yet what I’ll be having.
  • Saturday: Leftovers
  • Sunday: Tofu & broccoli in spicy peanut sauce; steamed rice. I use brown sugar or molasses instead of honey in the sauce, and don’t freeze my tofu – I boil the cubes for about 6-7 minutes, which helps them keep their shape.
  • Monday: Grilled chicken; vegetable lo mein, sautéed greens

I think I am finally ready to head back to the farmer’s market. We need carrots, peppers, limes, greens (kale & Swiss chard), cucumbers and bananas, and will pick up anything else that looks interesting and affordable.

How Much Did We Spend?

IMG_3899I haven’t done one of these in a while, but after the slim pickings at the Kalaheo farmers’ market a few weeks ago it’s been rewarding to see all that’s available at our weekly neighborhood market.

The above is what we bought two weeks ago:

  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1 large bunch parsley
  • 1 large bunch mint
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 2 bags tomatoes (16 total)
  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 3 limes
  • 4 dragonfruit
  • 1 bunch bananas (8)
  • 1 large bundle of green onions
  • 3 sweet onions

The tomatoes, cilantro, onions and limes were used to make some pico de gallo; the mint and parsley went into the quinoa and tabouli salads (tomatoes, too); the carrots were used in curry and the Killer Noodle Salad (which also used up the rest of the cilantro). The remainder of the mint made an appearance in some mojitos! I am very happy to see dragonfruit back in the market again – it has become my favorite local fruit (I was afraid of it the first summer we were here). There are only a couple of vendors with lychee this year, but they are very expensive so we will probably skip buying them until next year. Pineapples have started to appear, and last week we found a nice one at a good price.

So, how much did we spend on all that’s in the picture? Hint: the dragonfruit were the most expensive items, and the mango was a bit spendy too, but their season is short.

(The total for all this beautiful locally-grown goodness will appear in Sunday’s post!)

This Week’s Menu

caprese-skillet-eggs-su-x
Caprese skillet eggs

Well, at least over half last week’s planned meals got fixed! That counts for something, doesn’t it?

I didn’t know when I made up the menu last week that dinner would be served for us on Thursday night at the NHS meeting, nor that they would give us an immense container of rice that would need to be used up, nor that Friday evening was a potluck for the girls. So, I ended up with three meals leftover that will be tacked onto this week. We also didn’t make it to the farmers’ market on Wednesday because WenYu had a presentation that afternoon that ran way over. We went to the smaller Friday market down in Lihue to see what we could find, but they didn’t have much so we didn’t buy much.

On a positive note, we did save some money by not having to fix three meals ourselves; by scoring the leftover rice; and by missing the farmers’ market. And, we still did a fairly impressive job of cleaning out the fridge and freezer in preparation for this week’s shopping forays. Today Brett and I are doing our Costco “big shop” for the month, and tomorrow we’ll hit up the farmers’ market and replenish our fresh produce stocks.

It’s all good.

This week we’re having:

  • Tuesday (tonight): Slow cooker pork carnitas; tortillas, rice & beans; tomato & cucumber salad (tortilla with rice & beans for me).
  • Wednesday: Paella with tomatoes; chicken sausages; green salad
  • ThursdayCaprese skillet eggs; bread
  • Friday: YOYO – it’s graduation (yeah!) and we all have to be at the location early.
  • Saturday: Spaghetti with greens; garlic bread
  • Sunday: Slow cooker Japanese pork & ramen soup (peanut-sesame noodles for me) – recipe is from The Frugal Girl.
  • Monday: Yakisoba with tofu

I’m ready to try this whole menu thing again this week – we’ll see how it goes!

#Kauai: Monkeypod Jam (and a small giveaway!)

monkeypod---close-up-jpg-20160107
(photo courtesy of Chicago Tribune)

My first taste of Monkeypod Jam happened when our family came to check out Kaua’i back in December of 2012. We stopped by their booth at one of the farmers’ markets we visited, and were invited to sample the different varieties they offered that day.

Each jam we tried was packed with amazing flavor that practically screamed “Kaua’i.” My hands down favorite was the lilikoi (passionfruit) curd. It was like finding heaven in a jar. The only thing that kept up from buying one of everything (and more than one of the lilikoi curd) was that we were traveling with just our carry-on bags, and would have had to relinquish our treasure to the TSA when it was time for us to leave.

There's always a wide variety of seasonal jams, sauces and pickles available.
There’s always a wide variety of seasonal jams, sauces and pickles available.
You can buy ready-made gift boxes, or create your own
You can buy ready-made gift boxes, or create your own

Monkeypod Jam is, hands down, my favorite Kaua’i-produced product. All the jams, pickles and sauces they now produce are made from fruits and produce grown on Kaua’i. Founded in 2010 when teacher Aletha Thomas had 100 pounds of ripe mangos left on her doorstep, Monkeypod Jam now works with over 25 Kaua’i farmers to produce more than 50 seasonal preserves.

The Monkeypod Jam storefront is unassuming, but delights await inside!
The Monkeypod Jam storefront is unassuming, but delights await inside!

Last year Monkeypod Jam opened a shop in Lawai, on the south shore of Kaua’i. Unassuming from the front, inside you can find all their currently available jams and other preserves, as well as (really good) coffee, pastries (some of which include their jams), quiche, soups, sandwiches, and other drinks and treats, many made from locally grown or raised products. Just recently they have began offering whole quiches and quarts of their freshly prepared soups for sale.

Fresh selections on the menu board change daily
Fresh selections on the menu board change daily
Freshly made quiche are available every day
Freshly made quiche are available every day
Pastries filled with Monkeypod Jam.
Pastries filled with Monkeypod Jam.

The store also offers monthly craft and cooking workshops. Recent classes have included haku (floral head wreath) making, indigo shibori (Japanese tie-dye), succulent terrariums, and pickling.

Indigo shibori handtowel sets
Indigo shibori handtowel sets

You can check out all the different varieties of jams and preserves that Monkeypod offers here. I’m also offering a chance to win a two-ounce jar of their Tahitian Lime Curd (tastes like key lime pie!) along with a locally-produced wooden jam spoon and a reusable cloth bag. To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below; you can enter once a day (let me know the flavors you like!). You can also earn an additional entry (or two) by becoming a follower here at The Occasional Nomads, or mentioning the giveaway on your own blog – again, let me know in a comment. The giveaway ends on Saturday, May 14.

Your gift will come in a small reusable cloth bag
Your gift will come in a small reusable cloth bag

How Much Did We Spend?

P1080744

The produce available at last week’s farmers’ market was amazing. So much to choose from! I feel so very blessed that we are able to get such beautiful locally grown produce here year round.

We bought the following items:

  • 2 bunches of bananas
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1 lime
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2 Japanese cucumbers
  • 1 large bunch green onions
  • 2 bunches bok choy
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1 head cabbage
  • 1 bag clover sprouts
  • 1 large piece fresh ginger

How much do you think we paid for all of this? Answer will be in tomorrow post!

Guess How Much?

P1080516

Above are Brett and my produce purchases from yesterday’s Kapaa Farmers’ Market. Going to the market every week remains one of our favorite activities, and we’re now recognized as “local” by many of the vendors. 

Brett and my ritual is the same every week: we scout the market together, then split up and do our respective shopping. We usually finish shopping in around 15 minutes, but always try to give ourselves time to “talk story” with one or two of the vendors before the opening whistle.

Anyway, yesterday we bought:

  • 3 English cucumbers
  • 1 bunch bananas (11)
  • 1 large bunch curly kale
  • 4 big tangelos
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 bunch carrots
  • 1 bag alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 bunch fresh edamame

How much do you think we paid for all of this? Hint: We took $30 with us and had money left over. Best bargains were the tangelos and the edamame.

I’ll post the answer tomorrow!

At the Farmers’ Market

Brett and I always look forward to our weekly trip to the Kapaa Farmers’ Market, held every Wednesday afternoon from 3:00 to 5:00. We always try to get there about 15 or so minutes before it opens so that we can check out what everyone has. Brett and I talk beforehand about things we’re looking for, and what we think we can get with our weekly budget of $30, and then do our best to see if it’s available that week.

After we’ve done our scouting Brett heads to one end of the market and I head the other way to wait for the opening whistle to blow. You are not allowed to touch any of the produce before the opening whistle, and vendors are supposed to keep everything covered, so sometimes it’s hard to know what each vendor has although you can ask. We meet up somewhere in the middle after we’re both done with our part of the shopping, and if we have any money left we look around together to see if anything else catches our eye, or if someone has a good price on something the girls like. We’ve both had to shop the market a couple of times on our own, and let’s just say it’s a much, much easier task with two people.

photo (10)

Vendors setting up the market – you can see that the produce hasn’t been covered yet. There will be crowds around each of the stalls by the time the opening whistle is blown. Year-round it always seems to be very sunny and hot at the market, although a couple of weeks ago we got caught in a downpour and got soaked.

photo (12)

Ripe pineapples for sale, ranging in price from $2 to $7. The local ones are super sweet, and low acid.

photo (9)

Mangoes ($1 each) and avocados ($3 each).

photo (7)

A box full of lilikoi (passionfruit), 3 for $1. The ugly, wrinkly ones are the ripest and the best.

photo (6)

Limes are plentiful again. So were avocados this week. Last week it was all we could do to find even one.

photo (4)

Big, juicy, cheap papayas.

photo (5)

Luscious, huge mangoes. These beauties were $4 and $5 each.

photo

Bright red Hawaiian ginger flowers, $2 per stem.

It looks from these photos that all that was available was fruit and flowers, but there were plenty of vegetables available too. I just couldn’t get in close enough to take pictures because of the crowds at those stalls.

And, here’s what we bought:

P1080351

  • 2 giant cucumbers: $2.00
  • 2 bunches of bananas: $4.50
  • 1 pineapple: $3.00
  • 1 bunch bok choy: $2.00
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes: $3.00
  • 1 bunch kale: $2.00
  • 1 pound lychee: $3.00
  • 3 limes: $1.00
  • 1 daikon radish: $1.00
  • 6 starfruit: $2.00
  • 1 bunch organic broccoli: $3.00

Total: $26.50

We got everything we wanted and then some – a very good shopping trip!