Farmer’s Market Day

I can’t imagine life without farmer’s markets. They are seriously one of life’s best things. I really feel that most people today are so disconnected from their food that they really don’t even realize how they are potentially poisoning themselves on a daily basis. This can be easily changed.

Sure, I get it. Convenience foods are, well they’re convenient. So much easier to go home after work and pop in a ready made dinner from Costco then pack yourself a Hot Pocket or Lean Cuisine for next day’s lunch than to slave over the stove making something from scratch. We are all tired and over-worked. We all need a break whenever we can get one. But what if it were just as easy to make something healthy from scratch as it is to buy something already prepared, or almost as easy? What if shopping at your local farm market could make a difference in ways you don’t even understand? Would you do it?

I’m going to give you 10 reasons right now to go visit your local farmer’s market and buy most, if not all, your food for the week. Feel free to comment below to let us know how it went. Go ahead and share the name and location of your local market. I would love to hear about it!

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The Kaka’ako market is our favorite market on Oahu so far (we haven’t been to all of them yet).

10 Reasons to Shop at Your Local Farm Market

  1. You get to know who’s growing your food: It’s been my experience that farmers are super open about their products. They love sharing about their farms, how they grow or raise the food they sell and will even give you recipes or cooking tips for the things they sell. You also get to interact with the people who actually grow what you eat, thereby giving you a more intimate relationship with your food. Mike and I know many of the farmers at Eastern Market in Detroit by name. We are getting to know some of the farmers at the Kaka’ako Market  in Honolulu where we’re now shopping almost every Saturday. We love talking with them!
  2.  It’s less expensive: I don’t know if I need to expound on this one but, for the quality of the food you’re getting, you are paying less than what the product is worth. We bought radishes at the market this morning for $1 a bunch. The same radishes, grown on the same farm are for sale at Whole Foods for $4 a bunch. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them! Go to the source… it’s typically less expensive.
  3. You know where your food is coming from: Here in Hawaii, 85% of the food is imported. 85%!! And this place has some of the most fertile soil and most optimum growing conditions in the world! It’s not that different on the mainland. Just look at the little stickers they put on top of the wax coating they put on the apples you buy… it will tell you in tiny little words where your apple came from.
  4. You are supporting someone’s small business: Listen, life is not always easy. And for some people, life is a lot harder than for others. Anyone who chooses farming as a career is not doing it to get rich. They are doing it because they care about the Earth, they care about people and they care about food. Do you think any of the the Big Ag companies give a flying fig about any of those things? Hell to the no they don’t!
  5. It tastes better: Just try it for yourself-do a side by side comparison. Buy a vegetable or piece of fruit from a farm market then compare it to one that you bought from some random grocery store. No brainer.
  6. It’s fun: Going to the farmer’s market is literally the highlight of my week. I get to talk with my farmer friends, plan menus on the fly based on what’s in season (yes they have seasonal fruits and veggies in Hawaii too), and sample all kinds of yummy stuff (for free). Plus I get a bit of fresh air and exercise in the process. What’s not to like?
  7. You get connected with your food: Interacting with the people who grow your food helps you to understand that there is more to nourishing your body than just popping something in the microwave. Your food comes from the earth. It is part of you.
  8. It can help educate your kids about food: When I was a teacher I would ask my student where they thought their food comes from. I can’t even tell you how many of them said, “The grocery store. ” or “Costco.” Seriously.
  9. It’s more humane: I’m talking about animal products here. It is absolutely sickening how food animals are treated in this country. While I’m not a vegetarian, I make a big effort to buy meat and other animal products (eggs, cheese, etc) from small farms or stores that carry humanely raised animal products. When an animal’s life is spent in misery and it dies in terror, it is going to be full of toxic energy. You are what you eat.

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    Ma’o Farms is part of a nonprofit group that helps train youth in organic farming practices.
  10. It’s better for the earth– Small farms are much more invested in sustainable growing practices.  The owners are typically much more concerned with and connected to the land that on which they work. In addition, many farms have non profit components where they train youth in farming practices. Keep Growing Detroit ( The Grown in Detroit stand at Eastern Market is part of this) in the Detroit area and Ma’o Farms here in Hawaii both have big outreach programs that are making a difference in their communities.

I have to give a caveat… not all farm stands are created equal. Some of them are not actually farmers but importers or resellers. Get to know the people at your market. If they have stickers on the peaches that say, “Grown in Georgia” and you live in Illinois, you know they’re not local. Do your homework and use common sense. And eat local!

Amen ( I just felt I had to write that because I feel like I’m preaching at y’all…sorry if I was being preachy… I just really believe in this, you know?)

Green Papaya: Fruit or Veg?

As someone who tries to eat local organic food as much as possible, it has been a bit of a challenge figuring out what to do with some of the local fruits here. I mean, we don’t have local bananas, soursop, pineapples and papayas in Detroit. Because, you know, they don’t grow there. Lucky for me, I love me a good challenge!

One thing I really love that is hard to find in  Michigan is green papaya salad. Typically you might find this on the menu in a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant, but it’s sort of rare to see them in Detroit. Too bad because that is one delicious salad! Although papaya is a fruit, when picked young it has a mild taste and crunchy texture and is used as a vegetable in Asian cooking.

At the farmer’s markets here in Hawaii, you can often find shredded green papaya in bags. This is super handy if you don’t want to shred the papaya yourself. However, we scored this amazing peeler set when we went to the Kakaako market one Saturday, it’s called the Wiki Wiki peeler set and it is amazing! Look what it did to our papaya…

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The Wiki Wiki took the outer skin off this papaya like nobody’s business
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Then the second peeler turned the papaya into perfect shreds… what the what?

I think it’s the serrated blades on this thing that make it so amazing. I can’t believe I’m so excited about a vegetable peeler, but, come on! That is pretty cool if I do say so myself!

Another thing we bought at the farmer’s market was Hawaiian chili pepper water. It’s a condiment that is used a lot here and, I have to tell you, I am addicted! I will try and figure out a recipe one day so that everyone can share in my joy. It’s not a traditional ingredient in green papaya salad but I personally think it should be. Our family agrees. Even my mother-in-law said that she likes my green papaya salad better than the ones in the restaurants here. I am giving credit to the chili pepper water for that!

Green Papaya Salad

Salad:

1 green papaya, shredded

1/2 cup Chinese parsley (cilantro), chopped

5 green onions, chopped (about 1/2 cup

1/2 Japanese cucumber (or any small seeded cucumber such as English), thinly sliced

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)

1/2 cup chopped peanuts (roasted and salted)

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Assemble salad ingredients in a large bowl. This may be done up to one day ahead of time (except wait to add peanuts until just before serving)

 

 

 

 

Dressing:

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Make sure to warn your guests not to eat the chili pepper (unless they love spice). You can also remove it just before adding the dressing to the salad.

1/3 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon shoyu or soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Hawaiian chilipepper water (or 1 teaspoon hot sauce mixed with 2 teaspoons water)

2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)

1 Hawaiian or Thai chilli pepper, cut in half and seeded

2 drops Young Living lime essential oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:

Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix dressing ingredients together well in a small bowl then pour over salad. Toss well and serve.

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Come to mama you delicious salad!

A Green Orange… wait, what?

green-oranges

 

That’s right, this orange is green. My husband Mike researched this phenomenon and found out that oranges are actually subtropical fruits, not tropical so their color depends on where they’re grown. When the weather cools (in a subtropical climate), the skin turns orange. But here in Hawaii, the weather stays hot so the chlorophyll is preserved and the fruit stays green. That explains why every local orange I’ve seen has been green… and juicy…and sweet… and very orangy.

We bought our oranges at the Kakaako Farmer’s Market in Honolulu from the Ma’o Farms stand. Ma’o is an organic farm located in Wai’anae, an area that has a high rate of poverty and all the trials that come along with it. The farm not only grows delicious organic produce but it serves the community in many ways; offering youth programs including a Farm to Fork program where school children can come be connected to the Ãina (land), and a farm to college program where students learn about agriculture while earning a college degree. To learn more about Ma’o Organic Farm click here.

So what do you do with a green orange? You eat it silly! They’re super delicious just peeled and eaten whole but you can also use them in cooking just like any other orange.

With these oranges I made a super easy, really refreshing no added sugar orangeade. If you don’t have access to green oranges, you can substitute any juicy orange (duh).

orangeaidOrangeade

One orange, juiced

5-10 drops liquid stevia (optional) or to taste

2 drops Young Living orange essential oil

2 cups water

Mix together all ingredients and pour over ice. Yes, it’s that easy!