Why Saturdays Make Me So Happy

Saturday mornings are my favorite!  Not because I sleep in or because I don’t have to work, but because I get to wake up early and head to the upcountry farmer’s market!

I love being in the midst of conscious individuals who value the way they fuel their lives.  I enjoy the conversations I’m able to have around supporting local farmers and sustainabilitywhile meeting people and talking to farmers.  I like knowing exactly where my eggs come from and always find it empowering to see just how many fruits and vegetables can (and do) grow on the island.

As a kid, I mainly lived with my mother, big brother and grandparents.  My grandpa had an incredible green thumb and propagated anthuriums, mangoes, orchids and the biggest papayas you could imagine.  After he passed away my mom took over and planted a garden with corn, tomatoes, strawberries and squash.  But once we moved out of my grandma’s house, we didn’t do much gardening or growing of our own food.  The only place I ever knew to buy food on the island was at the store.  Sure, we have the Swap Meet on Maui, but growing up I never saw it as a place to buy fresh food… I just saw it as a place to buy random things like wooden wind chimes and sarongs.

[My brother and I, circa 1990 or so with grandpa’s papayas in hand.]

My first farmer’s market experience was the Eugene Saturday Market in college.  I would have a field day with all the arts and crafts and then be in complete awe of all the fresh food that was being sold at incredibly reasonable prices (plus, knowing who the money was going to created a whole different sense of relief). From that moment on, I was hooked.

When I moved home to Maui the farmer’s market was just starting to gain popularity upcountry.  They have actually outgrown the location they were at then and are now in a larger, much more accessible spot with room for even more growth!  To be honest, I meant to take more photos that would include the wide array of tropical fruits and veggies that are offered, but I kept running into people and got caught up in the moment.

Compared to bigger city markets it’s really not much, but for our small upcountry community it is a gem!  Because we’re on an island, most big food companies (Safeway, Foodland, etc.) import food from the mainland and abroad, which not only raises prices and decreases food quality but also makes for unfair trade and globalization.  I honestly don’t know what I’d do without the farmer’s market as I plan all my big meals around what I can get there.

Today’s goodies: swiss chard, red leaf lettuce, cilantro, celery, japanese eggplant, cucumber, green and yellow zucchini, Okinawan sweet potatoes and Hawaiian sweet potato, bell peppers, Maui onions, papayas, bananas, oranges and lilikoi (passion fruit).  YUM!  All of which are local and organic.

There are, of course, some things that would be way too difficult and/or expensive for me to get locally (berries, garlic and the like)–in which case I make sure it’s U.S. produce.  Today’s other purchases: organic carrots and garlic.

Wanna see the BEST Farmer’s Market I’ve ever been to?  🙂

Ben and I were fortunate enough to go to the Portland Farmer’s Market at Portland State University while we were visiting a few weeks ago.  It. was. amazing!

Not only were there heaps of vendors offering a huge variety of produce, but there were people offering grass-fed, open-range meats and cheeses, delicious nut butters, baked goods, and crafts as well!  These people are innovative and visionary!  I was in awe!

[as someone who doesn’t eat much wheat and as an avid steel cut oats eater (I’m talkin’ I eat them every single day), I was AMAZED by this all organic, local & sustainable grain grower and processor!]

All around, these guys have set the precedent for what I would love Maui’s Farmer’s Markets to become!  But for now, I’m MORE than content with what we’ve got.

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